The BBC cut several jokes from the Christmas family favourite Nativity!, despite the film carrying a U rating that means its content should be suitable for people aged four and above.
As well as airing on the BBC’s broadcast channels several times over the past few weeks, the Martin Freeman-starring 2009 film was also available to view on iPlayer. However, eagle-eyed viewers spotted that some sections had been taken out of the iPlayer version – which the broadcaster has subsequently restored.
Among the deleted sections included a gag by theatre reviewer Patrick Burns, played by comic Alan Carr. In the film he quips: ‘You’re no-one if you haven’t had a bad review off Patrick Burns. That’s why they call them Burns’ victims.’
Another clip that was cut out was a scene where Mr Poppy, played by actor Marc Wootton, talked about which pupils to cast in a show, the Daily Star reports. In a joke made about one kid, he says: ‘He’s a good dancer. Plus, he’s eye candy for the girls.
‘Have you seen the looks he gets in the playground? He doesn’t walk around the playground, he struts.’
It’s been alleged that the reason for the removal of these jokes was out of fear of causing offence. However, reacting to the discovery of the edited version, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘Nativity! has been on BBC channels several times in recent weeks.
‘BBC iPlayer has now been updated to the version that was broadcast on BBC One on November 28.’
The Debbie Isitt-directed film also stars the likes of Ashley Jensen and Ricky Tomlinson, and quickly became a Christmas viewing fixture after its 2009 release.
Its success was such that it’s spawned three sequels to-date, the last being Nativity Rocks!, which came out in 2018. A stage musical adaptation also premiered in 2017 and has been on the touring circuit ever since.
The original film sees film teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) lying to a rival that Hollywood is coming to watch his school’s Christmas nativity. However, news of the made-up visit gets out ,leading Maddens to have to go to extraordinary lengths to try and turn his lie into the truth.
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