Midsomer Murders viewers warned over ‘offensive’ Morris Dancers: Sleuth drama becomes latest show on BritBox to carry alert due to characters in black face
- The ITV show has been given a warning due to a scene involving Morris dancers
- Early reports suggest blackface tradition was to imitate workers covered in soot
- Many troupes have ditched the black paint in favour of blue following backlash
Midsomer Murders is the latest British show to receive pre-viewing warnings over historical content that ‘might offend some viewers’
The ITV detective drama, which first aired in 1997, is under fire over scenes of Morris dancers with blacked-out faces.
TV censors at streaming service BritBox have warned viewers the season two episode Blood Will Out, ‘includes traditional dancing that might offend some viewers,’ the Daily Star reports.
The sleuth drama is the latest to join a long list of beloved shows to carry warnings relating to ‘outdated’ content, including Fawlty Towers, Coronation Street and Call the Midwife.
Following last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, the Joint Morris Organisations, an umbrella group for Morris dancers, called for an end to full-face black makeup.
As a result, some troupes have ditched the traditional black paint in favour of blue.
It is widely believed that the tradition of wearing blackface originates from poor farm workers in the 1400s using soot to disguise themselves so they could beg.
TV censors at streaming service BritBox have warned viewers the season two episode Blood Will Out, ‘includes traditional dancing that might offend some viewers,’
However, some insist the folk dance is influenced by blackface minstrelsy, a form of 19th Century entertainment that depicted black people as buffoonish and dim-witted.
Fans of the show, which starred John Nettles, 78, as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby from 1997 to 2011 have taken to social media to react to the news.
One person said: ‘There was a Morris dancing scene about which viewers were forewarned (possibly because one of the dancers was in traditional blackface). Woke.’
Another added on Digital Spy: ‘I have watched Midsomer Murders from day dot and it’s not racist.
‘The blackface device is a throwback to times of poverty and has nothing to do with race.’
Whilst one die-hard fan proclaimed: ‘No one cancels John Nettles’.
Fans of the show, which starred John Nettles (left), 78, as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby from 1997 to 2011 have taken to social media to react to the recent censorship
It isn’t the only Midsomer Murders episode that has been highlighted for racist content.
Referring to an episode titled, Blood on the Saddle about a Wild West day, BritBox warns: ‘The annual Wild West fair becomes terrifyingly real when locals clash over land ownership. Guidance: Contains some violence and racist elements which may offend.’
One disgruntled viewer commented: ‘The battle flag of the confederacy has nothing to do with America’s cowboys’.
From whimsical crime dramas to former prime ministers, in 2014 David Cameron was criticised for posing with a troupe of Morris dancers who were in blackface at a folk festival in Banbury.
The then-Prime Minister was on a day out with his family when a group asked for a picture.
The image was subsequently shared on Twitter, with Cameron drawing widespread criticism.
A few months prior, Labour parliamentary candidate Will Straw shared a photo of himself with a pair of Morris dancers in blackface, but anti-racist campaigners rallied against the ‘unacceptable’ picture.
He told his critics to ‘mug up on their history’ according to the Guardian.