CLASSIC comedy from Steptoe and Son

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Tonight, Steptoe & Son’s 1972 self-titled movie airs from 10.15pm on Channel 5. It follows the story of Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett’s rag-and-bone men characters as they visit a stag night down in their local club, but one of them ends up engaged to a stripper. The hilarious film is based on the hit BBC series from the mid-Sixties, and at the time was watched by millions of Britons across the nation.

Such was its enduring appeal, in 2000 the comedy was ranked 44th Greatest British Television Programme, as compiled by the British Film Institute.

Despite its place in the heart of British culture, a huge row erupted when the show was given censor warnings prior to it being watched on streaming service Britbox.

The warning dismayed many viewers, with reports suggesting censors had been alerted to “racist, sexist and homophobic” remarks made during the show.

Now, when viewers watch the programme, they’re given a warning which says: “Contains language and attitudes of the period that may offend.”

A spokesman for Britbox added at the time: “We review and refresh Britbox’s programme catalogue on an ongoing basis.

“Programming on the service that contains potentially sensitive language or attitudes of their era have carried appropriate warnings since our launch in November 2019.

“[This] ensures the right guidance is in place for viewers who are choosing to watch the show on-demand.”

But the move caused widespread fury, particularly with readers who lashed out at Britbox’s move, with many claiming viewers could decide for themselves whether to watch a programme or not.

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One wrote: “Oh come on this is classic comedy.

“Don’t watch if easily offended. You have a choice.”

Another vented that the decision was “nonsense”, noting “that’s what the off button is for”.

A third said: “Get a grip, don’t need to censor it, if you don’t like it don’t watch it.

“Now isn’t that an easy solution?”

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A fourth bluntly added: “How wet can you get!

“It was always a funny show and will remain so – non-woke, non-pc and non-whatever else!”

While a fifth concluded: “The problem with today’s weak-kneed censors is that anything created before 2000 will be racist, sexist and homophobic.

“The other thing is, even though we had all those ‘bad’ things back then, the people were far, far happier and got on much better with each other than the forever offended idiots today!”

The sitcom follows a father and son, with the younger attempting to better himself while his parent attempts to prevent his dream becoming a reality.

Reports from last year show that the warnings came up after the episode Any Old Iron, which saw one of the characters call a softly spoken antique dealer a “Jessie”.

The word “iron” is also Cockney slang for a homosexual.

The comedy was, at the time, the latest in a series of classic series that warnings had been placed prior to viewers watching.

These included the likes of Coronation Street and EastEnders episodes, The Good Life and Bergerac.

The Catherine Tate Show, which first aired in 2004 and was a huge hit with viewers, also received a pre-warning before episodes due to the sensitive themes on the show.

Britbox flagged the show as offensive, and viewers tuning in will now be shown a sensor that reads: “Contains adult humour, sex references, and homophobic and racist language that may offend.”

Steptoe & Son airs tonight on Channel 5 from 10.15pm.

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