Futurama Cuts UK

Other series and films censored by British television channels

UK broadcasters make a surprising number of cuts to US imports. They use them to prop up their ailing schedules, and yet the channels don't even have the decency to leave the programmes intact!

These are just a few examples, but there's a lot more where this came from. Sky One, for instance, used to show Family Guy during the daytime – cartoons are not automatically kids’ shows!! And, on the American channel E4, Scrubs has suffered at the hands of paranoid censors. See also The Simpsons, Friends and The Daily Show. If you've noticed any other examples, I’d encourage you to make your own website and inform the public!


This ever-popular film was shown by Britain's third channel, ITV, on 13 October 2001, but due to the political climate then, just one month after al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the US, the opening scene of the film was deleted.

Before the opening credits, the film's inept hero Frank Drebin humorously invades a meeting between the leaders of "rogue" states, including Saddam Hussein and Mikhail Gorbachev (well, it was made in 1988) and starts kicking all their asses. But, never one to run the risk of showing comedy, ITV cut it out when they showed the film. This was at a time when anything could be deemed insensitive. Even showing Countdown on "9/11" was insensitive, apparently.

But it seems to me that world events just became an excuse to censor, and impose the censor's will on everyone else. By 2003, the scene was acceptable to ITV again, and they showed the full film on 1 January 2003 – even though a war with Saddam Hussein was imminent! The Iraq War, 3 months later, was of course prime time for banning and restricting "insensitive" material, an almost meaningless act when you consider the destruction taking place elsewhere in the world.


Mr Bean gets driven around Los Angeles taking touristy photos. Then... this is how the film appeared when ITV showed it one Sunday evening, ending at 18:15, in April 2003:
The car stops at some traffic lights and Bean takes a photo of a motorbike-rider and signals "hello". The biker sticks his middle finger up at Bean and drives away. 
Thinking this must be a sign of affection, Bean looks at his own middle finger... and, in the next shot, he is flipping the bird at everyone he drives past. ITV kept a few seconds of this in, when he was waving his hands about a bit so it might have been more blurry.
Then there were a few non-middle-finger-related sequences, so forget them.
Bean triumphantly leaves his host family in LA, and gets into the car:
BEAN    Farewell!
(he sticks his middle finger up at them, and the family wave, looking confused. He continues to do this as the car goes out of sight.)
Firstly, it's stupid to keep a gesture in once, then censor it many other times. Secondly, ITV saw fit to cut this out for the teatime audience (the film was rated PG), but kept in some excrutiating (but not gory) hospital scenes before it, when "Dr" Bean improvises to remove a bullet from the body of a police officer who has been shot.

The worst thing about this was that they cut it so unprofessionally, and ruined the scenes. The song I Love LA plays in the background throughout the scene, with bits of it arbitrarily cut out. No consideration was taken; it looks as though ITV took about 5 minutes to do this, and just threw it on the air and didn't care.

SOUTH PARK, 2005-06

Here are a few examples of words that MTV UK bleeped-out which weren't bleeped in the original US broadcast (quotes sort-of-borrowed from SP Scriptorium):


Goobacks (Season 8)
At the meeting of rednecks against people from the future:
DARRYL WEATHERS   Chet, you are a fuckin' retard, you know that?! Even if global warming were real, which all proven scientific data shows it isn't, it would take millions of years for a climate shift to happen! You think an ice age can just happen all of a sudden-like?  
CHET                           Well I was just tryin' to be helpful.  
WEATHERS                 Well help yourself to a fuckin' science book, 'cause you're talkin' like a fuckin' retard! Now, come on people, we've got to think! Damnit, they took our jaorbs!
KYLE            If you want your share of the money, then you're gonna shovel snow like the rest of us!
CARTMAN     Hey! Don't boss me around, you fuckin' Jew! I will kick your ass!

But negative uses of "Jew" don't always get bleeped-out. When they showed the belowmentioned episode, MTV allowed Cartman to say
[to Stan] "Look, I know you think he's your best friend, but Kyle is a Jew rat! He has his Jew ethics while he hoards his greedy Jew gold, and he will Jew you out if you tell him about this!"

Two Days Before the Day after Tomorrow (Season 9)

Randy, Gerald and Stephen are marching through the "storm" to rescue the boys, while putting on rather ridiculous 1940s-adventure-movie voices:
RANDY      We're in deep hypothermia, all of us! We've gotta keep the blood flowing! (bends down to help Stephen up)
GERALD    Maybe we should... strip these jackets off, and warm our bodies next to each other!
RANDY      Don't be a fag!

There were more examples: in Follow That Egg! (Season 9), Mrs Garrison repeatedly calls Mr Slave a "fag", but "fag" was bleeped.

MTV showed that they didn't actually understand why such derogatory terms would be used ironically in South Park (as well as the obvious point about freedom of speech). They watered-down an important part of the series's humour, and really shouldn't have shown the series at all.

The UK's Comedy Central are far less incompetent, but in 2005 (when the channel was called Paramount Comedy), they made one bizarre small edit to The Death Camp of Tolerance (Season 6): they removed Mr Slave's anguished reaction to the insertion of Lemmiwinks the gerbil up his anus – but not the sight of Lemmiwinks being inserted, or any of the ensuing scenes! They've since reinstated the sequence.

STV (Scotland's ITV) started showing South Park in 2009. If they really want to distinguish themselves from the main ITV network, it would be a welcome move for them keep it uncut!

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