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Lucas and Walliams comedy prompts thousands of viewer complaints

Thousands of viewers have complained to the BBC about the Christmas Day comedy Come Fly With Me was racist.

The spoof documentary, written by and starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, is set in an airport and sees the pair play a range of minority characters.

Lucas blacks up to play a Muslim worker called Taaj, and repeats the trick, along with strong West Indian accent to play a black woman called Precious who works in the coffee shop.

Walliams's roles include a Middle Eastern passenger liaison officer called Moses.

However, many viewers failed to see the funny side and took to internet forums to complain about the programme – the first of a six-part series – likening it to 'a minstrel show'.

Twitter was also awash with negative comments, with some saying the comedy was like something that would have been seen in the late-70s.

The show, broadcast at 10pm, was the second most-watched show on Christmas Day, attracting an audience of 10.3million.

BBC1 bosses said they had not yet established how many complained to the corporation, while Lucas and Walliams, who were launched to success in the sketch show Little Britain, defended Come Fly With Me, saying that comedy has always pushed boundaries.

"Comedy has a social function and part of that function is to ruffle feathers," said Lucas.

"But it's not as scatological as Little Britain. There are no F-words or vomiting or peeing."

On Twitter, Lucas added: "Like in Little Britain we try to reflect, affectionately, the multicultural Britain we love. No offence is intended. x."

A BBC spokesman said: "Come Fly With Me had a huge audience and many people loved it.

"Matt and David play all the characters and they are representing a multicultural society. They are not setting out to offend people."

What do you think? Is the show just a light-hearted bit of fun, or are the character portrayals lazy and racist?

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