The BBC has responded to criticism over editing some scenes of the legendary comedy show Chewin'' the Fat so that they do not offend modern audiences.

The hit BBC Scotland comedy series has been re-edited for repeat showing which are occasionally broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel.

The public broadcaster confirmed they edit every episode before they put it on the air, and this involves them removing some of the more risque sketches.

Chewin’ The Fat launched the careers of Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill who went on to write the sitcom Still Game.

Co-star Karen Dunbar discovered that the show had fallen foul of the censors while filming a new documentary on comedy in today’s woke world.


She was shown how decisions were made on what to cut from the show before a repeat was broadcast last year.

Chewin’ The Fat started out as a radio show on BBC Radio Scotland and later ran for four series on television between 1999 and 2002, initially on BBC One Scotland. Favourites from the sketch show included the Big Man, Ronald Villiers and the woman who can smell "s***e," or a lie, from miles away.

It also featured characters such as Dunbar’s randy Auld Betty, the chain-smoking family who use voice boxes. It also features an infamous scene involving an female ice-cream van worker lifting her skirt up to two young boys.

Some of the material deemed unacceptable will be revealed in the documentary Karen Dunbar: The Comedy of Offence which is set to be broadcast later this year.

In the wake of the controversy, the BBC responded: “The BBC regularly reviews older content to ensure it meets current audience expectations. This is part of our process when repeating archive content including comedy.”

Scots comedian Leo Kearse, who appeared in the documentary, criticised the cuts and called on the BBC to stop censoring art.

"He said: "Now they're editing Chewin' The Fat - a fun, apolitical, good hearted comedy - in case it offends modern sensibilities. Would we put a mullet on the Mona Lisa or a Banksy over the Sistine Chapel?"

Ms Dunbar told the Cultural Coven podcast: “The week we went down [to London for the documentary] Chewin' The Fat was going to be repeated at the weekend so they brought up sketches and they were asking me if I thought it was going to be kept or cancelled.

“The BBC review every repeat that goes out and will take out the bits that aren’t acceptable today. The result of that was Chewin’ The Fat went out on the Saturday but it went out with bits taken out of it that would have been in the original 20 years before it.

Series three and four of Chewin' the Fat plus highlights from the first two series have been broadcast across the UK. The show has been regularly repeated on the BBC Scotland channel since it launched in 2019.

Last year, Mr Kiernan said that he did not think Chewin' The Fat would be made today because it would be deemed too offensive. He said: “The likes of Karen pulling her skirt up I don’t think you could do. We did get letters at the time and somebody wrote in and said ‘As funny as the nation thought that sketch was, would that sketch work if it was two wee lassies at the van and it was a man?’ “Me and Greg went ‘No it wouldn’t be as funny’. So the point was made, ‘Don’t write any more sketches like that’ so we didn’t. Another thing is dirty Auld Betty. You couldn’t have her on the telly now.”

Last year censors slapped an offensiveness warning on classic 'Allo 'Allo episodes in case viewers are upset by characters taking the rise out of French and German accents.

The BBC comedy, which ran from 1982 to 1992, coined a multitude of catchphrases that proved popular for decades.

The BBC have also attached an 'offensive language' warning on iPlayer episodes of classic prison sitcom Porridge.