Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 13:30 UK

Little Britain USA is 'too crude'

Little Britain USA
The stars appear "naked" in prosthetic body suits during one sketch

US television critics have warned viewers of the "crude" humour in Matt Lucas and David Walliams' stateside sketch show, Little Britain USA.

Variety magazine complained that the show's wit "seldom rises above what's scrawled on a school bathroom wall".

Even positive reviews said the show was "not for the easily offended", and many singled out a pair of naked, steroid-enhanced bodybuilders for criticism.

The show debuts in the US this Sunday, and on BBC One on 3 October.

The US spin-off, which was made for cable channel HBO, features regular characters like Daffyd Thomas and Marjorie Dawes alongside several new American creations.

They include Mildred, who shares inappropriate secrets from her past with grandson Connor, and Bing Gordyn, the eighth astronaut to fly to the moon.

Whatever we do, no matter how outrageous, it's done with warmth
David Walliams
US critics have had a mixed reaction to the show - with Variety magazine's Brian Lowry being particularly scathing.

"Little Britain's laughs are as puny as its ambitions," he wrote.

Tom Shales, writing in the Washington Post, was disappointed by the amount of "recycled material" from the UK version of the show.

He added that some of the sketches were "too tasteless even for a celebration of bad taste".

Tim Goodman, from the San Francisco Chronicle, agreed: "They seem more intent on shocking than on being wildly, but hilariously inappropriate".


Others were more positive about the programme, with USA Today critic Robert Bianco praising the "speed, skill and good humour" of its stars and the the "cheeky, modern effrontery" of the characters.

The Hollywood Reporter's Barry Garron called the series "delightful", while Jonah Krakow of said the writing was "as absurd and outrageous as ever".

Little Britain USA
Marjorie Dawes brings her Fat Fighters club to the USA
Rob Owen, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, admitted viewers unfamiliar with the UK series might be "stunned" by gym buddies Tom and Mark, and the "full-frontal shots of their anatomically correct, muscley prosthetic body suits".

But, he said, Little Britain USA was a "good laugh" and "generally more successful" than the current series by fellow British sketch comedian Tracey Ullman.

Speaking ahead of the programme's premiere, Walliams told US reporters it was not his intention to shock US audiences.

"I would hope, though, that whatever we do, no matter how outrageous, it's done with warmth," he said.

"There's a feeling of silliness there, which stops it being unpleasant."

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