Sky History channel pulls series over '88' face tattoo

Anita Singh
·2-min read
Darren Lumsden in The Chop - Sky History
Darren Lumsden in The Chop - Sky History

Sky has pulled a new reality show from the schedules after Twitter users alleged that a contestant had Nazi tattoos on his face.

The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker saw “ten of the country’s finest joiners” compete in a series of challenges.

The Sky History channel broadcast a trailer on social media this week featuring one of the contestants, Darren Lumsden, a carpenter from Bristol.

Mr Lumsden has a heavily tattooed face that includes an ‘88’ on his cheek. Among white supremacists, ‘88’ is numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler’, as ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet. Sky said Mr Lumsden denied any racist affiliation and had etched the tattoo because his father died in 1988.

Initially, Sky defended the programme when the tattoo was pointed out on social media, saying in a statement: “Darren’s tattoos denote significant events in his life and have no political or ideological meaning whatsoever.

“Amongst the various numerical tattoos on his body, 1988 is the year of his father’s death.

“The production team carried out extensive background checks on all the woodworkers taking part in the show, that confirmed Darren has no affiliations or links to racist groups, views or comments.

“Sky History is intolerant of racism and all forms of hatred and any use of symbols or numbers is entirely incidental and not meant to cause harm or offence.”

Darren Lumsden in The Chop - Sky History
Darren Lumsden in The Chop - Sky History

However, after Twitter users claimed that Mr Lumsden also had ‘23’ on one side of his head and ‘16’ on the other - used by some white supremacists as numerical code for ‘White Power’, using the 23rd and 16th letters of the alphabet - Sky released a new statement.

It said: “While we further investigate the nature, and meaning, of Darren’s tattoos, we have removed the video featuring him from our social media pages, and will not be broadcasting any episode of The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker until we have concluded that investigation.

“Sky History stands against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”

The first episode of the show has already been broadcast and remains available to watch on Sky.

It features Mr Lumsden explaining that he is known as ‘The Woodman’ on account of his job making bespoke furniture and shepherd huts.

Lee Mack jokes: “If you were the bloke in my town, you wouldn’t be known as The Woodman, you’d be the bloke with all the tattoos.”