'Utter nonsense': Controversy over axing of Fireman Sam mascot

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

The much-loved children’s television character Fireman Sam has been axed as a mascot by a fire department for not being inclusive.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service in the UK said the show, which has ran for more than 30 years, was outdated and contributed to a lack of women working at fire stations.

Chief fire officer Les Britzman said three fire extinguisher mascots named Freddy, Filbert and Penelope will be replacing Fireman Sam, the BBC reported.

"There's been a lot of research that says that images that young people have about what careers they want to do are formed when they are about four or five,” he said.

Lincolnshire County Council's old mascot Fireman Sam (centre), with new ones Freddy (left) and Filbert (right). Source: AAP

"If you are promoting that image we might be stopping people wanting to apply for the fire service 20 years down the line."

Fireman is an archaic term, union rep says

Ben Selby, Fire Brigades Union executive council member, said there was a need for change when it came to the long-running show.

“‘Fireman’ is an archaic term that doesn’t reflect the reality of the job – I think it’s time the producers of the show accept that,” he said.

“Women firefighters risk their lives every single day – calling them by their rightful title, firefighter, should not be too much to ask.”

Fireman Sam new (right) and old. Source: YouTube

The show’s creator Dave Jones, a former firefighter in London defended the show’s name and main character.

“I joined the fire brigade on my 18th birthday and if I had said I was a firefighter I would have been slapped down by my colleagues saying ‘you’re not a superhero, you’re just a fireman.”

‘Political correctness going too far’

The decision has since sparked outrage on social media with many suggesting the move is political correctness going too far.

“The whole #FiremanSam thing is a bit ridiculous. We can’t sideline all male role-models - we just need more female ones,” BBC TV presenter Dan Walker tweeted.

“Again someone enlighten me that this country isn’t bat s*** crazy... I’m guessing action man is to blame for women not joining the army?” one woman asked.

“This increasing desire to remove men from being role models is getting ridiculous,” London assembly member Susan Hall said.

“This PC crap is going too far,” another woman added.

“What utter nonsense! Even when it started back in the 1980s, it was very diverse like it is now,” one man pointed out.

Vocal TV personality Piers Morgan hit out at the decision saying the show had fallen victim to the “PC mob”. He also questioned Mr Britzman’s decision to replace Sam with two male fire extinguishers and one female fire extinguisher.

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