Chris Lilley’s new Lunatics character is similar to another Youtube character from 2012.
Chris Lilley’s new Lunatics character is similar to another Youtube character from 2012.

Questions asked about Chris Lilley character

An Australian YouTuber is considering legal action over similarities between a comedy skit he created in 2012 and a character from Chris Lilley's new Netflix series Lunatics.

Viewers have taken to social media to point out the likeness between Lilley's character Becky Douglas, a seven foot three (222cm) teenage girl and Sheridan Belvedere, an eight foot seven (265cm) teenage girl featured in a series of "World's Tallest Girl" skits on YouTube.

Both characters are bubbly teenage girls with unusually long legs, prolific social media users and have a distinctive method of navigating spaces built for much shorter people.

Questions are being asked about similarities between Chris Lilley’s character Becky Douglas from new series Lunatics and a online skit from 2012.
Questions are being asked about similarities between Chris Lilley’s character Becky Douglas from new series Lunatics and a online skit from 2012.

 

When approached by news.com.au over the questions, "World's Tallest Girl" skit creator Hamish Williams said he had also been contacted by friends who had the same concerns over the likeness between Sheridan and Becky when the trailer was released last month.

While he is yet to watch the show, Mr Williams said there were physical and character similarities between his and Lilley's creation in the show's trailer.

"I'm not going to lie, I looked it up straight away and was like, 'What the hell? This is kind of actually like …' some of the shots are shot for shot," he told news.com.au.

"The mannerisms of her and going under the doorway and I think she mentioned that she had an internet persona about her, which I believe in the original Sheridan (video) she talks about being famous online as well."

Lilley’s Becky Douglas
Lilley’s Becky Douglas

Mr Williams, who has been writing and creating skits for his verified YouTube account CouldntTellYaTV for more than five years, said Sheridan was his most popular creation with the character's original video viewed more than 7.5 million times.

Mr Williams first filmed the world's tallest woman skit in 2012 and uploaded to another video sharing site, however, re-edited and shared it on YouTube in 2015 where it achieved the most prominence.

He said he was considering his options.

"I've been considering legal advice or legal action," Mr Williams said.

But the YouTuber had been initially reluctant to speak out about the similarities as he didn't want people to think he was "running after money" or fame.

Mr Williams also felt intimidated by the thought of going up against Netflix because it was "so powerful".

Sheridan in a YouTube video published in 2015
Sheridan in a YouTube video published in 2015

"I guess the most frustrating thing is comedy is my passion and obviously it's Chris Lilley's passion, but it's kind of annoying because he's obviously a very wealthy person from making skits and stuff," Mr Williams said.

"Here I am trying to have a similar career to him and then for him to come along and pinch ideas, that's probably the most frustrating part of all … Even if it doesn't go on TV, even if it's just for YouTube, I still put a lot of effort in."

News.com.au approached Netflix over the questions about his character Becky, however, the streaming service declined to comment.

Lilley's manager did not return requests for comment from news.com.au.

Netflix announced in 2018 it had commissioned the 10 episode comedy series from Lilley and his production partner Laura Waters.

Lilley in Jonah From Tonga
Lilley in Jonah From Tonga

 

Chris Lilley as S.mouse
Chris Lilley as S.mouse

It's the second Australian production the streaming service has created, with the supernatural Tidelands starring Elsa Pataky released in December last year.

While highly anticipated by fans, reviews of Lunatics have been generally unfavourable with criticism it was not funny or as clever as his earlier work.

Hailed as a comedic genius for We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High, Lilley's work has attracted controversy in recent years.

His depiction of characters such as Tongan schoolboy Jonas and African-American rapper S.mouse in Angry Boys have seen Lilley accused of "blackface", claims he has dismissed.

When the trailer for Lunatics was released, Lilley faced a fresh backlash over his character Jana, a South African pet psychic who has an afro and tanned skin.

Lilley's production partner Waters has since stated that the comic is "not portraying a woman of colour. When the series is released you will see that Jana is a white woman with huge 70s style curly hair."

Mr Williams’ Sheridan Belvedere
Mr Williams’ Sheridan Belvedere
Becky in a scene from the first episode of Lunatics
Becky in a scene from the first episode of Lunatics

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