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Dunedin1,569 posts since 16 Jan 2003
Don't forget that most people thought those sitcoms listed as classics were utterly crap when they were first shown- time and multiple repeats on UK Gold somehow change peoples' perceptions. I think My Family will go down as a classic and there's some interesting work coming up on BBC Three that is bound to make the leap to BBC Two and into the world of "classics to be"
A former member
Square Eyes posted:

Is it lack of good writers / ideas ? Or has the traditional sitcom fallen out of favour for the fashionable diet of makeover shows, reality TV and docusoaps. Maybe I'm looking through rose tinted spectacles but there is a real dirth of comedy on BBC One at the moment.

I list a few classics below (I'm sure I've missed some):

Only Fools and Horses
Fawlty Towers
Allo Allo
Are You Being Served
The Good Life
Ever Decreasing Circles
One Foot in the Grave
Porridge
Some Mothers Do Ave Em
Hi-De-Hi
Keeping Up Appearances
Blackadder
Yes Minister
Dads Army
Sorry!

And this is what BBC One offers us these days :

My Family
My Hero
All About Me
Eyes Down
Absolutely Fabulous
The Crouches

Hardly clasics, just what will UK Gold rely in a few years time ? Pathetic really.



So you're comparing 30 sitcoms from a range of about 25 years..... with 6 from the schedules of September/October 2003.

Not really a fair comparison really.... and a huge pair of rose-tints

What about Coupling, League of Gentlemen, The Office, Alan Partridge?? All excellant shows all from 2002/2003
DJF204 posts since 5 Jan 2003
TVF posted:
Barbara was quite funny, yet Carlton dumped it... go figure!


Yep they axe ITV's most popular comedy in 8 years, then to make things better they recomission 'Hardware' Rolling Eyes

On the topic of Carlton Studios, one sitcom I do miss seeing is 'Kiss Me Kate' with Caroline Quentin. Now that both of these have gone there's nothing decent left to see at the studios!
james20012,588 posts since 4 Sep 2001
About my Hero- I don't think the first two series were that bad (the first series was actually non-filmic! Hurrah!). I think the problem was when they bought in the baby. It might have been OK if that's where they chose to leave the show, but now they're stuck with a character that can't do much and they can't do much with but still has to feature prominently.
Still605 posts since 4 Jan 2003
james2001 posted:
About my Hero- I don't think the first two series were that bad (the first series was actually non-filmic! Hurrah!). I think the problem was when they bought in the baby. It might have been OK if that's where they chose to leave the show, but now they're stuck with a character that can't do much and they can't do much with but still has to feature prominently.


That talking baby freaked me out when it first appeared. Because it talked they superimposed mouthing onto its face. They used an adult to do this, and forgot that new born babies don't have teeth. Bashed up yellow teeth specifically. It looked terrible.

I think that the mainstream channels often tend to have the weakest sitcoms - obviously because they have to appeal to many. I reckon the golden age for BBC One was when they were showing 'Keeping up Appearances', 'Only Fools and Horses' and 'The Brittas Empire' at once. Whilst ITV were toiling with 'The Two of us', 'Watching' and 'The upper hand'. And Channel 4 had 'Desmonds' eek!
Whataday9,842 posts since 13 Sep 2001
Still posted:
I reckon the golden age for BBC One was when they were showing 'Keeping up Appearances', 'Only Fools and Horses' and 'The Brittas Empire' at once.


Did that ever happen?
cwathen3,383 posts since 27 Dec 2001
The main problem (just like everything to do with our society these days) is political correctness. Politically correct isn't funny, and what's funny isn't politically correct.

Such gems such as the 'n****** are the west indies, these people are w***' scene in Fawlty Towers wouldn't be allowed to exist today for fear of the BBC being accused of serious racism.

Anything jokes involving the discussion of homosexuality, nevermind how light hearted, would result in calls for the writer's head after he/she would be branded as homophobic.

That plus overly tight health and safety laws (Bill Pertwee once said that Dad's Army would never have gotten off the ground today purely because of the restrictions in place with modern working practices).

Many of the funniest moments in sitcoms have involved poking fun at somebody, or someone suffering to some extent. The type of wit displayed in the 70's and 80's which allowed the prolific production of so many good sitcoms just isn't there any more.

And furthermore to all of that, modern producers are so concerned about how a programme looks that it's content almost plays second fiddle. The absolutely shoddy (and make no bones about it, it was) construction of the Fawlty Towers sets (how John Cleese had the confidence to thunder up and down those stairs when the wall moved 6 inches as he did it I shall never know) was doubtless not something of any great concern when the brilliance of the script came into play. If FT was made these days, I can imagine millions being spent on an elaborate hotel set, but the actual content of the programme to be farely dull, and not half as good as the programme that was made in the 70's.

That said, some old relics are being stretched now. Only fools and horses was unquestionably finished in 1996 - afaik the still in print BBC video releases of the 1996 3 parter still identify it as being 'the last 3 episodes ever'. Bringing it back in 2001 was silly and just demonstrates a lack of creativity. Aswell as the questionable storyline, the two lead actors had aged a bit much to make them believable any more (David Jason was 61 when the latest episodes were recorded - yet I'm pretty sure Del Boy was still in his 40's), and the lack of a 3rd regular to support Jason and Lyndhurst was very noticeable. They were good, but nowhere near up to the standard of previous episodes, and with it they ruined the original ending to the series which has now severely weakened the 1996 episodes.

And on top of all of that, they are dragging all the mileage they possibly can from it by airing what should have been a 3 part one off story with 2 parts aired at christmas and the final in easter, into a 3 part story shown at the rate of 1 episode per year on christmas day.

OFAH must be recognised as one of the best sitcoms ever, but it's more than run it's course now. The 1996 trilogy was a nice way to wrap up a series which had allready really ended in 1993 (and had been confined to specials since 1990), but the current stretching of it is ridiculous. They'd get the same (or more) laughs and the same ratings just by sticking a rerun of an old christmas special on. And at least that wouldn't look out of place.
A former member
Quote:
What about Coupling, League of Gentlemen, The Office, Alan Partridge?? All excellant shows all from 2002/2003


Quite. I was about to make the same point myself.

Particularly strange is the inclusion of One Foot in the Grave, which only ended a couple of years back.

BBC1 has always, just like ITV, been home to safe, nice comedies, few of which actually survive to be classics. The only area I've been missing over the last few years is the experimental comedy on BBC2 and Channel 4 which used to be thick and fast and is now, sadly, becoming a lot rarer.
Square Eyes7,700 posts since 31 Mar 2001
[quote="jason"]
Quote:
What about Coupling, League of Gentlemen, The Office, Alan Partridge?? All excellant shows all from 2002/2003


Yes, these are all good shows, but they are all BBC2 shows, and not quite in the BBC One mould of traditional sitcom. League of Gentleman is fab, but it's not really the kind of comedy the whole family gather around the telly and watch. It's a bit more risky.

I'm talking about your Open All Hours, One Foot in the Grave, Brittas Empire, Keeping Up Appearances and the like.

Having said that, I am sick to the back teeth of Last of the Summer Wine, I guess I'm hard to please. I guess the audience has moved on, the humour is more complex and as cwathen has said writers can actually get away with less these days.