BBC Television programmes  permalink

An obituary

Messages: 1 - 50 of 123
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Basildonian (U15963901) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the death of the once great British Sitcom.

    At its height in the 1970's and 1980's the BBC was the home for the best sitcoms but since the 1990's its health had been waning.

    Chronically infected for years by ITV and US Sitcom diseases it appears the latter was fatal as the once famous British Sense of Humour was diluted to a childish standard.

    In recent years the British Sitcom had been extremely ill having coughed up poisonous bile in the shapes of 'Big Top', 'Life of Reilly', 'My Family', 'My Hero', 'Citizen Khan' 'The Royal Bodyguard', 'The Green Green Grass', 'Bluestone 42' and, the final nail in the coffin 'Miranda' with Miranda Hart, the antidote to comedy.

    These are by no means the only pathetic excuses for sitcoms and it isn't only recently that poor comedy has been produced. It's just not been this bad this often.

    The BBC's insistence on repeating sitcoms to death and letting them go on for too long (Only Fools and Horses) hasn't helped.

    There are fears for TV licence payer’s quality for money.

    I am pleased to say that the British Sitcom's brother, the comedy panel show, is in good health with the likes of 'Have I Got News for You', 'Mock the Week' and the radio classics 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' and 'Just A Minute'.

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Bouillaguet (U14312340) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Let's wait and see what "Still Open All Hours" is like.

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  • Message 3

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    Posted by deliacooks (U15907597) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Let's wait and see what "Still Open All Hours" is like.  We will be watching,but really that series was all a vehicle for the late, great Ronnie Barker in one of his best roles. What it will be like without him remains to be seen, but I don't have high hopes.

    It also shows that the BBC is lacking in either ideas for new shows, or lacking the bravery to try new writers.

    R.I.P. !!

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Pancho Wilkins (U1158194) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Chronically infected for years by ITV and US Sitcom diseases it appears the latter was fatal as the once famous British Sense of Humour was diluted to a childish standard. 
    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by maestaf (U14145694) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    And the US is still producing warm, intelligent comedy with the Big Bang Theory. If you want to know why the BBC can't produce decent sitcoms any more, do an internet search for what Jennifer Saunders has to say on the subject.

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by germinator (U13411914) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    I would rather watch the worst, unfunniest UK sitcom (probably Miranda or that Perkins vehicle) than the 'best' from the USA.

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Dover Soul (U14934992) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Chronically infected for years by ITV and US Sitcom diseases it appears the latter was fatal as the once famous British Sense of Humour was diluted to a childish standard. 
    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show 
    I'm afraid to say I didn't like any of those US sit coms, well Friends I little, but none of the others.

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by ZIP-IT-SHRIMPY (U15436784) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Very sad news, my thoughts are with the British public.

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  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by sanity (U2808238) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Do you not consider "Cabin Pressure" to be one of the funniest sitcoms of this century?

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  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Basildonian (U15963901) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Friends?!

    Friends is the lowest of the low, TV for the hard of thinking. It was horrendous and completely pathetic. The jokes were almost non-existent (if it wasn't for the canned laughter you'd never have known where they should have been), the cast was shocking and the scripts could have been swapped around without anyone knowing the difference.

    Home Improvements?!

    Bloody hell...

    If this is what is on offer then I'll happily stick to the DVD boxsets of old sitcoms I've got. It's American crap like these that have diluted our once great sense of humour down to the pathetic, childish level it's at now and why the BBC's recent efforts at sitcoms are so weak.

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  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by zencat (U14877400) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show 

    None of which were watched by me, thank god.

    Life's too short!

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by EggOnAStilt (U7111730) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    What a super opening post smiley - ok

    Not that I agree with it all, but non the less 90% aint that bad smiley - biggrin

    Until we hit the TV panels...... they are a fill in, because they can't actually think of something original, or maybe it's the cuts?
    The radio panels I can totally forgive, suits the medium.

    smiley - mistletoe smiley - friedegg smiley - mistletoe

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  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by beatxt (U14042175) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Well said that person. The BBC don't shout about Cabin Pressure nearly enough.

    It's in the highest echelon. It deserves a transfer much more than Little Britain ever did, but what chance a televised version? - with the other demands that must be made on Allam and Cumberbatch.

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  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 10.

    This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by EggOnAStilt (U7111730) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    What a super opening post smiley - ok

    Not that I agree with it all, but non the less 90% aint that bad smiley - biggrin

    Until we hit the TV panels...... they are a fill in, because they can't actually think of something original, or maybe it's the cuts?
    The radio panels I can totally forgive, suits the medium.

    smiley - mistletoe smiley - friedegg smiley - mistletoe 
    Oh and I like a few of the US sitcoms too. So there's minus another 10% smiley - doh
    smiley - mistletoe smiley - friedegg smiley - mistletoe

    (Does Freshmeat count as a sitcom?)

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  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by Pancho Wilkins (U1158194) on Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Friends?!

    Friends is the lowest of the low, TV for the hard of thinking. It was horrendous and completely pathetic. The jokes were almost non-existent (if it wasn't for the canned laughter you'd never have known where they should have been), the cast was shocking and the scripts could have been swapped around without anyone knowing the difference.

    Home Improvements?!

    Bloody hell...

    If this is what is on offer then I'll happily stick to the DVD boxsets of old sitcoms I've got. It's American crap like these that have diluted our once great sense of humour down to the pathetic, childish level it's at now and why the BBC's recent efforts at sitcoms are so weak. 
    So far you have rubbished a bunch of British sitcoms and the whole list of US sitcoms I put forward.

    What is on these DVD box sets of old sitcoms that you've got, to which you will happily stick?

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  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by billy_bumble (U14467942) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    the final nail in the coffin 'Miranda' with Miranda Hart, the antidote to comedy. 

    As far as her "comic" roles are concerned more Agent Orange than antidote surely?

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  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by meldrewsrevenge (U13159010) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    the Drama channel (20 on Freeview) are currently showing One Foot in the Grave around teatime. I had forgotten what it was to laugh out loud at a sitcom

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  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Ria_H (U14999558) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I rather like Mrs Brown's Boys. A lot

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  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by Baldinio (U2012448) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Well said that person. The BBC don't shout about Cabin Pressure nearly enough.

    It's in the highest echelon. It deserves a transfer much more than Little Britain ever did, but what chance a televised version?  


    John Finnemore isn't keen on a transfer because he says radio gives him more chance to introduce surreal situations into the scripts which work on radio but wouldn't be possibly to recreate visually without a lot of expense.

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  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by meldrewsrevenge (U13159010) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show 

    None of which were watched by me, thank god.

    Life's too short! 
    you forgot Malcolm in the Middle. A sitcom needs character and plot as well as script. So much current sitcom is just one liners, funny costume (Miranda!) and falling over (Miranda!!!) - it's nowhere near enough.
    The most underrated of recent sitcoms was ITV's Vicious which had character a-plenty, and satirised the vice of vanity in a way that was reminiscent of Ben Jonson or some of the ancient Greek comedies

    Reply to this message 21

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  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Phil-ap (U13637313) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Two of the best comedies this year have been on BBC3. I refer to Bluestone 49 and Him and Her IMVHO.

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  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by meldrewsrevenge (U13159010) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    And of course I forgot to mention the very best of recent sitcims, Plebs and the Inbetweeners. Of course BBC could never make such shows any more featuring lead characters none of whom was female, black, muslim or disabled. It prefers to tick boxes with that dreadful Khan stuff

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  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Phil-ap (U13637313) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The most underrated of recent sitcoms was ITV's Vicious which had character a-plenty, and satirised the vice of vanity in a way that was reminiscent of Ben Jonson or some of the ancient Greek comedies  The problem was that it wasn't funny as the ratings confirmed whereas by the same token Miranda and Mrs Brown's Boys are both hilarious.

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  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by Baldinio (U2012448) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    "The most underrated of recent sitcoms was ITV's Vicious which had character a-plenty, and satirised the vice of vanity in a way that was reminiscent of Ben Jonson or some of the ancient Greek comedies"

    BBC had a comedy series called 'George and Bernard Shaw' written by John Finnemore which they cancelled after the pilot was filmed in 2011 which starred Robert Lindsay and Richard Griffiths. ITV then commissioned a series based on that idea and called it Vicious, it was a hit and a second series will be shown in 2014.

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  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by zencat (U14877400) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I have to confess, from the original list in the OP, I actually quite liked Life of Riley, and it definitely fulfilled it's remit as a family sit-com. OK, the jokes weren't brilliant, but there was a good mix of characters, and the little lad with his obsession for cleaning products was very well played, and right on the button.

    Also, I liked My Family.

    Not sure if Miranda was a true sit-com. Is there such a thing as an ensemble farce? Whatever, I enjoyed Miranda, despite certain misgivings about so many of the plots being based around Miranda telling outrageous lies.

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  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Basildonian (U15963901) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The US networks say that Americans have a short attention span so anything too complicated won't be liked. With this they make their 'comedies' accordingly to the average American they think is watching. That's why 'Police Squad' was axed after 6 episodes. The question I would then ask is why were there 3 Naked Gun films made and why were they successful?!

    It's the networks fault that their attempts at comedy are so painfully terrible.

    Neither us or the Americans are THAT stupid that we're happy to be entertained but such meagre offerings. Unfortunately it's about viewing figures and money, but why the BBC worry about such things when their income is all but guaranteed I don't know. They should be concentrating on quality and not trying to entertain us with stuff my 7 year old nephew wouldn't watch!

    Amongst my DVD's are:
    Absolute Power
    Black Adder
    Dad's Army
    Dear John
    Drop the Dead Donkey
    Ever Decreasing Circles
    The Good Life
    Goodnight Sweetheart
    Just Good Friends
    Only Fools and Horses (Series 1-7)
    Phoenix Nights
    Porridge
    Yes, Minister/Prime Minister

    Someone mentioned the transfer from radio to TV. It's not always a success. 'Little Britain' and 'The League of Gentleman' made the same mistake. The first series was good and had some very funny moments. The following series was nothing like as good and replaced the humour with attempts to shock people in to laughing. Writers, and especially the BBC, don't know when to call it a day. As I said before, 'Only Fools and Horses' went on too long. It still had it's moments but it was nowhere near as good as it had been.

    The BBC haven't realised that the days when most of their comedy output was of a high quality has long gone. It's time to move on and find something to replace it.

    We fund the BBC and as such should demand high quality for our money. When the BBC have had a quality production on their hands of late they've axed it (The Hour, Casualty 1900's) yet they persist with awful, cringe-making drivel like EastEnders, which has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with viewing figures.

    Where is our quality for money?!

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  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Baldinio (U2012448) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The most underrated of recent sitcoms was ITV's Vicious which had character a-plenty, and satirised the vice of vanity in a way that was reminiscent of Ben Jonson or some of the ancient Greek comedies  The problem was that it wasn't funny as the ratings confirmed . 

    Two posts with contrasting answers smiley - winkeye

    In terms of ITV ratings it was a hit - the average weeknight audience, excluding soaps for ITV1, is only 2.5 million. Vicious beat that average with each show.

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  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by Rhoces (U11212688) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I think Bluestone 42 is an excellent example of a modern sit-com.

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  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by Phil-ap (U13637313) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    In terms of ITV ratings it was a hit - the average weeknight audience, excluding soaps for ITV1, is only 2.5 million. Vicious beat that average with each show.  That may be OK for BBC2 but not BBC1.

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  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by Baldinio (U2012448) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    In terms of ITV ratings it was a hit - the average weeknight audience, excluding soaps for ITV1, is only 2.5 million. Vicious beat that average with each show.  That may be OK for BBC2 but not BBC1. 

    True.

    What I find interesting is that the BBC Commissioning brief wants 6 x 30 min pre and post watershed comedies - when was the last time BBC had a hit with a pre-watershed comedy?

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  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by zencat (U14877400) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    ...when was the last time BBC had a hit with a pre-watershed comedy? 
    Holby City?

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  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Phil-ap (U13637313) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Unfortunately it's about viewing figures and money, but why the BBC worry about such things when their income is all but guaranteed I don't know.   I don't know why you should think that BBC income is guaranteed. There are constant calls to reduce or even eliminate the licence fee.

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  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Pancho Wilkins (U1158194) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The US networks say that Americans have a short attention span so anything too complicated won't be liked. 

    On the basis of this statement alone I shan't be following this thread. It would suggest you have not watched M.A.S.H, nor Frasier, nor The Larry Sanders Show, all of which are complicated, and subtle, and sensitive and do not rely on slapstick, nor farce.

    A recent US offering, Parks and Recreation, has been universally praised on this messageboard

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  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by leadedbee (U5555345) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    All of this rubbishing and counter rubbishing and I don't think anyone has mentioned 'The Wright Way' - surely the absolute nadir of all British 'sitcoms' in the modern era?

    Reply to this message 35

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  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by Phil-ap (U13637313) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The US networks say that Americans have a short attention span so anything too complicated won't be liked. 

    On the basis of this statement alone I shan't be following this thread. It would suggest you have not watched M.A.S.H, nor Frasier, nor The Larry Sanders Show, all of which are complicated, and subtle, and sensitive and do not rely on slapstick, nor farce.

    A recent US offering, Parks and Recreation, has been universally praised on this messageboard 
    Some of the best episodes of Frasier were pure farce. MASH was great but I never gelled with Parks and Recreation.

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  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 35.

    Posted by zencat (U14877400) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    All of this rubbishing and counter rubbishing and I don't think anyone has mentioned 'The Wright Way' - surely the absolute nadir of all British 'sitcoms' in the modern era? 
    I've so successfully expunged The Wright Way from my mind I can't even remember what it was about - oh no! It's all coming back to me aaaaaaaaah!

    Doctor, more tablets, I need more tablets!

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  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by Reithian (U1195316) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I suppose that the clue is in the title - a situation comedy. A context that provides a basis for humour and pathos which entertains the viewer and perhaps makes them care about the characters - think Dad's Army, Ever Decreasing Circles, Good Life and Steptoe and Son.

    Problem is that amongst these gems there were a great many mediocre offerings which one tends to forget.

    Interesting that many of the successful series were slow burners and were nearly cancelled - Black Adder and Dad's Army come to mind.

    Everything comes down to the quality of the writing - think Yes Minister.

    Situation comedies need not be vehicles for some rising comedy star but rather for actors who have the timing and skill to turn the words on the page to humorous effect (think One Foot in the Grave) under the guidance of highly skilled producers and directors who have the courage to say - this is just not good enough.

    Not all is gloom and some more modern programmes have worked for me - Early Doors comes to mind. Life it too short to bother with others though.

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  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 38.

    Posted by Prickles (U14516977) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I think there have always been a few 'gems' come along - rarely a heap all at once that are truly great.

    I really enjoyed Bluestone and have hopes for its development. MASH is currently being repeated on Freeview but is rendered unwatchable by the American laughter track. Good on ~BBC2 when it was on there for removing that irritant.

    Blackadder remains a high yardstick.

    I've also found C4's The IT Crowd a potential classic along with the Thick of It.

    I refuse to give up hope .............

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  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by CannotResistThisOne (U15930232) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    I'm sitting here watching dinnerladies - which now I'm thinking is one of the last, if not the last, great sitcom. I'm laughing like and drain and then I'm crying and then I'm laughing again. Brilliant played and timed. real people with difficult lives in real situations, even the minor characters have great lines. Someone pay Victoria Wood loads of money to write another sitcom please!

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  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by HoraceCoker (U14258478) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Well said that person. The BBC don't shout about Cabin Pressure nearly enough.

    It's in the highest echelon. It deserves a transfer much more than Little Britain ever did, but what chance a televised version? - with the other demands that must be made on Allam and Cumberbatch. 
    ....no....no..no.....leave it on the radio....transfers to TV never or very rarely work...

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  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 41.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    It's not dead .... maybe like Dracula it rises and revives from time to time ..... Pulling from a while ago was very good ..... but then that's just me.

    (I do find it totally inexplicable that some above found nothing for them in some of the 'classy' US comedies, especially Larry Sanders, Frasier and P+Gs. Friends was - what - mild but efficient ..... lots of good Jewish humour abounding in the yank imports.

    Our great comedies, for example The Likely lads, are of a different time when, I'd guess there was a supportive milieu, peer support, examples and pressure. Now things are much more fragmented, as it looks, and so successes are more random and infrequent ...... but if it's done well why shouldn't there be good sitcoms now. Some fundamental factors, such as money, would be important. I suppose panel shows are cheaper. I'm hooked on 8/10, mainly for Sean Locke. He wrote and created the vaunted !5 Stories but it died a death for lack of support and poor scheduling.

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  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    15 Stories High ......

    www.youtube.com/watc...

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  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Johnnymol (U14690244) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The death of the British sit-com is down to the fact that BBC (and all other channels) has in recent years been incapable of finding a comedy writer who is able to produce a pre-watershed comedy that can last beyond two series.

    The BBC seems to think that comedy can only be enjoyed after 9 o'clock and involve a large amount of swearing.

    The best attempts the BBC has had in recent years at pre-watershed comedy have been with "My Family" (but went on several series too long) and Miranda, but even with Miranda there's only so many times you can laugh at someone falling off a chair.

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  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 44.

    Posted by AmosBurke (U8229185) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Horrible Histories was very funny and pre-watershed. It was such a pity it ended.

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  • Message 46

    , in reply to message 45.

    Posted by purwil (U14677803) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    The most complete lists of sitcoms are on forum threads where people discuss what they don't find funny.

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  • Message 47

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by old git at 70 (U14213449) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Chronically infected for years by ITV and US Sitcom diseases it appears the latter was fatal as the once famous British Sense of Humour was diluted to a childish standard. 
    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show 
    I'm afraid to say I didn't like any of those US sit coms, well Friends I little, but none of the others. 
    I go back even further I used to watch the Phil Silvers show with him playing the loud mouthed Sargent Bilco

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  • Message 48

    , in reply to message 47.

    Posted by Johnnymol (U14690244) ** on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Chronically infected for years by ITV and US Sitcom diseases it appears the latter was fatal as the once famous British Sense of Humour was diluted to a childish standard. 
    The US provided many superb, subtle, warm intelligent sitcoms:-

    Taxi
    Cheers
    Frasier
    Friends
    Home Improvements
    Roseanne
    Seinfeld
    The Larry Sanders Show 
    I'm afraid to say I didn't like any of those US sit coms, well Friends I little, but none of the others. 
    I go back even further I used to watch the Phil Silvers show with him playing the loud mouthed Sargent Bilco 
    The British in my opinion have provided equally as good sit coms if not better - Unfortunately the BBC has lost the art of doing pre-watershed sit coms.

    Perhaps soon the BBC so called comedy department will realise that saying a rude word doesn't automatically get a laugh.

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  • Message 49

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by halifaxtownfan (U1871698) on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

    Let's wait and see what "Still Open All Hours" is like. 

    Insania! It would be like Reggie Perrin without the titular character! Looking forward to the Citizen Khan Christmas Special.

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  • Message 50

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by GZ (U5310554) on Monday, 23rd December 2013

    The US networks say that Americans have a short attention span so anything too complicated won't be liked. 

    On the basis of this statement alone I shan't be following this thread. It would suggest you have not watched M.A.S.H, nor Frasier, nor The Larry Sanders Show, all of which are complicated, and subtle, and sensitive and do not rely on slapstick, nor farce.

    A recent US offering, Parks and Recreation, has been universally praised on this messageboard 
    *Modern Family
    *30 Rock
    *Murphy Brown
    *Curb Your Entusiasm
    *Arrested Developement
    *Scrubs
    *Family Guy
    *Nurse Jackie
    *Weeds

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