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Happy Birthday Ideal!

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Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 12:17 UK time, Thursday, 9 June 2011

Johnny Vegas

Creator Graham Duff writes...

Tonight will see IDEAL reach it's 50th episode. An uncommon achievement for any programme. Especially a British comedy series. Whilst U.S. comedies frequently rack up hundreds of installments, it's very rare indeed for a UK production to pass the 12 episode mark. Many of course, don't even make it that far.

So how did we do it? Well, having one of Britain's best loved comedy performers playing our lead character has certainly helped. Johnny Vegas has long been known as an unrivalled stand up and a genuinely spontaneous and witty addition to any panel show. But perhaps it wasn't until his performance as Moz in IDEAL that people began to realise what a truly gifted and subtle actor he is. And of course when it comes to delivering punch lines Johnny is second to none.

Aside from Johnny, we have what is almost certainly the largest cast of any TV comedy and definitely one of the most talented. During our seven series, nearly a 100 characters have passed through Moz's front door. And I'm proud to say IDEAL gave initial breaks to comic performers such as the now ubiquitous Jason Manford and the hilarious Emma Fryer who also stars in Channel 4's 'Phone Shop'.

We've also looked well beyond the confines of the comedy world, eliciting extremely funny performances from heavy weight dramatic actors such as David Bradley, presenters like Alan Yentob and Mark Radcliffe and musicians such as Mark E. Smith, Barry Adamson and Paul Weller.

Another thing we try to do is make sure the show constantly evolves. In between episode one and episode fifty we've experimented, tackled taboo topics and taken genuine risks, including song and dance numbers, animated scenes and 20 minute flashback sequences. We've even killed off a number of regular characters. Sometimes in very violent ways. And I'm happy to say our audience has not only stuck with us, but it's grown and grown.

It's easy for me to sound confident about the show now. But let's face it, back in 2004, if you were a betting man or woman, would you really have put good money on a comedy about an overweight, underachieving drug dealer being commissioned by the BBC? And what about the odds of the show passing the fifty episode mark? Now that really would have been a long shot.

Ideal continues every Thursday at 10.30pm on BBC Three. Watch a clip from the 50th episode below:

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