Lateline creator Al Franken was in a past a comedian, writer for Saturday Night Live, he was an actor, but then he became an active politician and right now is US Senator. Lateline was his first stab at creating a sitcom, because in the past he was usually writer or co-author of the scripts. Unfortunately Lateline was a disaster...
It’s not often that British sitcom takes the American approach to comedy and is created in same manner as in United States. Even "My Family", created by American Fred Barron, was still close to other British productions. But Not Going Out is a completely different matter.
After great success of such TV series as Dadâ€™s Army, It Ainâ€™t Half Hot Mum or â€™Allo â€™Allo it seemed that World War 2 as theme for comedy has run dry - what more can be said about the Blitz, ration books and shouting sergeants? Another approach to war was Then Churchill Said to Me starring Frankie Howerd that made very little impact when finally has premiered. Later Goodnight Sweetheart was pushing the envelope by introducing time travel element, but idea for radio show that takes place during World War 2 seemed like really, really far fetched.
Vince Powell was author of several sitcoms, most of them gained with time poor, although not always well deserved, reputation. Bottle Boys from the beginning was more or less doomed to fail, although this time it had nothing to do with anything controversial that Vince Powell would do - there were no controversial topics, characters nor scenes, just a story of few milkmen working in depot in London.
Up Pompeii was a sitcom that placed Frankie Howerd in the spotlight - with scripts by Talbot Rothwell, unique formula (breaking the fourth wall) and dialogues full of innuendoes it was a perfect setting for Howerd, whose stand up routines as well as film appearances were very close the character he was playing in Up Pompeii. Later Whoops Baghdad was almost exact copy of Up Pompeii, but set in the Middle East, but in early 1980s Howerd was given another series, Then Churchill Said to Me, as it turned out the last in his career.
Jack Rosenthal started his career as writer for British soap opera Coronation Street, but after he wrote spin-off called Pardon the Expression (starring Arthur Lowe) that was rather typical sitcom his next project was something from completely other dimension - The Dustbinmen. The title pretty much explains the topics covered in this sitcom, but the approach to comedy was something completely unconventional.
British comedy series had sometimes quite strange concepts - Only When I Laugh was taking place pretty much in a single room throughout 4 series, Last of the Summer Wine was about elderly people looking for something interesting to do throughout 20 series, Red Dwarf was taking place after human kind ceased to exist throughout 10 series... Benidorm was another completely surprising idea - group of Britons spend their all inclusive holiday in hotel sitting next to pool or in karaoke bar. How can you stretch such idea to 10 series? Obviously you can...
Simon Nye created quite few sitcoms throughout his career, from great Men Behaving Badly, through unusual Is It Legal? to a lost chance with Hardware. The one thing they all had in common was that... they were completely different. How Do You Want Me? produced in 1998 and 1999 is hardly similar to any other of his sitcoms, but unfortunately in this case it wasnâ€™t a good thing.
British sitcoms have a long history of presenting characters that on the first glance are not only unlikeable, but also it seems they are completely unsuitable for comedy series. Steptoe and Son was just another example of such sitcom.
Roy Clarke is one of the best comedy writers in Britain with such titles in his resume as Last of the Summer Wine, Keeping Up Appearances or Rosie, often concentrating on the Yorkshire, where he was born, and often writing a bitter-sweet stories. But one of his early productions is still fondly remembered by the audience - Ronnie Barker as stingy shop owner Arkwright and his always suffering nephew Granville as errand boy.
Comedy Series Blog - we search all the interesting (and sometimes not that interesting) comedy series from around the world. Some of them might be slightly better than the others, but in comedy there are no strict rules - sometimes less funny series, but made with skillful touch could be a hit. On the other hand there are series that try too hard to be funny and lose on the plots and characters building.
Wasteland - the final frontier... for logic
Story of the Zone