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Old 04-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #31
Historian
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Originally Posted by 3745 Laddie View Post
I agree that much of ITV's output in this area from the 80's until they just gave up the sitcom ghost altogether,a few years back,was poor.But they didn't have the luxury of sticking with shows that failed to rate well from the outset,where the BBC did and does.Only Fools And Horses being a model example of a sitcom now hailed as a classic but rated poorly for its first two or three seasons.
I think that's an important point- as you said, the BBC sometimes used to stick with shows that didn't rate well at the beginning, and gave them time to develop and build an audience. You mentioned 'Foold & Horses', but there's another that comes to mind- 'Blackadder'.

IIRC, the first Richard Curtis/Rowan Atkinson-written 'The Black Adder' didn't do particularly well compared to the later Curtis/Ben Elton-written series, and the BBC wanted to axe it due to poor ratings and high costs- the second series only got the green light on condition the production costs were much lower, particularly without all the location filming from Series 1.

These days, I suspect if it's not an instant hit, particularly on ITV with their dependence on viewing figures and advertising revenue, it gets canned.
There's a flipside to that particular coin as well- sometimes there's been a tendency to milk successful sitcom formats well past their sell-by date. Did anyone think those last couple of 'Fools & Horses' Christmas specials were up to scratch?
Sometimes it's better to quit while you're ahead- Fawlty Towers is consistently regarded as one of the great highspots of British TV comedy, and there were just 2 series- 12 episodes.
If John Cleese and the BBC had tried to milk it for 8-10 series, might Basil have turned stale?

Last edited by Historian; 04-02-2012 at 07:51 AM..
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:06 PM   #32
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They just need to actually be funny unlike most of the crap that is out there now.
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