Exclusive: BBC’s new boss threatens to axe Left-wing comedy shows

They don’t have any to axe. Not funny ones at least, which is the usual definition of comedy. They can, of course, stop making left wing prejudice shows but will they?

30 thoughts on “Impossible”

  1. On Sir Humphrey’s principle that when the health budget is under attack threaten to close a children’s hospital, I expect they’ll find something popular and cut that.

  2. Difficult isn’t it. Any comedy to the right of them, they’re going to be the butt of the gags.. There’s just so much material. You could write an entire sitcom around a fictional national broadcasting organisation.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Fuck Tories” stopped being funny by June ’79, if it ever was funny, but it still seems to make simple minded lefties laugh, or more usually clap and cheer like trained seals.

  4. The market system has comedy covered. It suits ad breaks, product placement, subscription, that sort of thing to fund it. It’s not the sort of genre which won’t exist without a State Broadcaster.

  5. It’s the actual definition of right wing that will still be skewed. The BBcs reithian window needs a shift. Without it they’ll recommission allo allo and count Herr Flick as part of their right wing quota.

  6. Some of what Bongo said. There’s things that really suit the internet. Things that are short, things with low production costs. Anyone with some writing and performing talent can do some comedy on YouTube or podcasting.

    @JuliaM: I honestly don’t know. I try the occasional BBC thing but it’s nearly always bad. Dramas, comedies, history programmes stuffed with their agenda and running on autopilot. I know I’m going to be kicking the TV in if I keep watching.

  7. Roué le Jour said:
    “I expect they’ll find something popular and cut that”

    It seems their most popular shows at the moment are Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow. They probably regard both of those as right-wing, so expect their demise to be announced shortly.

  8. “Without it they’ll recommission allo allo and count Herr Flick as part of their right wing quota.”

    But with added diversity, a middle aged bloke in a dress as Helga, and some female RAF pilots. And about as funny as a bucket of cold sick.

  9. Jim: You could make the same comment about the original series. I thought it was completely puerile, and I wasn’t even a Grumpy Old Geezer then.

  10. We YouTubed the Not the Nine O’clock News sketch with Gerald the Gorilla last night.

    What a hoot. That was comedy. Now it would presumably be castigated on the grounds of gorilla-abuse.

  11. BBC comedy shows were at a loss what to say when the “that David Cameron, he’s a Toff!” (ha ha ha ha) joke couldn’t be used any more after Teresa May took over. Luckily it’s back with “That Boris, he’s a Toff!” (ha ha ha ha ha).

    And they say BBC comedy is no longer cutting edge.

  12. I thought it was completely puerile . . .

    Indeed it was, much like Carry On and Benny Hill. Sometimes puerile is its own entertainment, as in so-cringe-it’s-good.

  13. “You could make the same comment about the original series. ”

    I always saw ‘Allo ‘Allo as a continuation of the tradition of bawdy (and puerile) British comedy, as exemplified by the Carry On films. Which I also love, so I guess its a case of personal taste. But a lot of people found ‘Allo ‘Allo funny, they watched it in millions. I bet hardly anyone would watch the ‘woke’ version the BBC would deem suitable for today, just like no one watched the PC Carry On film they made in the 90s.

  14. “As for foreigners being funny, I must shock Mr. Orwell by telling him that foreigners ARE funny.”

    Frank Richards, writing in 1939

  15. dearieme,

    I don’t think that’s the problem so much that once you start treating TV production like religious orders, with routes into the BBC, with all sorts of diversity quotas and endless meetings, you drive out the creative people. It’s not that you can’t make a sketch like that so much as that you lock out anyone with the imagination to do it.

    And the internet has just driven talent elsewhere. You don’t need the BBC. You can build a YouTube channel like the Jonathon Pie thing with a tiny crew.

  16. I liked Allo Allo. Lowbrow, silly but funny. But then I love Carry On films too… Carry On Cleo and Carry On Up the Khyber being my particular faves.

  17. @dearieme
    Not the Nine had lots of PC stuff as well, the difference was that they could be funny.

    Radio 4 is still (just) capable of comedy: Cabin Pressure, Ed Reardon, Clare in the Community (ripping the piss out of social workers) – but they’ve all finished and now reside on R4X.

  18. Not Knocking Allo Allo. with Jim on that. The actual idea of a quota is ironically what i’d expect a left wing corp to come up with to solve a problem. And it won’t help in the slightest, they’re not even sticking plasters, they’re a bandage around the head to solve a hangover.

  19. I never thought of ‘Allo ‘Allo as a sibling of the Carry Ons. It just never did it for me. The Carry Ons were a curate’s egg, some excellent, some clunkers. I would put Up the Khyber and Don’t Lose Your Head in the excellent category. Probably Camping towards the clunker end.

  20. Agree somewhat with Chris Miller – radio comedy isn’t well covered by the not-State, so happy for a cut down BBC to produce this content. Some youtube stuff is aural only, but there’s hardly loads of it. Radio comedy festival tents for newcomers to try their craft don’t exist i think.
    Comedy reviewing isn’t that well covered by the not-State either. So the BBC luvvies who like Edinburgh can still do their shows covering the fringe. But they should not be doing the shows. Imv, of course.

  21. jgh getting used to a new tablet

    I was watching the remade lost Dad’s Army eps at the weekend. I thought they were great, nothing lost from being lost for 50 years. But it’s noticable that it took a commercial channel to do them.

  22. My opinion of “‘Allo ‘Allo” changed completely when I watched the daily re-runs on UK Gold (as opposed to the weekly format, divided by series, on the BBC). I originally thought it was an old-fashioned knockabout comedy with lots of catchphrases. I subsequently concluded it was the most ambitious farce ever written – an ongoing and complex narrative spread over 42 hours of TV, packed with in-jokes – a landmark comedy achievement.

  23. Stray thought: how did the Beeb’s Nomenklatura allow W1A to air? Was it meant to prove that they’re good sports?

  24. dearieme
    They saw absolutely no parallels between W1A and themselves, lacking so much in self awareness as they do. It was mocking ‘other’ people, not them.

  25. Believe it or not ‘Allo Allo’ was really popular in Poland, as one of the few TV shows the commies did not ban.

    All the lab techs were I work, who come from Poland, know all the catchphrases!

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