Corddry will play Duncan Locke, the Locke children’s uncle. Duncan does what he can to ease the family’s pain after his older brother’s murder, and he and his boyfriend, Brian Rogers, help Nina and the kids settle into the old family home in Massachusetts. Duncan doesn’t seem to think that there’s anything wrong with the old family home, but he possesses a few critical secrets…
9 pm, UK time, Channel Four.
Man, they sure are taking their time with this show.
I know there’s a trend for resurrecting old sitcoms at the moment, but I’m not sure about this. I liked Brittas a lot in the early days, and I think the situation and characters are fairly timeless, but the show wore thin towards the end of its run.
That said, I’ve enjoyed the return of sitcoms like Red Dwarf and the one-off Goodnight Sweetheart, so these things can work.
To be honest though I wonder if there’s really enough nostalgia for this one to see it resurrected.
I’m not sure there is and there’s something ineffably 90s about the leisure centre setting that I don’t think would translate well to the modern day unless you started stretching it to cover a proper gym or a yoga studio or whatever.
Also, the series ended with everything turning out to be a dream, which I suppose is the kind of thing you can hand-wave away, but doesn’t scream “more can follow this!”
In fairness, they already killed Brittas off at least once in the original run before bringing him back for more.
Oh, I don’t remember that bit (I were only a lad when it aired originally).
They played it as a gag (he died and went to heaven, but they couldn’t stand him so sent him back) so it’s not like it was a big continuity issue or anything.
But it shows the series has always had a reasonably loose relationship with reality.
I do kind of agree with Ben Elton, however much of an arse he can be, that the UK has completely lost the idea of a general audience sitcom that can be great. The quality stuff is all at the adult end from BBC2 or Channel 4.
I mean the Brittas Empire or Goodnight Sweetheart were ‘okay’ at best. They aren’t classics of the genre like Fawly Towers, Reggie Perrin or Porridge or Only Fools and Horses that are genuinely hilarious in places without any nostalgia factor. It’s really become a lost art.
This is doubly hilarious when Elton made a name for himself decrying the general audience sitcom to begin with.
It is, hence the ‘arse’ comment and most of his attempts to counter it have been very poor (although The Thin Blue Line had its moments but no more than that).
I thought his Shakespeare one recently was ok (I forget the name). And Elton will always have credit with me for Blackadder (and bits of Thin Blue Line were good).
I’m now more wary than excited for his new projects when they come along, though.
It will be interesting to see how much of the audience stays with it during its run.
He made his name by rebelling again the mainstream comedy of his day, but I’m pretty sure that was always a facade, just another part of his act. I’m sure it was Ben Elton who, on being asked what an “alternative” comedian was, said that his favourite comedy duo routinely insulted establishment figures to their faces, had one who would laugh the other’s short, fat hairy legs and bad wig, slap him around the face, and then the two would get into bed together at the end of a sketch, “And you can’t get much more alternative than that.”
I think Ben Elton is one of those people who had a lot of great energy early on and burned out really fast. His contributions to The Young Ones were great - and the pointed attacks on establishment TV stand out there - the Nozin’ Aroun’ sketch where he’s the host of a shitty youth show, and Vyv railing against The Good Life.
But after Blackadder, the quality started to drop away. Possibly coinciding with him writing solo and not as part of a collaboration. Possibly.
It could be, I agree The Young Ones and Blackadder were proper classics but were written under partnerships with others.
I’m not so interested in dissecting his career though, it’s more the initial point that the mainstream sitcom seems pretty dead. Nobody much seems to be able to do it.
What’s the closest we’ve seen in the UK in recent years? My Family?
BBC One stuff like Count Arthur Strong and Citizen Khan? They’re on around prime-time, but I can’t say I know anyone who actually watches them. Someone must be, presumably.