Ben Elton's new BBC1 sitcom 'The Wright Way' has been axed by the corporation after it received a critical mauling on Twitter. Executive Shane Allen confirmed on Tuesday (July 9, 2013) that the show - set in a local council's health and safety department - would not be returning for a second series.
In a strange observation from a top BBC executive, Allen warned that the instant reaction and "crucifying" of new comedies on Twitter made it more difficult for programmes to bed in. Though it's certainly right to allow new shows to develop, it's a little rich for the BBC to be axing shows and blaming social media.
Allen, the former boss of Channel 4 comedy, said he had spoken to Ben Elton about The Wright Way, with the pair coming making a decision "in conjunction." According to The Guardian, he said: "Ben Elton was really bruised by the reception. He felt 'If people aren't loving this I am not going to put myself through it again'."Maybe 10, 15 years ago, you might have gone, 'what did people like about it, what are the characters that worked', but people are quite quick to judge and to crucify these days."
The BBC will have become initially concerned when former Queen guitarist Brian May said he actually liked the show, tweeting, "Watching Ben Elton's new Sitcom on iPlayer. the Wright Way. Very funny ! And the lovely @hannahjanefox!!!Cool !!"
One critic said: "I'm seriously questioning whether Ben Elton was conscious when he wrote this," while Michael Hogan offered: "Mere minutes until The Wright Way on BBC1. New Ben Elton sitcom that makes Amanda Holden's Big Top look like Seinfeld."
Elsewhere in the Great BBC Cull, Sue Perkins' sitcom Heading Out was dropped after getting a rough ride by critics and finishing its run with fewer than 1 million viewers.
Allen is reportedly keen to spearhead the BBC's comedy output with the return of Absolutely Fabulous.
Ben Elton's Comedy Stock Has Just About Reached Rock Bottom.