BBC Cancels Ben Elton's Sitcom 'The Wright Way'

The BBC has dropped Ben Elton's sitcom The Wright Way. The sitcom ended in May 2013 and the BBC announced yesterday (Wednesday 10th July) that it would not be renewing the comedy for a second series.

Ben Elton
Ben Elton at the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards. 

Independent critic Tom Sutcliffe described the sitcom as "groan-inducing". The sitcom was set around a health and safety department of a local council in which social stereotypes were actively encouraged but seemed cliché and "old fashioned" (according to Daily Mail reviewer Christopher Stevens).

Ben Elton is one of Britain's most famous comic writers with credits including Blackadder, The Young Ones and a number of highly successful books. Elton appears to have had a momentary lapse in judgement by creating a show so unpopular. He is according to BBC Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen "bruised" by the criticism he received.

David Haig
David Haig, pictured at 2012 Olivier Awards, starred in The Wright Way.

Allen said Elton had "set out to write an old-fashioned, mainstream comedy and he did exactly that. It didn't catch fire with the audience but it wasn't what you'd call a flop". According to Allen, it was a joint decision between Elton and the BBC; it does seem to be because of the heavy criticism and lack of public interest. The show reached 3.5 million viewers: a small number considering The Wright Way was broadcast on Radio One at peak time.

The Wright Way starred David Haig, Mina Anwar, Luke Gell and Toby Longworth.

The Wright Way has followed in the footsteps of many recent sitcoms including Sue Perkins' Heading Out and Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's Vicious. Shane pointed out how disheartening the failure of such shows is to many comic actors.

Sue Perkins
Sue Perkins' sitcom Heading Out was also cancelled. She was photographed here at The Stonewall Awards, V&A, London in 2009. 


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Tags: Ben Elton - David Haig - Derek Jacobi - Ian McKellen


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