Ben Elton delivered the first ever Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture this week (broadcast on TV tonight) and used the platform to critique the effect of social media on developing new sitcoms.
Ben Elton has argued in his speech for the inaugural Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture that sitcoms are dying out because of social media “snobbery”.
The 58 year old comedian and author, behind such successes as ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘Blackadder’, warned the audience that “we are in danger of losing something of real value in our culture”, pointing to the evolution of sitcoms now regarded as British television classics such as ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Only Fools & Horses’.
The broadcast of Elton’s lecture will be going out at 10:35pm this evening on the BBC, and he believes that social media is having a poisonous effect on the high turnover and cancellation rate of new sitcoms, which are being axed before they’ve gotten a chance to get going.
Continue reading: Ben Elton Claims Social Media Is Killing Sitcoms
Ade Edmonson & Ben Elton at the World Premiere of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley's new film 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' held at the Odeon Leicester Square. London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 29th June 2016
Adrian Edmondson , Ben Elton - The World Premiere of 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' held at the Odeon Leicester Square - Arrivals at Odeon Leicester Square - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 29th June 2016
Ben Elton - 'Guys and Dolls' press night at Savoy Theatre at Savoy Theatre - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 6th January 2016
The classic BBC comedy ended its run in 1989.
Sir Tony Robinson has said he thinks a new series of classic BBC comedy ‘Blackadder’ is on the cards, but only if they can meant the price of Hugh Laurie. Laurie was one of the stars of the British sitcom in the 1980's but he has since gone on to find success across the pond in Fox drama ‘House', raising his price tag.
Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson in ‘Blackadder’ series three.
Speaking to The Sun, 69 year old Robinson said, “I do think a new series of 'Blackadder' is on the cards. I have spoken to virtually all the cast about this now. The only problem is Hugh’s fee. He’s a huge star now – or so he’d like to think.”
Continue reading: Tony Robinson Says He Thinks A New 'Blackadder' Series Is On The Cards
The late comedian's funeral took place yesterday.
Rik Mayall was laid to rest in a rose-festooned wicker coffin in a beautiful English churchyard yesterday (19 June). The late comedian collapsed and died aged 56 after his morning run on Monday 9 June, owing to what was later found to be a heart attack.
Adrian Edmondson [L] Was A Pallbearer At His Friend Rik Mayall's [R] Funeral.
The comedian and former star of The Young Ones passed away at his home in Barnes, South West London, but was buried St George's Church in the village of Dittisham, Devon. The sun was shining and guests were seen smiling as they exchanged fond memories of the profanity-loving comic.
Continue reading: Farewell Rik Mayall: Comic Laid To Rest By Family And Friends In Devon
The Ben Elton comedy was savaged on Twitter.
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."
Continue reading: How Twitter Got Ben Elton's 'The Wright Way' Axed From BBC1
The BBC are ringing the changes with their comedy programming
A slew of negative reviews and a rather embarrassing mauling on Twitter have lead The BBC to drop Ben Elton’s The Wright Way. The show, Elton's first BBC1 sitcom since Blessed in 2005, will not be returning for a second series, as is the case with Sue Perkins’s Heading Out.
Ben Elton's latest show didn't last long
"He set out to write an old-fashioned mainstream comedy and he did exactly that," the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen told the Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Tuesday, according to The Guardian. "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.”
Continue reading: Ben Elton's The Wright Way Goes The Wrong Way - Show Cancelled
The BBC decided Ben Elton's sitcom 'The Wright Way' would not be returning after universal panning by critics.
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 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).
Continue reading: BBC Cancels Ben Elton's Sitcom 'The Wright Way'
A big miss for Ben Elton's new BBC sitcom The Wright Way, which had Twitter commentators bilious with contempt
31 brief years have passed since Ben Elton found on-screen writing success with the anti-establishment humour of The Young Ones, a show that went on to become a classic in British comedy. There have been highs and lows for Elton since then but last night, his reputation took a serious nosedive when his latest sitcom The Wright Way aired for the first time on BBC2.
The debut episode received something of a mauling on Twitter, with viewers and critics alike seemingly at pains to compete for the heights of vicious commentary within their 140 character limit. One Scottish viewer, Dam Jef, commenting today, posted “The Wright Way" is on BBC Scotland tonight, one night after England. I suppose we got the poll tax first so that about evens things up.” @sisson_jonathon was even more cruel, stating “Out of curiosity, watched Ben Elton's 'The Wright Way' on iPlayer. Got exactly 59 seconds into it. Never mind Abu Qatada, lets deport Elton.” @CREATE_London took issue with the content, writing “New BBC sitcom The Wright Way. Cliche ridden, vaguely racist and with a touch of homophobia. Well done Ben Elton! #thewrightway.”
Positive comments about the show eluded discovery; it seems that Ben Elton’s rep could take some time to recover from the bashing that last night’s show took. If you’re curious as to just how bad the script got on last night’s show, a sample of the ‘humour’ on display includes a joke about women spending too long in the bathroom. That in itself should be an indicator of how bad it is, but Elton hasn’t even gone for a funny joke about women spending too long in the bathroom. Instead, he went for this: “What is the point of being a lesbian if you continue to act like a normal woman?" Yep. He went there. The lightbulb was removed from that dark corner of 1970s comedy for a reason, Mr. Elton. Close the door behind you when you leave, please.
Continue reading: A Big Thumbs Down On Twitter For Ben Elton's The Wright Way
Popular British comic character Blackadder looks like he could have one more role up his sleeve, after a 'lost Christmas special' was re-discovered by scriptwriter Richard Curtis. Played by the actor Rowan Atkinson, Blackadder had entertained British television audiences between 1983 and 1989 in a series of historical roles that saw him appear by series as the weedy son of King Richard IV, an Elizabethan-era Lord, butler to the Prince of Wales in the late 18th century and finally as a captain in the trenches of World War I.
This newly found script though, originally unfinished in 1988 by Curtis and Ben Elton, sees Blackadder play the Bethlehem inn keeper in the story of the nativity, with his trusty assistant Baldrick once again by his side. The script has become public knowledge thanks to a book written by Jem Roberts called The True History Of Blackadder. Roberts was given the script by Curtis whilst constructing the piece, and she told the Radio Times "My jaw dropped when I saw I was holding a lost Blackadder script. He [Curtis] wrote on the script that one of the reasons it didn't get used was because it was a strange cross between Fawlty Towers and Life of Brian."
She added "He didn't think he was going to make it compare to either of them. That's his reason for it never getting any further than it did." With Blackadder still retaining a large cult popularity, in spite of the last televised special being aired in 1999, we wonder whether there might be room for one final, festive hurrah.