Pasadena Area Screenwriting Group Message Board › British sitcoms

British sitcoms

"X"
X-Man
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 10
Hi, Group, I'm hoping some of you may be able to answer a question about Britcoms (Claire, Matt, this means you... but feel free to weigh in, everyone).

A passing anecdote related by Deborah Pratt ("Quantum Leap") led to a later discussion as to why some Britcoms seem to successfully translate here (The Office, Till Death Do Us Part) while others don't (Coupling, One Foot in the Grave). That's the context. Here's the question: What is the "why" of the Britcom? (The "why" of the American sitcom = sell TV ads). TIA.

Claire N.
user 6213799
Group Organizer
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 61
I'm not really a sitcom viewer, and I can't bear the UK version of The Office, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask ;-)

Not helpful in terms of your question, but in terms of 'Britcoms' I would recommend viewing "Spaced" season 1 and "Blackadder" seasons 2-4... neither of which I would want to see remade in _any_ form.
"X"
X-Man
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 11
Funny you'd mention "Blackadder," as I was thinking of pitching that. But you're right, it'd be well nigh impossible to strip syndicate.

Since first posting about this, I've learned that there are indeed some commercial TV stations in the UK that air Britcoms, so would it be correct to say that the American business model is taking root over there?

And that still leaves me blank about the BBC Britcoms. What, did the Ministry of Culture or whatever just ring the BBC one day and say, "We have all this tax revenue we don't know what to do with, so why don't you take it and produce "Blackadder" and "Fawlty Towers" so our citizens can learn their history and the rest of the world can see the superiority of the British way of life?"
"X"
X-Man
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 12
For anyone still interested, the BBC has finally replied to my request for information. The relevant paragraph is pasted below:

" As the BBC is a public corporation, financed by the licence fee, its income must be used for broadcasting or closely associated purposes. We therefore need to place sensible limits on the type and quantity of information we can provide as answers to the enquiries we receive.

If we were to oblige any one of the huge number of requests similar to yours that we receive each week, it would set a precedent which we wouldn’t be able to maintain. Unfortunately, for this reason, we must turn down such requests and we’re regrettably unable to help you on this occasion."
Claire N.
user 6213799
Group Organizer
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 62
Hi X,
I don't quite understand your question, I guess - specifically, why you think sitcoms would be any different to any other genre of show? In the US, *all* shows - drama and comedy - are surely supported by either paying customers (for pay cable channels) or by ad revenue, product placement, etc. (for 'free' channels), and similarly this is true in the UK for all commercial channels. The BBC is only different in that it is funded by the government (actually by the public, via the television license fee) to make programs, but they still make programs in *all* genres - from dramas to quiz shows to gardening shows to current affairs shows to sitcoms, etc. - and they don't have the monopoly on sitcoms, nor do they avoid making them.
Hopefully that clears things up?
Claire.
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