I rarely watch normal tv these days, but I was watching the BBC news at 10 and kept on the channel to be met with an unexpected delight.
In honour of Ronnie Barker, the BBC are doing a annual comedy lecture in his honour. This first such lecture was given by Ben Elton and the subject matter was the sitcom. Specifically, the comedy sitcom, shot on multiple cameras in front of a live studio audience.
I was never a fan of Ben Elton personally, his anti Thatcher rants were just juvenile to me, but he gave a fascinating and mature lecture on the subject and I recommend it to all. It was fumy too.
Basically, he argued that sitcoms are a art form that must be continued, in spite of dwindling budgets by broadcasters and over the course of an an hour he gave an impassioned defence of them and why they must be continued.
The lecture featured many clips of sitcoms over the decades and I was intending to start a similar thread on this subject anyway, so what better way to start it off.
We've had masterpieces like Steptoe & Son, On The Buses, Porridge, Alf Garnet, Victor Meldrew, Hi de Hi etc, to the only real sitcom on the BBC today, Mrs Brown's Boys.
As Elton argued, whether you like Mrs Browns Boy's or not, it cannot be argued that no effort has been made in producing a show like that with the aim of trying to make people laugh. Elton went on to say how a whole industry is at risk if the sitcom dies from lighting people, to sound, camera and many others who produce these shows.
So, is Ben Elton right? Should sitcoms carry on and be restored to their once greatness, or should they be swept away for good?