The greatness of Outnumbered comes to the U.S.


With lots of new British series coming to the U.S. via public television in early 2011, I decided to mention one that I’ve tracked for awhile and really can’t wait for. Partly because it’s a brilliant series, but mainly because of a far-fetched article that surfaced yesterday about the BBC hit series, Outnumbered, alluding to the fact that Ben Elton (Blackadder, Thin Blue Line, Mr. Bean) almost killed the series before it was produced.

What initially caught my eye turned out to be a a pretty thin thread that because Ben Elton created a failed one-season only series back in 2005 called Blessed that starred Ardal O’Hanlon about a couple with a new baby, that he somehow played a role in the great Outnumbered almost not being commissioned. As the story goes, because Blessed was a failure, the BBC didn’t want to do another show with children because, as the old adage goes, never work with children or animals.

As you will immediately see, Outnumbered is genius. I say genius, brilliant, or whatever word you’d like to use to describe it after seeing the clip because is it just that. Aside from the concept of focusing on the daily roller coaster life with small children, the idea that much of the children’s parts are improvisation and not scripted is priceless. According to the producers, there were scripts, but the children were not given any lines to learn, only a verbal outline of the situation which allowed them to put dialogue into their own words.

Much like everyone knows or has a Hyacinth Bucket in their family, I’m guessing this will strike a cord with parents everywhere. Especially, the episode set in an airport during an 8-hour flight delay. Look for it on a number of public television stations beginning in January 2011. FYI, if you’re in North Texas, KERA will air Saturdays at 11pm (repeated Sundays at 11:30p) beginning January 8, 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQak6ng0RXQ&feature=related