Behind the Britcom premieres on PBS


Zero hour is here…the PBS premiere of Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen. I know we’ve been talking about this for awhile, tempting you with some of the early interview footage from the production shoots over the past couple of years. As KERA airs the 2-hour program tonight at 9:00pm, many PBS stations around the U.S. will also premiere the program this weekend during the March fundraising campaigns. Wherever you are, check local listings to find the broadcast time on your local PBS station.

Over the course of the two-hours, you’ll not only hear about the differences between the British and American way of writing television comedy, but also get an ‘inside baseball’ look at the writing styles of some of your favorite Britcom writers such as Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley), Bob Larbey (Good Neighbors, As Time Goes By), Jeremy Lloyd (Are You Being Served, ‘Allo ‘Allo), Carla Lane (Butterflies), Roy Clarke (Open All Hours, Keeping Up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine) and Steven Moffat (Coupling, Doctor Who). Aside from getting insights as to the actor / writer relationship, viewers will also learn about the varying stages of each writer’s involvement during the week of production and hear from the actors who finally get a chance to publicly pay tribute to some of the best comedy writers in the history of British television.

Couple of priceless moments to tune in for. Learn about how Roy Clarke found the early inspiration to be the only writer that Last of the Summer Wine ever had (for the record, that’s 37 years, 31 seasons and 295 episodes). Fans of Mulberry who have been frustrated for 18 years that there was no logical conclusion to the series will definitely want to tune in as writer, Bob Larbey, finally gets a chance to reveal just how he would have ended the series. We also talk with Karl Howman, who played Mulberry, about what that final ending would been had the series not been abruptly ended after two seasons by a BBC commissioner that simply just didn’t care for the show.

Wherever you are, I sincerely hope you enjoy it and, ultimately, support the PBS station that not only broadcasts the special, but that brings you your weekly dose of British comedy. Would love to know what you think of it if you get a chance to see.

  • jt

    Congrats on a great show, Bill! I have been waiting to see this as long as anyone, and it was definitely worth the wait. I was so happy Bob Larbey participated, as well as Judi, Geoffrey, Phillip, Moira, and Jenny. Great idea to have Phillip and Moira host it, too.

    It was particularly good to hear from Bob Larbey, and it is always a treat to hear from Richard Briers and Penny Keith. What a great track record they all have made over the years. I never get tired of watching these shows.

    It was nice to see Karl Howman, too. Perhaps somehow Bob and the gang can get a special Mulberry written and produced that will indeed tie up all of the loose ends on the screen. The only disappointment will be that our dear John Esmonde will not be able to contribute his wit to the script. Like so many others, I would love to see Geraldine McEwen, Tony Selby, Mary Healey, and the rest once again. It would have to be at least an hour long, yes? Mulberry is and always will be a very favourite program for me.

    Now, Bill, you do realize that we are all waiting for Behind the Britcoms II, do you not?! We all have to hear from Peter Tilbury, John Cleese, Connie Boothe, Michael Palin, and quite a few others. We will be waiting. : )

    jt

  • Lisa C

    Great!–but not enough time with the writers!

  • Cora

    Loved the show. It was wonderful to learn how “Mulberry” would have finished. Thanks so much for bringing this to our shores.

  • Beth

    I, too, was so happy to see how “Mulberry” would have ended. Though short lived, Mulberry was one of my favorite Brit Coms. It always made me laugh and cry. To say I was disappointed when it ended is an understatement. “As Time Goes By” was my other top favorite. I would love to see a “…..from Script to Screen II” and see more about the writers and actors of all of the great Brit Coms.

    • Thanks, Beth. Right there with you re: Mulberry. Good idea about a S2S II. Can’t be sure, but we probably have enough material already shot for another one. Stay tuned….