Bye, Bye, Brighton….Hello, Behind the Britcoms on PBS

With 100’s of hours of screening of the best of the best on television anywhere, bar none, we say farewell to Brighton and the 2011 BBC Showcase with pages and pages of notes on what, hopefully, will be coming your way in the United States in the not too distant future. As you may remember from reports from Showcase in 2010, much of what you are seeing this year on public television stations nationwide were screened during last years Showcase. Series like Old Guys, MI5, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Robin Hood and Hustle were screened last year, targeted for acquisition and broadcast this past year. Hopefully, Showcase 2011 is no different as there was a wealth of comedy, drama, documentary, science and natural history programs from the past, present and future BBC catalog that will be reporting on over the next several months as things progress.

As we land today from the UK, we turn our efforts to public television stations nationwide and the broadcast of Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen, hosted by Moira Brooker (Judy, As Time Goes By and Philip Bretherton (Alistair, As Time Goes By). Many of you have seen several clips of interviews we did over the last couple of years for this 90-minute program that pays tribute to the writers of many of your favorite British comedy series over the years. You’ll hear from writers Bob Larbey (Good Neighbors, As Time Goes By), Roy Clarke (Open All Hours, Keeping Up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine), Jeremy Lloyd (Are You Being Served?, ‘Allo ‘Allo), Carla Lane (Butterflies), Steven Moffat (Coupling) and Richard Curtis (Mr. Bean, Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley). You’ll also hear from the actors who said these brilliantly written lines over the years such as Dame Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Moira Brooker, Philip Bretherton and Jenny Funnell from As Time Goes By, Richard Briers and Penelope Keith from Good Neighbors, Clive Swift and Josephine Tewson from Keeping Up Appearances, Dawn French, Trevor Peacock and James Fleet from Vicar of Dibley and from Are You Being Served?, Frank Thornton and Trevor Bannister.

We’ll also hear from the producing side of the equation with comments and thoughts from the likes of John Howard Davies (Good Neighbors, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers), Harold Snoad (Keeping Up Appearances) and Gareth Gwenlan (Waiting for God, To the Manor Born), etc.

More tomorrow, but the program will premiere on a number of PBS stations nationwide beginning Saturday, 5 March with KERA Channel 13 in North Texas premiering it on Saturday night (tomorrow) at 9:00pm.  Taking myself out of the equation as this is a program that I have worked on for almost two years, it’s a really well-done program that British comedy fans nationwide will enjoy. If you have the opportunity to see the program when broadcast and can support the PBS station that broadcasts it, remember that individual station supporters are the single-largest contributor to keeping British comedies on the air. There’s no corporate support, not foundation funding, just individual British comedy fans nationwide. It’s now more important that ever that if you see a program that you enjoy, take a moment and support with a financial contribution. We don’t say it enough. Thank you for supporting British comedy on public television stations.

With your financial support, you are also helping to keep things like tellyspotting going for the past the last 18 months. Hope you are enjoying and will not hesitate to let me know what you like and don’t like about it. What would you like to see in the coming months?

Don’t forget – support Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen and british comedies nationwide on public television stations.


In: Comedy

  • Chris Coker

    Looking forward to Behind the Britcom. Question: Any chance of KERA broadcasting the old Wodehouse Playhouse? That was one of the first Brit shows I recall seeing on KERA back in the early 1970s (besides Python).

  • Kid McClain

    When were the cast member interviews actualy done, 2010, 2011?

    • All the interviews were conducted in early, mid and late 2010 ending with the Moira and Philip host segments being shot at the BBC studios on Halloween 2010, actually. Hope you were able to see and enjoy.

  • Kid McClain

    I did see the broadcast on Maryland Public Television, twice this March, and purchased the DVD for $75 donation…Very nice to see all…K

    • Very cool. Thanks for the support of the show and to Maryland Public Television. The DVD extra of the history of the BBC is really interesting. Let me know what you think.

  • Dear Bill,
    You, PBS and KERA really hit this one out of the park. I’ve always thought that the main difference in the quality of British and American TV was the difference in the writing. One or two people at the BBC will put everything they have into writing a piece of work, as compared to a group of American staff writers who may or may not even all work together on each episode!

    • Thanks, Rodney. Was a great experience getting to spend time with these writers that we’ve known and loved their work for years. To think you have a guy like Roy Clarke that was the sole writer on Last of the Summer Wine for 38 years and then also wrote Keeping Up Appearances and Open All Hours at the same time. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Ro Dalessandor

    Did not have a chance to donate and get a copy of “Behind the Britcom Script to Screen” can I donate now and receive a copy of this DVD, it believe it was $75 donation at the time.

    • @Ro….you definitely can still contribute and get a copy of the Britcom writer’s special. I will send you a separate e-mail with information. Thanks for watching and for the financial support and, for reading Tellyspotting.