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.