Celebrating 50 years of comedy

Fawlty Towers started its run on BBC2
Fawlty Towers started its run on BBC2

Comedy programmes are very difficult programmes to make. What gives enjoyment to one person can so easily give offence to another.

This Saturday night from nine o’clock BBC2 will be devoting two hours to a documentary celebrating fifty years of comedy on that channel.

It will feature famous TV personalities such as The Goodies, Ricky Gervais, Catherine Tate, and Reeves and Mortimer, talking about their shows. This programme will include the whole spectrum of TV comedy covering BBC2’s 50 year history.

Some very famous shows such as Fawlty Towers - arguable one of the most famous of all BBC sitcoms - begun their televisual lives on BBC2 before being transferred to BBC1.

In its time BBC2 also screened some classic American comedy shows including M.A.S.H., Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and My World and Welcome To It. However it has to be said, that some of the potential audience for this programme, who might enjoy seeing clips from the early days of BBC2, could be put off by the inclusion of some of BBC2’s more recent productions.

Programmes like The Thick of It and Episodes, have extreme swearing and explicit situations in them, which will shock some viewers.

Thus it is not clear who this retrospective is aimed at, as parts of it are likely to offend some people who might otherwise enjoy watching clips of comedies such as The Likely Lads.

Personally I think it would have been better if the BBC had scheduled a series of shorter documentaries focusing on one decade at a time. On Sunday at nine o’clock, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse have a special one hour programme, which will include their own versions of fifty shows.

Ian K