Welcome readers, again this wasn’t going to be today’s intended topic but here we are. It seemed appropriate to return with a follow up to the last blogging instalment.
Last time I addressed those rumours that Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em could be returning as part of the BBC’s ‘Landmark Sitcom Season’ which is due to take pace next year. This was something I was very excited about. Now as the rumour net widens, that excitement appears to be fizzling out quicker than the spark in the fireworks you bought from Del Boy for Bonfire night.
This week we have been teased with many a tale of what Auntie is planning for this ‘landmark season,’ which is set to celebrate what historically the BBC has done best, situation comedy.
Over this period, one has read various stories of what we could be expecting. Some I have read with lukewarm reactions and the others, well let’s just say were greeted with a coldness not too dissimilar to how Patsy Stone describes Saffron Monsoon.
Let’s start with the lukewarm receptions for obvious reasons; Porridge. I read on twitter, via the radio times, that there is a plan to bring it back with Fletcher’s grandson doing time for computer hacking. Now a lot of people took to social media to ask the question, why fix something that isn’t broken? I do agree with this philosophy but this idea isn’t all that bad. It is basically Porridge for a new generation and we are bound to learn what happened to Norman Stanley Fletcher. My initial thought to this potential spin off was why when we have the original? But as the week progressed I saw this as one of the better ideas, so long as they keep it fresh which is possible as it is bound to be updated for a modern day audience.
As the week went on the rumours got more and more disappointing, those of you who have read a few of my blogs or know me, will know that The Good Life holds a very special place in my heart and Keeping Up Appearances is another sitcom I am rather partial too. So when I saw these two little gems fall into the revival category I should have been as excited as when I read the Some Mothers rumours, but I wasn’t. While the idea of Hyacinth the prequel (as reported by the Telegraph) isn’t too bad, for me part of the beauty of Keeping Up Appearances was imagine what Hyacinth was like growing up and how she met Richard. I also get worried at the thought of anyone other than Patricia Rutledge playing her (memories of the stage version leap to the front of my mind).
Nothing has been said about the plans for The Good Life but with Penelope Keith and Felicity Kendal being the only ones with us I doubt they can do anything with it and I am not sure I would want them to. The Good Life for me is a little box of perfection, (apart from the odd continuity error in series two) it has no flaws that I can see. Bringing it back for half an hour, with Margo and Barbra sat on a sofa, say reminiscing about the good old days doesn’t cut it. Neither does a complete reboot, bringing it back with a new cast. As Penelope Keith has said, it probably wouldn’t work today, despite the show holding the test of time. And there is no way I am standing for anyone other than Penelope Keith playing the greatest fictional character to have ever existed.
Like The Good Life and Keeping up Appearances, the other suggested shows to feature in this season all miss one key ingredient. Unfortunately, many of the stars which helped make these programmes the successes they originally were are no longer with us. How can you bring back Up Pompeii without Frankie Howerd? And Are You Being Served is missing a whole ray of its colourful characters that made the show stick in so many people’s minds.
While I love the idea of the occasional sitcom prequel I don’t think this is the best way to celebrate some of the best shows, which are currently tucked away in the BBC vaults, crying out to be shown again. I don’t shy away from the fact I don’t think the BBC makes sitcoms as they used to- for me the magic and the sparkle is no longer there and like we keep saying every time there is a prospect of a revival the magic of the original show is always in danger second time around.
So, for me the best way to celebrate these wonderful shows is to simply showcase them in all their original glory and let new audiences and generations discover them. And perhaps after that, if the BBC wishes throw in the odd making of drama, like what is speculated around Dad’s Army, (and hey, I am even game for a decently put together documentary all about the great British sitcom as defined by the BBC) then I will gladly accept that.
Though I will say this, I am still holding out a little flicker of hope for that Some Mothers does come back, out of all the rumours this is the only one which still has both its stars with us and in fine form, and if you ask me it has the most scope for a fresh stance compared with the other offering from the BBC. Personally, what could be a better way than to celebrate my favourite genre and shows than with the one which brought me to the Great British sitcom in the first place?