My Family star Zoe Wanamaker says the BBC axed the sitcom because it was ‘too middle class’.
The actress says that when executives pulled the plug on the show after 11 years and 121 episodes, they told her they were seeking more working-class ideas.
But she added that the corporation did itself no favours by making such pronouncements about what sort of shows it wanted – since its next big hit was the very middle-class Miranda.
‘I was angry at how they handled it, really more than anything,’ she said on BBC Four’s Mark Lawson Talks To...
‘All I got told was that the BBC didn’t want to have any more middle-class sitcoms, which was kind of shooting yourself in the foot really, as a statement, because along comes Miranda Hart, who is the most wonderful ... and she is not exactly working-class.’
When BBC One controller Danny Cohen announced the end of My Family last year, he said that the long-running story had run its course. ‘Now that all the Harper children have fled the nest we feel it’s time to make room for new comedies,’ he said.
It was cancelled four years after Wanamaker herself revealed that she had grown to dislike the sitcom, complaining about the conveyor-belt mentality of the production.
In 2008, BBC comedy commissioner Lucy Lumsden – who is now at Sky – said the corporation was looking to expand the appeal of its shows, saying: ‘The white middle-class metropolitan is well-covered, we need more diversity.’
Now its biggest sitcoms are the middle-class Miranda and Outnumbered; the working class Mrs Brown’s Boys and Not Going Out, with working-class Lee Mack in a decidedly middle-class metropolitan setting.