Dear BBC Three...

Jonjo Rowlands, 20, complains about its comedy output

I’ve done it. I have done something that I never thought I’d do in a million years, a pastime usually reserved for vile, Daily Mail reading, brainless idiots. Yes: I’ve sent a complaint to the BBC.

Now I wasn’t having a moan because I was daft enough to be offended by something, and not because somebody had a little swear. Instead I wanted to confront them about their comedies aimed at the ‘young adult’ market and how they consistently get it wrong, time and time again.

Here is my complaint in full:

I am writing to express my genuine concern with the overall quality of the vast majority of the 'cutting edge' comedy debuting mainly on BBC Three of late.

My complaint is nothing to do with being offended or distaste with any specific joke. Nor is it anything to do with the quality of the production which is usually excellent, after all this is the BBC.

The first piece of comedy I want to talk about is your sitcom Coming of Age, which is easily the most crass, childish piece of writing I've ever seen on the BBC. Pure, unadulterated garbage.

It is aimed I presume roughly at an 18-24 year old demographic but I would argue that it would appeal only to the simplest of 14 year old brains. At 20 I believe I am part of the target audience for this particular show - to be frank I'm offended that you think I'm so utterly retarded. To outline how bad it really is here is a typical set-piece from the show:

Boy: I haven't done it [my homework].

Teacher: Why not?

Boy: Can't write (Shows bandaged arm).

Teacher: How did you do that?

Boy: Wanking.


Now obviously I understand that every now and then a weak sitcom slips through the quality control net and finds its way onto TV. But when I see that nine out of 10 new comedy shows are in a similar vein to the above, it all gets rather frustrating.

Tonight I watched the pilot episode of Inn Mates'and found myself exasperated further, which led me to write this.

Obviously comedy is highly subjective and of course you can't please everyone. But I think it's fair to say that there is far too much dumbing down in comedy for the young adult audience.

BBC Three should be a launching pad for exciting, new and intelligent comedy talent. Sod Russell Howard's Good News - where is Mark Watson's show or Josie Long's? These people have comedy with a point to it and there are hundreds who do the same. Please give us something with more substance than Coming of Age.

Tip: don't commission a new comedy if there's a sincere, non-ironic punchline consisting of the word 'boobies'.

Published: 10 Aug 2010

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