BBC disdain for comedy

Parting shot from exec Perkins

The BBC's departing head of comedy has accused the corporation of treating sitcoms like 'lowbrow fodder'.

Geoffrey Perkins cites an annual report which talked about achievements 'from high-value costume drama right the way down to sitcom'.

"Unfortunately, the term 'sitcom' implies a great disdain; people say it with a curl of their lips," he said.

However, the search for an enduringly popular sitcom remains the Holy Grail of broadcasting, and Perkins believes that one place to look is "right on the margins of taste".

"A lot of the really interesting things happen there, and audiences are, I suspect, more willing to take a bit more of a risk," he said. "They will accept slightly more than we've given them."

Perkins, 48, is leaving the BBC for independent production house Tiger Aspect because he's fed up of spending too much time on budgets and not enough on comedy.

"I've spent a lot of my time arguing about budgets and the mechanical bits of making shows," he said. "There are people who are inspired by that, but I'm not one of them. I'm much happier being closer to programmes."

Perkins's comments come in an interview with the Independent, in which he also discusses his six-year record with the corporation, which has included such hits as The Royle Family and The Fast Show.

He also believes BBC2's ailing Johnny Vaughan sitcom Orribe has potential

"If you go back over most of the big successful shows, they had a torrid birth," he said, citing Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses.

"At the moment it's got too many disparate elements in there," he said. "But that's not a bad thing: you can hone a show down and work out what you like."

Published: 23 Oct 2001

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