Simpsons on the slide

...says one of its own stars

One of the stars of The Simpsons has complained that the show is on the slide.

Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Montgomery Burns, Ned Flanders and others said: "I rate the last three seasons as among the worst.”

His public comments, in an interview with Teletext, echo the feelings of fans who complain that the show, now in its 15th year, has gone off the boil.

But they are unlikely to win him any friends with the show’s executives.

Shearer also complained that the atmosphere on set has soured recently following a well-publicised pay battle between the stars and producers.

"I'd rather not be there right now,” he said. “Fortunately, I'm doing a lot of other things."

He claimed stories that the cast had gone on strike over the dispute were untrue, possibly planted in the trade press by sources at the Fox Studios, adding: “From there, things got nastier.”

Shearer was speaking to Teletext’s Total Entertainment section to promote the DVD release of the show’s fourth series this week.

He said: “Season 4 looks very good to me now” compared to the new shows, admitting that he rarely watches old episodes because: "It makes me sad."

When asked where the show could go next, he said: "Up?"

The actor was unable to shed any light on The Simpsons’ forthcoming gay storyline, or stories that a movie version is in the pipeline.

Shearer – still best known for This Is Spinal Tap - added that he loved British and Irish comedy, saying: "I'm a huge Office fan. I was thrilled last November to meet Ricky Gervais while I was in London.

"I'm also a major Alan Partridge fan, and my wife has gotten me into Father Ted. I've been watching French and Saunders since they were doing fringe theatre in London and I'm still a big fan of theirs."

 

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Published: 4 Aug 2004

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