Not Going Out any more

BBC axes primetime sitcom

The BBC has axed Lee Mack sitcom Not Going Out after three series.

The show, largely seen as an attempt to revive the traditional studio-based sitcom, regularly attracted audiences of three to four million.

But according to co-writer Andrew Collins, he said that was still not enough for the BBC.

Writing on his blog he said: ‘BBC1 have indeed cancelled the award-winning sitcom Not Going Out. This is very sad news, and something of a surprise, as we went out with our highest ever audience figure for the last show, Marriage, and critics seem to have been much kinder to the third series. Plus, we'd run in some new writers and I personally think it was a strong series.

‘Who understands TV controllers? Not me. It all comes down to numbers in the end, even though the BBC is a publicly funded broadcaster and thus not reliant on advertising revenue and thus not really in the ratings game to the degree where, like American broadcasters, it cancels shows that aren't performing to a set of made-up targets.

‘But that's what's happened: over three series, despite the ratings gradually going up, show by show, and series by series, it still hasn't rung the requisite bell.’

One more episode of the show – which is produced by Avalon Television and also stars Tim Vine, Sally Bretton and Miranda Hart – has yet to air, and the BBC may put it out as a Christmas special.

Collins said that ‘will be a bit like dancing on our grave’.

The show has won a Golden Rose for best sitcom and a Royal Television Society award. When series three was commissioned, the BBC’s controller of comedy Lucy Lumsden said the show was a ‘perfect home’ for Mack's ‘gag-drenched style’.

Published: 30 Mar 2009

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