BBC axes 'bruised' Ben Elton's TV flop 'The Wright Way'
BBC2 sitcom Heading Out has also been dropped
Ben Elton’s BBC1 sitcom The Wright Way, which received a brutal critical mauling, has been axed after the writer said he felt “bruised” by the response.
The series, starring David Haig, set in a local council’s health and safety department, was criticised for its reliance on dated gags and “lazy gender stereotypes”.
The show, watched by fewer than two million viewers, was called the “worst TV sitcom ever” by one critic.
Shane Allen, the BBC's controller, comedy commissioning, said the comedy, Elton’s first for the corporation since 2005, would not be returning.
Allen told the Broadcasting Press Guild: “He set out to write an old-fashioned mainstream comedy and he did exactly that. Ben Elton was really bruised by the reception. He felt ‘If people aren't loving this I am not going to put myself through it again’.”
He added: “We are not going to bring back The Wright Way but I’d give him (Elton) another chance on something else if it felt right and was compelling.”
Allen, responsible for guiding the series to air, added: “People are quite quick to judge and to crucify these days.” He said the show was a “good effort at trying to do something quite mainstream and slightly old-fashioned, but deliberately so.”
Allen, who joined the BBC from Channel 4 six months ago, added that Sue Perkins’s BBC2 sitcom Heading Out had also been dropped.
The executive warned that top writers were being put off creating mainstream prime-time comedies because of the immediate vitriolic reaction from social media that a new series can receive.
“They see what happened to The Wright Way or Vicious (ITV comedy about gay flatmates starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi). They see that things can get slaughtered quite quickly. Comedy provokes massive reactions.”
Allen also promised another return for longstanding BBC favourite, Absolutely Fabulous.
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Strictly Come Dancing results: Steve Backshall sent home after dance off with Sunetra Sarker
Tom DeLonge compares streaming music to killing elephants
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked clip of Lana Del Rey rape video
Band Aid 30: 'Do They Know It's Christmas' storms to number one
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'