TELEVISION / The sitcom now cleared for take-off: Correction

Apologies to the memory of Wilfrid Brambell for re-christening him Alfred in this space yesterday

Obituary: Gerald Thomas

Gerald Thomas, film director: born Hull 10 December 1920; married (three daughters); died Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire 9 November 1993.

TELEVISION / BRIEFING: High on culture, low on laughs

It is not often that you hear Aristophanes' Lysistrata cited on a primetime comedy. And that is not the only respect in which CONJUGAL RITES (8pm ITV) is an unusual sitcom. For a start, it is based on a stage play (by Roger Hall). It is convincingly acted by comedy stalwarts Gwen Taylor (Duty Free, A Bit of a Do, Screaming) and Michael Williams (A Fine Romance, September Song). The first episode is played out by just two characters, frequently breaking into thought bubble monologues. And there is an eyebrow-raising amount of sexual discussion - not to mention activity - for a pre-watershed programme. Unfortunately, in every other way, Barry and Gen lapse into sitcom stereotypes. After 21 years of marriage, their suppertime conversation has dwindled to trading up the car (him) and re-decorating the bedroom (her). They have to think of Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Newman to pep up their love-making. And she is infuriated that he flushes the loo before he has finished urinating. ITV has made it a priority to try to match the standard of BBC1's sitcom output. But, on this evidence, it still has some catching up to do.

Sykes honoured

ERIC Sykes was given a Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to entertainment at the British Comedy Awards. Top TV Comedy Actor was David Jason; Top TV Comedy Actress was Stephanie Cole; Les Dawson was Top Variety Performer.
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea