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Long sitcom series

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:08 pm
by Brock
Series 5 of 'Allo 'Allo was 26 episodes long, with a view to syndication in the US (though this never happened). Has any other series of a British sitcom even approached this length?

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:33 pm
by ray lomas
Doctor At Large ran for just one series of 29 episodes. Series 1 of its successor, Doctor In Charge, ran to 27.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:30 pm
by JezR
All of The Army Game series were long, up to 39 episodes.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:04 pm
by Billy Smart
ray lomas wrote:Doctor At Large ran for just one series of 29 episodes. Series 1 of its successor, Doctor In Charge, ran to 27.
LWT made several sitcoms in bulk at this time. Series 4 of Please Sir! ran for 21 episodes, as did series 1 of The Fenn Street Gang (the second series of which ran for 18).

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:45 am
by Simon Coward
27 episodes in the second series of Granada's Mess Mates and 26 in the contemporary ABC sitcom Our House. Both long runs occasioned by the Equity strike, and well before the end each featured the regular actors (who were contracted pre-strike) and no-one else.

The first series of Bootsie and Snudge ran for 40 (or possibly 39) episodes, while the second and third were 29 episodes each.

Granada again and My Wife's Sister ran for 35 episodes (or possibly 36, one looks to have been pre-empted in one ITV area but I don't know if that affected the network).

The Jack Hylton for Associated-Rediffusion series Tell it to the Marines, ran for 30 editions.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:23 pm
by Brock
The answer to my original question is undoubtedly "yes" then! I think I was struck by series 5 of 'Allo 'Allo because it was so unusual for its time (late 80s), but the practice seems to have been more common in the 60s and early 70s. Were there specific reasons for abandoning it?

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:39 pm
by Billy Smart
Brock wrote:the practice seems to have been more common in the 60s and early 70s. Were there specific reasons for abandoning it?
The obvious answer would be that all of the earlier examples would have been written by teams of writers, rather than the more common individual authorship (often writing in pairs) generally associated with the sitcom. It might also have got harder to procure longer contracts for star comedy actors.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:08 pm
by Mark
It's the reason why other writers were brought into the previously mentioned series 4 of "Please Sir!" and series 1 of "The Fenn Street Gang", because of the sheer workload of handling 42 episodes to write.

I'm struggling to remember why, but I'm sure series 1 of "Doctor In Charge" was not meant to be so long, and the production team were asked to provide more episodes at short notice.

Some of the shorter runs of comedies ( 13 or so) were often either two series stuck together, or one block split into two runs.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:00 pm
by Simon Coward
Mark wrote:I'm struggling to remember why, but I'm sure series 1 of "Doctor In Charge" was not meant to be so long, and the production team were asked to provide more episodes at short notice.
It was being trailed as 27 episodes in the trade press before the series had started broadcasting but that still could mean it was late in relative terms.

Re: Long sitcom series

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:02 pm
by Mark
Simon Coward wrote:
Mark wrote:I'm struggling to remember why, but I'm sure series 1 of "Doctor In Charge" was not meant to be so long, and the production team were asked to provide more episodes at short notice.
It was being trailed as 27 episodes in the trade press before the series had started broadcasting but that still could mean it was late in relative terms.
It was Humphrey Barclay in an interview, he said that in 72, LWT had asked for 13 more episodes ( 'to be written, rehearsed and filmed in four weeks', which sounds unlikely to say the least) and tacked on at the end of the series, which meant bringing in some other writers such as Phil Redmond.

Now, Redmond's three episodes were in series 2 in late 73, I'm not sure when series 2 was made,( which had a different set of titles) possibly as part of the same block as series 1, Richard O' Sullivan was in it, of course, but as he had started work on "Man About The House" for Thames around June 73, he may have already completed his work on "Doctor In Charge".

However, series 2 was 16 episodes, perhaps he was misremembering, then again, much as I love the "Doctor" series, some of the later series 1 episodes do give the impression of being written in a hurry.!