BBC Comedy

BBC comedy king Shane Allen on the importance of new talent

(Credit: BBC)

Both Monty Python’s Flying Circus and W1A – shows produced by the BBC Comedy department five decades apart – featured a gag in which the BBC head of comedy is revealed to be a dour, humourless figure on the brink of clinical depression.

“Yes. And Episodes did a bit of that, as well,” laughs Shane Allen, when the long-running gag about his job is mentioned, thereby establishing that it could not apply to him. The tape of our conversation is fittingly – though, given some of his predecessors, not inevitably – punctuated with his deep laugh.

All Round to Mrs Brown's for new series

BBC One and BBC Entertainment have commissioned a new Saturday night series with Agnes Brown.

Mrs Brown's Boys, created and written by its star Brendan O'Carroll, has proved a ratings hit, with 11 million people tuning in for its live episode.

The new series, filmed in front of a live audience, will see Mrs Brown getting up to all sorts of mischief and shenanigans, with stunts and celebrity guests.

Brendan O’Carroll said: "I think Agnes may be worried that she'll need a bigger kettle to make tea for everyone that's coming round!"

BBC commissions three Landmark Sitcoms

A Brief History of Tim, Motherland, and Porridge will all return to television with a full series. Each programme was piloted as part of the BBC's celebration of 60 years of the sitcom, marking the anniversary of the first TV episode of Hancock's Half Hour.

Porridge was brought back by the creative time behind the original 1974 sitcom of the same name. A reimagining of the BBC One favourite, the new Porridge stars Kevin Bishop as the cyber criminal grandson of Ronnie Barker's iconic inmate Fletcher.