Heat

TV comedy experts examine the challenges facing the genre

Nerys Evans, Simon Lupton, Gregor Sharp, Jessica Knappett and Boyd Hilton

The classic sitcom no longer rules the TV schedules in the way that shows such as Fawlty Towers, Open All Hours and Porridge did in the 1970s. Or does it?

A panel of TV practitioners attempted to tease out the answer last month at an RTS early-­evening event, “No laughing matter: how does comedy fight back?” This stimulating debate made one think that we could be living through another golden age of TV comedy without necessarily knowing it.

'Great comedy will always find an audience' says BBC's Gregor Sharp at RTS event

 Nerys Evans, Simon Lupton, Boyd Hilton, Jessica Knappett, Gregor Sharp

Plans to put BBC Three online could rob a new generation of comedy writers and performers of the opportunity to find an audience, said Jessica Knappett, creator of E4 sitcom Drifters.

Knappett, who writes and stars in the series said: "I feel like BBC Three going online is a door closing, it's an opportunity that's been taken away from me. I feel personally it's exactly the sort of channel I would write for and I found it difficult enough to get an audience on E4."

No laughing matter: how does comedy fight back?

Key industry players provide an insight into the evolution of sitcoms and discuss whether the genre has become more risk averse because of the pressure to land a hit, or simply evolved to meet the changing taste of viewers. We also examine if money is being redirected into genres that are cheaper and easier to make, how BBC Three moving online might affect the development and growth of new comedies, and who is putting their head above the parapet and trying to put scripted comedy back at the heart of TV viewing.

Panel: