The BBC would never make Gimme Gimme Gimme today, says its writer Jonathan Harvey

"They can't be that risky. The climate changed. There's less space to try out something a bit different"

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A regular audience of six million watched the ribald antics of flatmates Linda (Kathy Burke) and Tom (James Dreyfus) at the end of the 1990s – but Gimme Gimme Gimme‘s writer Jonathan Harvey doubts the series could ever have been made in 2015.

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Asked in the new issue of Radio Times about whether the sitcom (which was originally broadcast between 1999 and 2001) will ever return, Harvey says: “I came up with an idea about four years ago for a new house-share sitcom that I knew was the best thing I’d written comedy-wise since Gimme Gimme Gimme. But the BBC turned it down because they thought it was too rude.

“And I said, ‘It’s only as rude as Gimme Gimme Gimme was’. And they said they’d never commission Gimme Gimme Gimme now because they can’t be that risky. The climate changed. There’s less space to try out something a bit different.”

Harvey, whose new novel The Secrets We Keep has just been published, also talks about his work as a scriptwriter on Coronation Street and the frightening nature of the soap’s story conferences.

“They’re incredibly daunting. Even though it’s the nicest room in the world to be in, it’s so exposing. And it’s the same when a book comes out. You’re showing a bit of yourself. Flashing, in a way. Because you’re telling other people what you think is important or funny. And the fear is that you’ll make a show of yourself.”

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You can read the full interview with Jonathan Harvey in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday 24 August in shops and from newsstand for iPad or iPhone