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British Sitcom: 60 Years of Laughing at Ourselves
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“What sitcom’s brilliant at,” Josh Widdicombe says here, “is identifying a social movement or type and skewering it.” He’s talking about the fashion types parodied in Ab Fab, but the rest of the programme charts how sitcoms from Hancock’s Half Hour onwards have rejoiced in mocking our attitudes to class, race, gender and anything else involving taboos.
Mostly that means we canter through the fondly familiar – Till Death Us Do Part, The Young Ones, The Vicar of Dibley and so on. But there is the odd surprise, such as clips from Curry and Chips featuring Spike Milligan playing an Asian-Irish factory worker, or Agony – probably the first sitcom to feature gay men who weren’t loudly camp.
Documentary exploring the history of the British TV sitcom, from Hancock's Half Hour in the 1950s to the present day, revealing the inspiration behind some of the most enduring characters and how comedy has reflected changing attitudes in society. Narrated by Rebecca Front, and featuring contributions from writers and actors including Steve Coogan, Richard Curtis, James Corden, Graham Linehan, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
Cast & Crew
Ian La Frenais
Full Episode Guide
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