The BBC will not be bringing back full series of its pilot remakes of classic comedies Keeping up Appearances, Are You Being Served? or Goodnight Sweetheart.
The corporation has confirmed that the producers and writers of the shows have all been told that the pilot episodes which were aired as part of its Landmark Comedy Season will not be commissioned into full series.
Keeping up Appearances was revived in the show Young Hyacinth starring Kerry Howard as a younger version of the character Hyacinth Bucket immortalised by Patricia Routledge.
Nicholas Lyndhurst returned to the role of Gary Sparrow in time travelling comedy Goodnight Sweetheart while Are You Being Served? was also rebooted with a new cast and scripts.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “This Summer’s Landmark Sitcom Season across the BBC was a great success, garnering over 50m viewers, but there is a finite number of slots for comedy on BBC1 and with two heritage pieces already in the mix – Still Open All Hours and now Porridge – the other available openings have to be for new shows in order to offer up a healthy mix of shows for the audience.”
So it appears that the decision to give another series to the pilot of BBC1 revival Porridge means that the Kevin Bishop comedy revival of the Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais classic is the only one to make the cut.
The spokeswoman added that other new pilots on BBC2 are still being considered. So far only Motherland, written by Sharon Horgan and Graham Linehan, Holly Walsh and Helen Linehan has been recommissioned, as RadioTimes.com revealed this morning.
“Following the BBC2 Motherland announcement, we are still looking at other pieces from the New on Two strand, but there are no further imminent commissioning announcements,” the BBC said.
Already Goodnight Sweetheart writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran have expressed their disappointment about the decision not to commission their show into a full series but have suggested they may yet try to continue his adventures elsewhere…
A RadioTimes.com poll recently indicated that viewers would be interested in a full revival of the nineties classic with 65% of nearly 4,000 voters naming it the classic sitcom pilot they’d most like to see as a full series.