The best UK sitcoms have always been studies in failure. Think Basil Fawlty, Del Boy Trotter or David Brent: all characters who seem forever destined to have their dreams shattered and their hopes consigned to the scrapheap.
Way down on that list – despite heading a show that lasted for SEVEN series – is Gordon Brittas, incompetent manager of Whitbury Newton Leisure Centre, whose almost kamikaze levels of enthusiasm resulted in disaster week after week.
But is there really any need for The Brittas Empire to come back for a rumoured one-off Christmas special? Yes, according to reports, Brittas could return to our screens by the end of the year, the prospect of which leaves me prickly with angst.
After all, there’s only so much ‘irritating’ that a viewer can take. And with his nasal, Roland Rat-style voice and blithe disregard for the welfare of his staff, Gordon Brittas was one hell of an irritating man. OK, so we watched him in our millions at the start of the 90s, but what would newcomers make of unctuous Gordon and those outlandish, almost Looney Tunes plots in 2015?
True, there were welcome flashes of the macabre in Richard Fegan and Andrew Norriss’s show. Gordon’s put-upon wife Helen’s depression, pustulant Colin’s weeping sores and homeless Carol’s stashing of her baby in a desk drawer, for instance.
But surely such staples of the original series wouldn’t be in evidence in the revisit to Gordon’s no-doubt crumbling empire? They’d all be psychological and physical wrecks, with Brittas having been sued to the eyeballs for all the mental and physical torment he’d caused them.
The best the all-new Brittas can hope for is that any comeback taps into our feelings of nostalgia, something that is always to the fore over the festive season. And, after all, if the BBC really wants to revive an old sitcom, then what other choices are there?
Only Fools and Horses without its writer John Sullivan? Ever Decreasing Circles without its star Richard Briers? Both unthinkable ideas. But if we re-open those leisure centre doors, then who knows what might follow…Another Slice of Bread? Back to the Big Top? Even More ‘Orrible? Still Mad about Alice? Actually, on second thoughts, maybe a revived Brittas would be the best option if that’s the competition…