Part One – After The War
We are going tore-run a series of posts looking back over the last 70 years of great British comedy. This time we go all the way through to the present day.
We’ve tagged some of the best sitcoms from the last 70 years, as 70 Years Of British Comedy so you can follow the series of posts. The story of the modern sitcom is a fascinating one, British sitcoms are admired the world over, but how did it all start?
In the early days very little detail exists and even less archive material, so here we go with what we were able to put together.
Today we want to wind back the clock to the late 1940’s. Television was still very much a luxury item and the service had been suspended during the war, ITV was yet to arrive, so it was left up to the BBC particuarly Radio to entertain us with the BBC Light Program.
Comedy’s such as ITMA and Worker’s Playtime that kept a nation laughing were still running, but we were about to be introduced to some new comedy material that would still be popular some 70 years later.
In 1946, a popular character from ITMA got her own spin off series ‘The Private life Of Mrs Mopp’ it ran for 6 episodes in 1946.
Pinwright’s Progress, broadcast alternate weeks on the BBC with Kaleidoscope (long running variety show), is regarded as the first TV sitcom. Broadcast between 1946 and 1947 it ran for just one series of 10 episodes.
Radio continued to be the popular broadcast medium as in 1947, the BBC gave us some more comedy gems with Much Binding In The Marsh and Up The Pole. As the 40’s drew to a close we had Two’s A Crowd in 1948, of which we can find very little detail apart from it featured Peter Brough (along with Archie Andrews) and Peter Cavanagh. We assume it would be a comedy sketch show and of course Archie Andrews who two years later would go on to find fame alongside Peter Brough in Educating Archie.
As little exists for 1949 we jump to 1950 as we close this post. It is 1950 where we begin to see some of the comedy shows that would go on to find legendary status in years to come with Educating Archie and Life With The Lyons, both of which would go on to find success on both radio and television.
We jump to the 1950’s and the birth of Britain’s first sitcom. We come accross two famous writers who would go on to shape the future of sitcom as we know it and Bob Monkhouse is not hosting a gameshow.