Well it’s back. After nearly 40 years since it’s last BBC outing Comedy Playhouse returned to BBC1 29th April 2014 with an episode written by Red Dwarf co-creator Doug Naylor and stars sitcom stalwarts Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered) and Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly).
In “Over To Bill”, Dennis plays newly unemployed BBC weatherman Bill Onion, while Morrissey is his best mate. Light farce involving golf clubs, sports cars and wedding presents ensues.
It’s the first of three each hoping to spawn a full series or a prime time BBC slot. The original ran between 1961 to 1975, was intended as a vehicle for Tony Hancock’s writers, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, giving them the opportunity to broaden out beyond East Cheam. The duo wrote the first 16 scripts, among them The Offer: a black comedy about bickering rag-and-bone men. Unbeknown to the writers a full series was commissioned almost immediately. The result, Steptoe & Son has became one of Britain’s all time best-loved comedies, spawning two feature films and a BBC radio series.
Other hits from the series from other writers included Last Of The Summer Wine and Till Death Us Do Part, so the new series has a lot to live up to. However 27 episodes of the original series made it to a full series over 14 years, here we have three episodes to start us off, hardly seems like fair play?