Robert Hampton

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17th December 2009

Xmas the Spot
Posted by at 11.16pm | Television | 1 response

The weather’s getting colder, the nights are getting longer and Ryan Giggs has won the X Factor (or something). It can only mean one thing: Christmas approaches, and as usual the broadcasters clear their schedules for some festive hijinks.

Here is my pick of the Christmas TV schedules. I actually thought I’d done this last year, but in fact it was all the way back in 2006 when I hand-picked some top Christmas telly, so it’s high time I did it again. There’s a lot of dross this year, and a big thumbs down to BBC Two who fill an hour of precious peaktime on Christmas Day with a repeat of the previous week’s Top Gear! Still, there’s some proverbial wheat to be found among the chaff. Here’s my choice.

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19th November 2007

Laughter and Applause
Posted by at 7.44pm | Television | No responses

In the Guardian, Graham Linehan makes a persuasive case for traditional “filmed before a live studio audience” sitcoms:-

There are some actors who come alive in front of a crowd, and if you’ve cast it right, there’s an energy between cast and audience that can be exhilarating for both parties, then enjoyed by the audience at home. I’ve seen Hugh Laurie be good in a lot of things, but I’ve never seen him funnier than he was on A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Blackadder. In fact, everyone in Blackadder is working the audience mercilessly, pitching their performance to elicit the greatest number of laughs.

Comedy doesn’t need a studio audience to be funny. On the other hand, some of the best TV comedy moments have been accompanied by gales of laughter on the soundtrack: that episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer walks in on Kryten trying to pull Lister’s underpants off; the episode of Frasier where the radio station manager thinks Frasier is gay; pretty much all of Father Ted.

I never understood why some people have a problem with a live studio audience anyway. What if they go to watch a comedy play at the theatre? Do they keep telling the rest of the audience to be quiet, because it’s ruining it?