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TV: One strike and you're out


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The new series of Benidorm started last week, and it’s quickly becoming something of a flop. The shows writer Derren Little (famous for co-writing the Catherine Tate Show) has confirmed he won’t be writing another series after this one, handing the show over to some other poor soul, who will be being made to squeeze every last drop of a bone-dry sponge.

Even the appearance of the ever annoying Cilla Black as a celebrity living in Benidorm failed to ignite the show, suggesting she was in to threesomes and swinger was just a step, and mental image, too far. Also, when is Cilla ever going to be in a place like Benidorm? Surely it's either the Mersey or Barbados for the O’Grady and Black terrible twosome?

On Christmas day the show said goodbye to one of its favourite, Geoffrey Hutchins, who played Mel in the show and unfortunately died during recording last year. However, in the first episode, other notable characters such as Sheridan Smith and half of everyone’s favourite gay couple, Troy (Paul Bazely) as well as Johnny Vegas left a large gaping hole (excuse the pun), unsuccessfully filled by Kathryn Drysdale and other nobody’s, reflecting the lack of investment in the show.

The episodes reportedly cost £200,000 each, which may seem a lot, but Downton Abbey, ITV’s biggest show in years, was rewarded with £1 million an hour last year.

The only saving grace of this series is the Garvey family, who remain the family we all love to hate on holiday. Loud, northern and abrupt, the shows finale with Denise Welch getting an Edinburgh kiss from mum Janice Garvey was TV Gold. Or is that just because it was one of the Loose Women getting some comeuppance? Either way, it will be interesting to see whether the Garvey’s (and possibly the gorgeous barman Matteus) can get the show through this last hurdle, which I do think it is.

This got me thinking, which British TV shows actually manage to sustain any amount of success when making series two, three or even four? Is it best just to go all out on one series, and to leave the public hungry?

Even the American greats can suffer. Mega-trega-phenomenon Glee has even seen a loss in interest (lead by myself) as it struggles to keep up the pace of the early series. Although greats such as Greys Anatomy and House fight the losing battle, alongside the British stalwarts, Law and Order and The Hustle.

Take Gavin and Stacey. The epitome of all that is good about Britain and British drama. Family values, love for each other, and humour (and the hatred of welsh and English folk). Whilst at every interview, ever ever ever, writers Ruth Jones and James Corden are asked ‘Will there be another Gavin and Stacey?’, the answers tend to be, ‘there is nothing in the pipeline,’. The Christmas specials have become some modern-day Morecambe and Wise show (minus about 15 million viewers) and where somewhat missed when absent from the schedules this Christmas just gone. The British public yearn for some Nessa quotes, some Pamelaaaah comedy or even some Stacey whining (most annoying welsh person ever? Even more than Tom Jones? YES!).

Have this (slightly younger) terrible twosome, have cracked the secret? Should we always be wanting more?

When you look back, Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and other comedy greats, they always bailed out of the television Concorde at the right time, just before it starting plummeting down to the ground. Even Vicar of Dibley, Monty Python et al realised enough was enough.

So, is it about time TV learnt its lesson from Hollywood?

Sequels ain't so hot, honey?

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