"We're bringing back all the old sitcoms your parents liked!" said the BBC. "No, don't do that, because it'll taint those shows for fans of the originals, and alienate younger viewers," replied literally everyone else. "LALALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU," screamed the BBC - as it commissioned what to all intents and purposes looked like a CCTV feed from an unlicensed regional Are You Being Served? dinner performance. It's genuinely difficult to find anything positive to say about any of the revived sitcoms - maybe Goodnight Sweetheart didn't quite make me want to pull out my fingernails as much as I thought it would - except that at least nobody at the BBC will make such a silly decision ever again.Stuart Heritage, The Guardian, 29th December 2016
And so, with a sigh but not quite the desuetude expected, to the BBC's retro week. Both Are You Being Served?, wrongly described everywhere as "one of Britain's best-loved sitcoms", and Porridge were better than anticipated. Jason Watkins in particular as Mr Humphries turned in a searing performance, but doesn't he always? And Porridge was almost a delight, if only to feel the warm ghost of Ronnie Barker. Till Death Us Do Part, never funny in the first place, was execrable. Don't get me at all wrong, but what's even the point of Alf Garnett without the racism?
A good and faithful stab, BBC, at exhumation, but please now stop. Because Britain, and the world, can do better comedy now. I offer sample lines, from The Simpsons and from last week's revamped Served.
Editor (seeking a restaurant critic): "You know, Homer, we need someone like you... someone who doesn't immediately pooh-pooh everything he eats." Homer: "Nah, usually takes me a few hours."
Young, updated Mr Grace: "I've just had a cappuccino, followed by a massive brownie." Mr Rumbold: "Well, I hope you flushed it twice; that cistern has a mind of its own." These are both jokes about human faeces. Only one is funny.Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 4th September 2016
It has been revealed more than 20 gags in the 46-page script were "blue pencilled"- even axing lines from favourites Mrs Slocombe and Mr Humphries.Patrick Hill, The Mirror, 3rd September 2016
If you are meant to leave the best until last, does that mean that you put your worst first? If that's the case, then the BBC is following that rule with its sitcom season.Shouting At The Telly, 2nd September 2016
As we were told several times during the Porridge screening, the BBC isn't looking to bring back any of these series back for now but I'm guessing if the ratings are good then any or all of the writers will be quickly called upon to write new episodes. However if none do go to series then I still think it was a nice little gesture to call back to some of Britain's best-loved sitcoms in this way. I agree with Allen when he says that comedy gets treated like a poor relation and watching these new variations on classic shows was a nice little treat. I do feel if this season does do one thing then it's highlighting the great comedy tradition we have in this country and to look to the future to see what new comedies that the BBC have in the pipeline.Matt Donnelly, The Custard TV, 2nd September 2016
I imagine a full six-part series is already on the cards, given the probably availability of those involved. But if that happens, it's a sad day for BBC comedy to be chasing nostalgia rather than creating today's next hit.Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 29th August 2016