Lead Balloon. Rick Spleen (Jack Dee). Copyright: Open Mike Productions
Lead Balloon

Lead Balloon

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two / BBC Four
  • 2006 - 2011
  • 27 episodes (4 series)

Sitcom starring Jack Dee as Rick Spleen, a grumpy misanthropic stand-up comedian whose life is plagued by let downs and embarrassment. Stars Jack Dee, Raquel Cassidy, Sean Power, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Rasmus Hardiker and more.

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Lead Balloon. Image shows from L to R: Marty (Sean Power), Magda (Anna Crilly), Ben (Rasmus Hardiker), Mel (Raquel Cassidy), Sam (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), Rick Spleen (Jack Dee). Copyright: Open Mike Productions

Key details

2006 - 2011
BBC Two, BBC Four
27 (4 series)
Jack Dee, Raquel Cassidy, Sean Power, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Rasmus Hardiker, Tony Gardner and Anna Crilly
Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair
Alex Hardcastle
Alex Hardcastle, Addison Cresswell, Andrew Beint and Lucy Lumsden

Rick Spleen is a successful but disillusioned stand-up comedian. He spends his days hosting corporate events such as The Heating and Ventilation Awards, arguing with his co-writer Marty and trying to hide his incompetence from Mel, his partner.

Rick is a habitual liar, but as he is not a very good one it is a trait which more often than not lands him in a deep hole... which he invariably then digs himself into even deeper when he piles more flimsy lies on top of the previous ones.

Being out of pocket is something that particularly riles Rick, but with his laid-back daughter Sam and her equally lazy boyfriend Ben always coming up with excuses for needing money, his wallet is rarely full.

Ironically it is Rick's tightfistedness that causes him the biggest financial losses though; eventually he always ends up paying for the damage his lies have caused.

In the final fourth series of Lead Balloon Rick tries to write a book, he becomes a presenter on a downmarket shopping channel, and sets up a stand-up comedy workshop. There's also an episode in which for a full half-hour Rick is stuck in a room with a prisoner (special guest star Robbie Coltrane).

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Additional details

Also known as
  • Lead Baloon
One Way Road by Paul Weller.

Website links

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Wednesday 4th October 2006 at 10:30pm on BBC Four
Most recent repeats

Recording details

  • Gracelands Cafe - Michael's Cafe (Link)

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