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

Lead Balloon

BBC Two and BBC Four sitcom starring Jack Dee. 27 episodes (4 series), 2006 - 2011. Stars Jack Dee, Raquel Cassidy, Sean Power, Antonia Campbell-Hughes and others.

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.

Lead Balloon

Sitcom starring Jack Dee as Rick Spleen, a grumpy misanthropic stand-up comedian whose life is plagued by let downs and embarrassment

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

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).

More description

Production Details

Production company
Also known as
  • Lead Baloon
One Way Road by Paul Weller.
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Wednesday 4th October 2006 on BBC Four at 10:30pm
Last new broadcast
Tuesday 5th July 2011 on BBC Two at 10pm
Last repeat
Tuesday 14th June 2011 at 11:20pm on BBC2 Wales

Website links


Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • View location details
  • See ratings for 6 episodes

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?