2014 has been a massive year for comedy in Britain;
There have been countless brand new television programmes broadcast this year, with some of my favourites including Uncle, House of Fools, Doll & Em, The Walshes, Inside No.9, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled and Siblings. In this sense, 2014 has certainly proven itself to be twelve months of creativity and innovation in comedy, which will pave the way for televised comedy in the future.
As well as new projects, there have been many top-quality programmes that returned to our screens this year. Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy: Tales From Painted Hawaii was a special one for me, as Noel Fielding is my comedy hero, and considering the fact that the first series was broadcast all the way back in January 2012. Ricky Gervais’ Derek, Toast of London (Matt Berry) and Big School (David Walliams and Catherine Tate) returned for a second series and the brilliantly funny Friday Night Dinner came back with a third.
At the beginning of the year, the BBC announced that they were to make a conscious effort to include at least one woman on every episode of every panel show broadcast by the corporation, and it inspired me to write this post. It’s fair to say that to begin with, I was disheartened. I felt embarrassed that female comedians were being made to look like poor little lambs that can’t fend for themselves as it is absolute nonsense. However, the situation improved later on in the year (which I also documented here) as the thirteenth series of Mock The Week aired and so many talented female comics were given the screen time they deserve. It is my hope from here on in that people forget about the publicised rule and appreciate that these women have earned their right to be on these programmes, and acknowledge their immense talent.
Another shock announcement was that there are plans for the channel BBC3 to be axed in order to fund other projects within the BBC. Amongst other things, the broadcaster wants to create a BBC1+1 which seems pointless as we already have iPlayer, and the decision has, understandably, not been well received. We are told that when BBC3 disappears from our TV screens, it will still be available via BBC iPlayer. Maybe we are just reluctant to give in to the age of the computers, but it definitely feels like the space for new comedy on television is being made smaller by moving its main platform online. “We know those +1 channels are very important to people”, well, Mr Cohen, so is our comedy.
The Edinburgh Festival this year saw a new winner of the Fosters Comedy Award crowned. John Kearns’ show Shtick is the first Free Fringe show to have ever won the award. There have also been some HUGE live comedy tours this year from the likes of Russell Howard, Miranda Hart, Sarah Millican and Noel Fielding, as well as the return of Monty Python for five nights of nostalgic silliness at the O2 Arena.
COME BACK NEXT WEEK TO READ PART TWO OF THIS YEAR IN COMEDY