John Cleese: BBC doesn't understand comedy

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 18 June 2014
John Cleese

John Cleese

John Cleese has blasted the BBC for not understanding comedy and feels his comedy troupe Monty Python's classic show 'Flying Circus' wouldn't survive on TV today

John Cleese has blasted the BBC for not understanding comedy.

The Monty Python and 'Fawlty Towers' legend doesn't think his comedy troupe's famous sketch show, 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', would survive on BBC today because commissioning executives have no experience in writing or producing comedy.

He told Time Out magazine: "What has happened since my time is that a very simple process, which worked wonderfully well at the BBC, has been lost. In those days the departmental heads were very trusting of their producers.

"What happens now is you have a new species, a 'commissioning editor', who, as far as I can make out, haven't actually written comedy, or directed it, and yet they seem to think that they understand comedy. This would be fine if they did understand it, but comedy is very difficult.

"Just look around - there's an awful amount of crap. These decisions are being taken by people who don't understand comedy but don't realise that they don't understand it."

The 74-year-old comic feels the BBC has lost some of its luster in the years since his classic shows entertained millions of viewers, and is dismayed by its decline.

He lamented: "One of the things that makes me saddest about the way the country has gone since I was young is the BBC. I look back at what was really a magnificent institution that, for economic reasons, has been thinned down and become something very different."

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