General News

BBC comedy chief fires volley at his bosses

Oct 23, 2001 | 9:17am EDT

The outgoing head of comedy programming for the BBC has leveled a broadside at the corporation on the eve of his departure.

In an interview with Tuesday's London Independent, Geoffrey Perkins, who is joining Tiger Aspect Productions (which, with Working Title, produced the hit film Billy Elliot) as creative director, claimed that in recent years the corporation has focused its attention on budget accountability and "the mechanical bits of making shows."

That, he said, "has set the people that produce programs in direct opposition to the people responsible for actually paying for and broadcasting them."

Perkins also charged that the BBC "finance people" have particularly scrutinized sitcoms because they regard them as "lowbrow fodder."

He recalled an annual report that noted that the corporation produced programs that ranged "'all the way from high-value costume drama...down to sitcom.' ...Unfortunately, the term 'sitcom' implies a great disdain; [BBC] people say it with a curl of their lips."

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