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Anorak | RIP David Croft: You Were Rarely Funny

RIP David Croft: You Were Rarely Funny

by | 27th, September 2011

RIP David CRoft. You wrote the sit-coms that marked time spent in front of the telly. You wrote You Rang, M’Lord?, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served?,Grace and Favour, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi! and ‘Allo ‘Allo!. Anyone who has seen those shows will know that they were not always funny. In fact, they were rarely funny. Remove the exquisite Dads’ Army from the list and the show are forgettable mush of missable telly watched because there was nothing else on the magic box. If you stick anything on BBC 1 millions will tune in and zone out.

Croft’s skill was to create sympathetic characters and notice that a killer line is not a smug cue for the scene to end. The only current comedy show that comes close to Dad’s Army is The Inbetweeners, a look at adolescence through knowing eyes. Both shows are nostalgic and display warmth for the subjects.

TV comedy is routinely dire: Tittybangbang, Man Stroke Woman, Spoons, Pulling and Little Britain are all rubbish. You wonder at how depressing it must be for actors to get into character for these sketch shows – hours spent preparing for a dire punchline.

And then there’s Extras, an elitist show pandering to a smarty-pants group who get the joke. Shows like Extras, Mock the Week and Tramadol Nights are not inclusive; they are specifically exclusive, showing the comedian as the clever sod who gets a laugh by saying exactly what you expect him to. They pretend to be edgy but the rapier wit is a loaded butter knife.

Croft is praised for the absence of swearing on his shows. True enough there was a recurrent pussy joke in the overrated Are You Being Served?, but Dads’ Army’s toilet humour was all about Godfrey needing to use one…



Posted: 27th, September 2011 | In: TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink