Sitcom Advent Calendar Door Thirteen

Is it possible for a sitcom to exist for two long season in the US, and never be heard of ever again? It is possible for a sitcom that ran for two years on NBC as a lead in to The Golden Girls to have virtually nothing written about it anywhere?

Why yes.

Welcome to 13 East.

It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia listing.

Another weird phenomenon is a sitcom that was on all the time for a while, and then just drops out of your mind completely. So is the case with Major Dad.

Dan Quayle pops up in an episode of this, and it was shown daily on BBC1 at half eleven in the morning (those must have been school holidays or when I was off sick).

Regular visitors to this blog will know I have a soft spot for the oft-overlooked Hale & Pace, and here’s another thing that seems to have been forgotten … their Channel 4 sitcom The Management.

Watch an episode here.

Sitcom Advent Calendar Door Twelve

Hidden behind the little door today is not Twenty Twelve, the sitcom about the Olympics that spawned WIA, but The News At Twelve, a CITV show from 1988, about a boy who delivers a news bulletin to an imaginary audience.

Shame there’s no clippage to share.

Also within is the chocolate goodness of an Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegen sitcom with Brenda Blethyn called The Labours Of Erica.

On his own site, Andrew describes the show like this:

This was the third sitcom that Richard and I worked on together – and was custom written for the brilliant Brenda Blethyn. The idea was that, as a middle aged woman, she finds a diary from her girlhood with a list of twelve things she vowed to do before she was 40. She hasn’t done any of them, and there’s only three months to go, so she ups and starts doing…


It was a nice idea, and Brenda was fabulous but somehow we never sorted out a real direction for the characters. So she did the twelve things (in twelve episodes) and that was that. Shame, really, but there were some good laughs on the way.

On the same site, he says that there was only five series of The Brittas Empire, which is some marvellous shade to throw on series six and seven written after they had killed off (kinda) the main character.

And finally, Lance At Large was written by David Nobbs and Peter Tinniswood for the BBC in 1964. Starring Lance Percival, it was quite experimental, and used locations and a different cast each week.


Sitcom Advent Calendar Door Eleven

We’ve mentioned Spanner’s Eleven already, so what are we going to find hidden and wrapped up neatly in the calendar today?

Why, it’s Kappatoo, a Children’s ITV sci-fi sitcom written by Ben Steed.

Denise Van Outen appeared in the first series of this, and Sarah Alexander in the second. And yes, that’s the voice of Andrew O’Connor as the computer.

Children’s TV is often overlooked as a source of sitcoms, and that’s a shame. The Kids From 47a ran for 42 episodes (42!) on ITV in the mid 1970s.

Created by Charlotte Mitchell, it was about a family of kids suddenly left without a guardian.

Another kid’s show to round the day off then, but without any lovely video goodness to chew on. Knight School was written by Mark Billingham and Peter Cocks, and had Tony Robinson on board as the script editor. Described as a mix of Grange Hill and Blackadder, it was based in the 13th Century, and starred Roger Lloyd Pack.

Sitcom Advent Calendar Door Ten

We might expect to find The 10%ers behind door ten, the Grant Naylor created Carlton sitcom from the mid 1990s, originally piloted at part of their Comedy Playhouse revival.

But we don’t. Instead, within the foil wrapping we discover Jackson Pace: The Great Years.

Wait, hang on, Andy Crane was on CITV?

Anyway, Jackson Pace was written by Daniel Peacock, who also starred in it alongside the lead Keith Allen, and Josie Lawrence. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this.

Something else that criminally passed me by was Jim Tavare Pictures Presents …

This series of short, silent comedies found a home on BBC2 at 10.20pm at the beginning of 1995. So beautifully produced.

Seems like the calendar is taunting me today with things I would enjoy but have never seen. Thus it continues with The Jimmy Stewart Show (Jimmy Stewart had a sitcom??).

No wonder I never saw this, as it only aired in the UK in London, in a graveyard slot, four years before I was born.

Sitcom Advent Calendar Door Nine

Behind the ninth door we find the sitcom 9 To 5, which was based on the movie of the same name. Dolly Parton’s role was taken by her younger sister. Parton also produced the first season of the show, though a cover version of her own song was used for that first year. Subsequent seasons used the original.

Unusually, a few years after the show was cancelled by ABC, it was picked up again by Fox for a new syndication run, taking the total number of episodes from 33 to 118.

If you can think of a better title than I Tell You It’s Burt Reynolds, then well done you. This video is a terrible mash up thing, but you get to see the lovely Yorkshire ident, and the title sequence from The Galton & Simpson Playhouse at least.

Another one off episode from the same writers, but in a format is Impasse, starring Bernard Cribbins for the BBC in 1963.

Another Thora Hird show, also for Yorkshire, is In Loving Memory, which ran for five series over 17 years. It was set in an undertaker’s, and was written by Dick Sharples (just like Hallelujah! from yesterday).