Directors Commentary (ITV1, 2004)
I have looked back at several sitcoms that were shown on ITV in the 90s, as I tried to determine if any of them deserved to be a success, so I thought that I would now choose one from the 2000s decade. This was a comedy show with a rather curious idea. When films and TV shows started to be released on DVD, one of the advantages over VHS was that there were extra features that could be accessed.
These included a commentary, where various cast and crew members would talk about their experiences of working on the film, along with their influences, and anything else that crossed their mind really, and this show was designed to be a parody of this. Directors Commentary (was there supposed to be an apostrophe or not?) starred Rob Brydon (who at this point was probably best-known for the sitcom Marion And Geoff).
Brydon played veteran director Peter De Lane, who had worked on a wide variety of TV shows throughout the 70s and 80s. These included dramas, sitcoms, and game shows, and we would hear him share his memories (or what he could remember at least) as if we were watching a DVD (he never appeared in-vision), and this would lead to some rather bizarre anecdotes. The basic joke is that he hated doing everything, and had a lovely time whilst doing so.
One thing that was interesting were the shows that were taken out of the archive to be shown as Peter rambled on about his work on them (making the awkward situation of not being able to hear the actual dialogue properly). These included Bonanza, Mr And Mrs, and Only When I Laugh, which were definitely very popular in their time, and two shows were featured in every edition.
There was also a Directors Commentary DOG in the corner of the screen throughout, just in case anyone turning over wondered why ITV1 had suddenly started a repeat run of Mr And Mrs rather late at night. Although this was not too bad, it’s probably not a surprise to realise that ITV1 hit the eject button on Directors Commentary after only one series, as they were doing to so many other shows around this time, and there was no repeat run.
It seems that this has been released on DVD though, although I never got around to adding this to my collection. So I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I did read that Brydon provided a commentary as himself as an extra, meaning that there was a commentary on the commentary, and it’s a surprise that the universe didn’t collapse in on itself. This is now considered to be a minor moment in Brydon’s career, before he went on to further success in shows like Gavin And Stacey.
I suppose my point is, if you have an interesting idea for a comedy show, you probably shouldn’t pitch it to ITV.