Days after the Rowan Atkinson scandal, an interview with his friend, and other comedy legend John Cleese has been released in which the star blasts BBC bosses — saying they have no idea how to make comedies any more.
He states that executives insist on meddling in shows despite never having made any.
Cleese, 73, said: “The people who became executives (in the 1960s and 1970s) had produced or directed a great deal of comedy.
Now there seems to be an executive class and they have never written and never directed. They seem by some mystical process to understand comedy much better. And now they want to know what is going to be in every programme so that they can say, ‘That won’t work’. On the basis of what?”
Cleese gave his opinion on the new BBC in an upcoming TV show to mark the closure of TV Centre in West London.
Cleese has felt anger at the new BBC for many years, stating in 2002: ‘Nobody [in Britain] seems to have any gut feeling for what makes exciting television anymore, it’s all management by numbers.’
And last year he told Richard Bacon that the Corporation were too interested in marketing and ratings than talent, and said of executives: ‘Although they can’t actually be funny themselves, they think they understand how it all works.”
Rik Mayall said in 2005: “The last series of Bottom, they never made it because she (Jane Root) didn’t like it. It was the finest series of Bottom we’d written. You have to be black, homosexual or a woman to work at the BBC. That’s why they didn’t like Bottom. They were two men who were heterosexual and that was the problem. The BBC banned Adrian and I from being on TV, for being heterosexual or known to disagree with the government. British TV used to be the finest in the world, now it’s totally imploded.”
Watch John Cleese’s last “controversial” outing for Israeli Hashahar Ha’oleh spreads below.