The BBC sitcom 'Orrible, starring Johnny Vaughan, has lost 1 million viewers, or 40 per cent of its audience, over its first three episodes. The show is rapidly becoming yet another expensive mistake in the corporation's search for a successful new comedy.Earlier this year the BBC paid out £2.5m to poach Mr Vaughan from Channel 4. As part of the deal, the corporation allowed him to try his hand at writing the BBC2 sitcom and acting in it.But the 'Orrible audience figure now stands at a miserable 1.5m.Mr Vaughan plays Paul Clark, a part-time minicab driver who feels he is destined for greatness. "Johnny Vaughan's name pulled viewers in initially," says a rival broadcaster, "but the show is a turkey and is regularly being trounced by David Starkey's Six Wives of Henry VIII on Channel 4."The critics have been savage, claiming the show is badly written, acted, structured and directed. Viewers have flocked to the BBC's website to complain.A BBC spokeswoman said no decision has been made on whether a second series of 'Orrible will be commissioned.
Mr Vaughan, in the meantime, will work on a new chat show designed to bring youth audiences to the digital channel BBC Choice as well as BBC1.The BBC's indulgence of high-profile stars such as Mr Vaughan is at odds with its traditional willingness to take risks on unknown but potentially talented writers. Earlier this week Dad's Army writer Jimmy Perry spoke of the autonomy that BBC producers once had, allowing them to succeed with new writers.The newer reliance on recruiting ready-made stars is much in evidence on ITV, where the sitcom Sam's Game, starring Davina McCall, has also flopped. "It got audiences of around 3.4m; terrible in ITV terms, but a success in comparison with 'Orrible," says an ITV producer. ITV is expected to commission a second series.Some initial failures, such as Men Behaving Badly, go on to become comedy hits But many don't. 'Orrible now looks set to join the ranks of true disasters, such as BBC1's Cry Wolf, which last year saw its audience drop from 7.6m to 1.3m, making it one of the least-watched comedies in the channel's history.. Plans to launch a national appeal to raise money for up to seven million Afghan refugees are being hampered by fears of reprisal attacks and doubts that the British public cares enough.
Plans to launch a national appeal to raise money for up to seven million Afghan refugees are being hampered by fears of reprisal attacks and doubts that the British public cares enough. Britain's largest aid agencies decided yesterday to launch a television appeal later this week to raise money for Afghan refugees fleeing famine and the threat of war. The appeal is expected to be launched by ITV and the BBC later this week, but the charities – including Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid and at least 10 others – fear that fundraising will have to start very slowly because it will fail to win sufficient corporate and public support.Major business donors and celebrities, who would become the public face of the appeal, have warned they fear they could be targeted by terrorist groups if the aid effort is too closely linked to a possible US military attack on Afghanistan. "There are problems with corporate sponsors about the security of their staff," said one source.He added that ITV is nervous about "sensitivities about the public mood". Senior executives are worried that the British public may not respond to the appeal because of hostility towards militant Islamic countries.. How did you spend your Saturday evening? Quietly at home in front of a video of The Sound of Music? If the hand-wringers of the entertainment industry are to be believed, nobody is going out Theatres and cinemas are empty. And the only cultural nourishment any of us can handle at the moment is of the purely pap variety.