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BBC to rework lost sitcom scripts

UK pubcaster the BBC will recreate three classic ‘lost’ sitcom episodes, as part of a three-channel comedy project this year.

Shane AllenArts channel BBC Four will air the lost episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour, Steptoe and Son and Till Death Do Us Part.

The episodes – Hancock’s Half Hour’s ‘The New Neighbour’, Steptoe and Son’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ and Till Death Do Us Part’s ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Home’ – were filmed in the mid-20th Century but have since been lost from archive.

Their scripts still exist, meaning each will be re-shoot by BBC In-House as The Lost Sitcoms in front of a studio audience. New casts are being sought.

Steven Canny will executive produce, with Owen Bell producing.

BBC Four will also air retrospective British Sitcom: 60 Years of Laughing at Ourselves as part of a “landmark sitcom season” planned across BBC One, BBC Two and Four to mark six decades since Hancock’s Half Hour began broadcasting.

BBC One is remaking classic sitcoms such as Are You Being Served?, Porridge and Up Pompeii, and making a prequel to Keeping Up Appearances. The flagship channel also gets Phil McIntyre Television-produced comedy panel show We Love Sitcom and a special episode of current series Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

BBC Two will play Home From Home, a sitcom about a family man (Johnny Vegas) who clashes with his new neighbours after buying a dream lodge in the Lake District. It’s a BBC In-House production.

Motherland, which comes from writer Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted), will be a coproduction of Linehan’s Delightful Industries and Sharon Horgan’s Merman.

“This season is about celebrating the BBC’s rich legacy at a time when British comedy is as popular as ever,” said BBC controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen (pictured). “Classic comedy is evergreen, as we know from the eight million people who watch Still Open All Hours; our audiences have deep affection and nostalgia for iconic shows.

“Alongside the celebration of key comedies through homage, rediscovery and revivals involving established and new talent, we’ll also be making a raft of new sitcoms to complement them, and boost the BBC’s commitment to nurturing the hits of tomorrow.”

Separately, BBC Four has commissioned Going Forward, a three-part comedy from comedian Jo Brand. It follows a nurse working in domiciliary care for the British health service.

Uk indie Vera is producing, with Brand writing and starring.