Monday, February 22, 2010

Three Sitcoms from Wales

Most discussion about television comedy in the U.K. tends to focus on England with occasional forays into Ireland and Scotland. Wales is typically a forgotten place, with Gavin and Stacey proving the exception. Admittedly, it's a funny and well-written show. But if you're looking for some out-of-the-ordinary programs...think of something in the order of Father Ted, and you've got an idea of what I'm talking about. Well, if you like wacky comedy, laugh-out-loud characters and plots, I've got three recommendations for you. First is Fun At The Funeral Parlour. The title alone tells you this is not run-of-the-mill stuff. It's about a family, father and sons, who run a most unusual funeral business.

Next, there's Satellite City. It's about a quirky family, husband and wife and his father, who take in a border, a most unusual visiting American student, after their previous border, "English Stan" has died. Truly, you'd miss the 'flavor' if I tried to describe it. Like an exotic dish, you have to 'taste it'.

Finally, you simply have to try High Hopes. This followed and was written by the co-writer of Satellite City, Boyd Clack (who also appears in the series). There were six seasons. I have portions of seasons 4 through 6. It has never been released on DVD, but there is an online petition to try to convince the BBC to release the complete series on DVD. You can sign the petition at the following website:

As with Satellite City, to describe this program as a domestic sitcom would miss the entire point. It features a son, his elderly mother (who proudly and repeatedly reminisces about her work history as a stripper!) and two adolescents whom they've, sort of, adopted. Try it; you'll like it!