Comedy Playhouse is a long-running British anthology series of one-off unrelated sitcoms that aired for 120 episodes from 1961 to 1975. Many episodes later graduated to their own series, including Steptoe and Son, Meet the Wife, Till Death Us Do Part, All Gas and Gaiters, Up Pompeii!, Not in Front of the Children, Me Mammy, That's Your Funeral, The Liver Birds, Are You Being Served? and Last of the Summer Wine, which is the world's longest running sitcom, having run from January 1973 to August 2010.
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||129|
|Running time||Usually 25 minutes, 30 minutes or 35 minutes|
|Picture format||405-line Black and white (1961–1967) |
625-line Black-and-white (1968–1969)
625-line PAL (1970–1975)
1080i HDTV (2014–2017)
|Audio format||Monaural (1961–1975) |
Surround sound 5.1 (2014–2017)
|Original release||Original Series|
15 December 1961 – 9 July 1975
29 April 2014
15 September 2017
In March 2014, it was announced that Comedy Playhouse would make a return that year with three new episodes.
The series began in 1961 at the prompting of Tom Sloan, Head of BBC Light Entertainment at the time. Galton and Simpson were no longer writing for Tony Hancock and Sloan asked them to write ten one-offs with the hope that one might become established as a series. Thus, the first two series of Comedy Playhouse were written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, but after that the episodes were written by various writers. In all, 27 series started from a pilot in the Comedy Playhouse. The first eight series were in black-and-white, with the rest being in colour. Like many television programmes from the time, many of 1960s episodes are lost. In Australia the series was broadcast on ABC Television in the early 1960s-late 1970s.
Series One (1961–1962)Edit
The pilot episode of Steptoe and Son was broadcast as an episode.
Series Two (1963)Edit
Series Three (1963–1964)Edit
The pilot episodes of The Walrus and the Carpenter and Meet the Wife were broadcast as episodes.
Series Four (1965)Edit
Here I Come Whoever I Am (11 June 1965) starring Bernard Cribbins, Helen Fraser, Mike Pratt, Edward Evans and Maureen Lane. This sitcom with the same characters was featured in the Lust segment of the 1971 film The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins.
Murray and Me (8 July 1965) starring Chic Murray
Series Five (1966)Edit
The Bishop Rides Again (17 May 1966) starring Robertson Hare, William Mervyn, Derek Nimmo, John Barron, James Beck and Cheryl Molineaux. This was the pilot episode of the BBC series, All Gas and Gaiters
Series Six (1967)Edit
Series Seven (1968)Edit
Series Eight (1969)Edit
Series Nine (1969–1970)Edit
Series Ten (1970)Edit
Series Eleven (1971)Edit
Just Harry and Me (1 April 1971) starring Sheila Hancock, Donald Houston and Lynne Frederick. This was the pilot episode. The series was broadcast in two sections, the first of six episodes, then a break, followed by another seven episodes. 26 scripts were short-listed and this was pared down to 13.
Series Twelve (1972)Edit
The first episode of Are You Being Served? was broadcast as an episode, although this episode was used as a filler following the Munich Olympics terrorist attack, the BBC having originally declined broadcasting it.
Series Thirteen (1973)Edit
Elementary, My Dear Watson: The Strange Case of the Dead Solicitors (18 January 1973) starring John Cleese, Willie Rushton, Bill Maynard, Norman Bird, Larry Martyn, Michael Gover, Ivor Salter, Gordon Faith and Dawn Addams.
Home from Home (8 February 1973) starring Carmel McSharry, Michael Robbins, Yootha Joyce, Tony Selby and Olive Mercer. Bill Collins may not have been the greatest husband of all time but when his wife moves into a bed-sitter and becomes a traffic warden - intent on making him her most frequent victim - things have gone too far.
Series Fourteen (1974)Edit
Franklyn and Johnnie (23 April 1974) starring Geoffrey Bayldon, Ronnie Barker, Richard Hurndall, Sydney Bromley and Hugh Morton. Franklyn and Johnnie have been enemies for 40 years. Could it be that the death of their one mutual friend might heal the breach?
The Big Job (21 May 1974) starring Prunella Scales, Peter Jones, Alfred Marks, Andonia Katsaros, Nick Brimble and Aubrey Woods. 'Half a million in used notes'-Eddie's perennial dream. But when he tries his hand at kidnapping, the results are disastrous.
It's Only Me: Whoever I Am (28 May 1974) starring David Jason, Patricia Hayes, Daphne Heard, Olive Mercer, Edward Burnham, Paul Greenwood, Adrienne Burgess and Bernard Spear. For a simple Rochdale lad not sure where his personal centre of gravity lies, perhaps being an actor is easier than trying to decide who he ought to be.
Sitting Pretty (11 June 1974) starring Nicky Henson and Una Stubbs It's smashing being a sitting tenant; the landlord can't chuck you out, he can't put up the rent, and you don't have to pay the rates or do repairs.
French Relish (16 July 1974) starring Derek Nimmo
Series Fifteen (1975)Edit
Series Sixteen (2014)Edit
- Over to Bill (29 April 2014)
- Miller's Mountain (6 May 2014)
- Monks (13 May 2014)
Series Seventeen (2016)Edit
- Hospital People (26 February 2016)
- Broken Biscuits (4 March 2016)
- Stop/Start (11 March 2016)
Series Eighteen (2017)Edit
Scottish Comedy PlayhouseEdit
The BBC aired six comedy pilots in 1970 in Scotland only under the title Scottish Comedy Playhouse, none of which developed onto a full series. While these were being aired, Monty Python's Flying Circus was broadcast in the rest of the UK. The episodes were
- Stand In For A Hearse (22 September 1970)
- The Siege of Castle Drumlie (29 September 1970)
- The Dinner Party (20 October 1970)
- To Grace A Son (28 October 1970)
- Stobo Takes The Chair (3 November 1970)
- Take Your Partners (10 November 1970)
- Ian Burrell (17 March 2014). "BBC1 to revive 'Comedy Playhouse' after 40 years". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Radio Times, 25 March 1971
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 17, Hospital People".
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 17, Broken Biscuits".
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 17, Stop/Start".
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 18, Tim Vine Travels in Time".
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 18, Mister Winner".
- "BBC One - Comedy Playhouse, Series 18, Static".