BBC board slams Brit sitcoms

Praise for 'Doctor,' 'Strictly'

LONDON — BBC comedies like “The Office” may attract universal praise, but Tuesday the pubcaster’s board of governors said its homegrown laffers should take more inspiration from “sophisticated” U.S. fare.

The governors’ review, published in the BBC’s annual report and accounts, said they found “evidence of dissatisfaction with BBC1 sitcoms, (which were) seen as ‘too focused on middle-class suburbia’ and compared poorly with sophisticated U.S. imports.”

Overall, however, BBC1 “had a very good year,” according to BBC chairman Michael Grade.

There was praise for the revival of vet sci-fier “Doctor Who” and reality skein “Strictly Come Dancing” — reformatted Stateside for ABC as “Dancing With the Stars.”

But the governors wanted to see fewer makeover and lifestyle shows in primetime, and more current affairs.

There was only lukewarm praise for sister web BBC2, where ratings were hit by the loss of “The Simpsons” to rival Channel 4.

Grade said the pubcaster’s digital channels made “good progress,” although the BBC needed to “work hard to ensure they deliver value for money.”

The review called for more investment in animation co-productions by children’s channel CBeebies and implied it needed more original fare.

Overall, the BBC spent marginally less on broadcasting acquired shows in 2004-05 than the previous year, down from £90 million ($157.5 million) to £84 million ($147 million).

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