BBC Comedy Chief Warns Against 'Crucifying' of New Shows on Social Media

Some talent are scared of primetime shows as "things can get slaughtered quite quickly," says Shane Allen, who also signals interest in more "Absolutely Fabulous" specials.

LONDON -- The BBC's head of comedy has called on audiences to give new shows a chance to prove themselves instead of instantly "crucifying" them on social media.

Some talent are "scared of the glare" of a primetime comedy as "things can get slaughtered quite quickly," the Guardian quoted Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, as saying. "Comedy provokes massive reactions."

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He cited the example of BBC One sitcom The Wright Way, which has just been canceled. Allen said its creator, Ben Elton, who also co-wrote British comedy classic Blackadder starring Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie, felt hurt after the show was criticized on Twitter and other social media platforms.

"Ben Elton was really bruised by the reception," he said. "He felt 'if people aren't loving this, I am not going to put myself through it again.' "

Allen, the former head of comedy at Channel 4 who joined the BBC about six months ago, also said he would like to see more Absolutely Fabulous specials on the BBC.

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Last year, the U.K. public broadcaster aired a London 2012 Summer Olympics special of the classic sitcom.

The "door is always open for more Ab Fabs," he said, calling star Jennifer Saunders "brilliant."

Said Allen: "I'd do anything she wants. [Absolutely Fabulous] is in the national fabric, isn't it? The door's wide open."

Twitter: @georgszalai