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the brittas empire


How Journalism Works Part #274952

Posted 10th July 2015

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So, a new series of The Brittas Empire is apparently in development.

The Mirror:

“The show ran for 53 episodes from 1991 to 1997 and regularly attracted nearly 10 million viewers.”

Mail Online:

“During its six-year run, some 53 episodes of the show were broadcast.”

The Express:

“At the height of its success, The Brittas Empire would draw an estimated 10 million viewers for the BBC, running for 53 episodes between 1991 and 1997.”

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Curse of the Dream Sequence

Posted 7th August 2014

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Brittas asleep on the trainThe Brittas Empire: “Curse of the Tiger Women”
Written by: Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent
Produced by: Mike Stephens
Directed by: Christine Gernon
TX: 24th February 1997

This is the story of one of my least favourite endings to a sitcom ever. But to figure out what went wrong, we need to skip backwards three years…

In 1994, The Brittas Empire had a pretty incredible run. No less than seventeen episodes were broadcast1, across two series – and amongst those seventeen were some of the show’s very best episodes. Examples include “High Noon”, where the leisure centre is blown up on a sitcom budget (and largely convincingly, to boot); the audacious “The Last Day”, where they kill Brittas off, send him to heaven, and then resurrect him during his burial; and “Not A Good Day”, where… they chain Sebastian Coe to a railing and watch him suffer for half an hour.

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  1. Whilst the oft-quoted “only six episodes a year” for British sitcoms is overstated – check out Keeping Up Appearances or Drop the Dead Donkey – seventeen episodes was still pretty unusual. 

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The Brittas Empire: The Trial

Posted 13th November 2013

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CLERK: Gordon Welsley Brittas, you are charged that you did on the 13th of November 1992 murder Julio Escobido, Eduardo Ramierz, Juan Mendosa, Robert Penchard, Ian Trahern – also known as Big Gary – and Raymond Watts… That you did have in your possession controlled drugs of class A, namely five kilos of heroin and an unknown quantity of amphetamines, contrary to Section 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971.. and that you did unlawfully cause Grevious Bodily Harm to Alice Whitely, Grace Beatty, Agnes Swinton and Doreen Lavern-Smith, all of the Whitbury New Town Sunshine Retirement Home, contrary to the Offences of the Person Act 1861.

When The Brittas Empire returned for its third series at the beginning of 1993, it clearly wanted to grab the viewer. Instead of Brittas merely sitting in his office about to start the snowball rolling on another day of calamity, it had him up in the dock on charges of GBH, drug possession, and a murder or six. For most shows, perhaps that would have been enough of an attention-grabbing opener.

Not Brittas.

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Ludicrous Faces Masterclass: Chris Barrie

Posted 9th February 2013

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This may be the most pointless thing I have ever done. But also one of the most enjoyable. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the final image of each episode of The Brittas Empire, or: Chris Barrie teaching the world how to pull silly faces. Image-heavy page under the cut.

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Erm… Just Scan It, Colin?

Posted 6th July 2011

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Piss poor. But move on.

I presume it’s not just me who has a list of sitcoms they wish they’d been at recordings of. From Fawlty Towers to Blackadder to Men Behaving Badly, for me the list extends even to specific episodes of a series. The fact I will never see the Red Dwarf episode Back To Reality recorded pains me immensely.

Another sitcom on the list is the vastly underrated The Brittas Empire. A few years back, however, someone eBayed their audience ticket and leaflet given out at the show – and I now present this material which I have refused to allow to become ephemera. Click for bigger versions:

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