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Zoe Wanamaker interviewed about My Family

Britain`s Best Sitcom (BBC2), 2004-01-01


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The BBC's search for Britain's best sitcom gave viewers the opportunity to vote for their favourite comedy series from a shortlist of a hundred shows; presenter Jonathan Ross then revealed the fifty most popular in a programme celebrating the genre.  My Family was named the twenty-fourth most popular sitcom in Britain, having beaten shows such as Birds of a Feather, The Office, and Rising Damp in the public vote.  The overall winner was Only Fools and Horses.

Fred Barron (creator of My Family):  The basic feeling behind My Family is: if you can get through the day with a modicum of dignity, you've survived!

[Clip from My Family showing Nick Harper jumping out of the cupboard under the stairs and wave a chainsaw at his father, Ben.]

John O'Farrell (author):  I talk to schoolkids about comedy sometimes, and they always cite My Family as one of their favourites.

[Clip from My Family showing Janey ask her mother, Susan, for permission to have a tattoo.]

FB:  Kids are pains in the ass!  [Laughs]  I was one and I have them!

[Clip from My Family showing Ben and his wife Susan wonder why they had Nick!]

Zoe Wanamaker:  There is an American attitude in it, which sits comfortably with me.

Jonathan Ross:  That'll be because My Family is one of the very few sitcoms over here to be written American 'factory' style by a team of writers.

[Clip from My Family in which Susan complains to Ben that the family call her a control freak.]

FB:  We write while the show's ongoing, so you can use things that you discover along the way and incorporate them into the script.  So, when I saw the dynamic between Robert [Lindsay, who plays Ben] and Zoe [Susan], all the scripts became addressing that.

[Clip from My Family in which Ben realises that Susan has visited another dentist rather than make an appointment with him.]

ZW:  The bed scenes became the most successful scenes; there was something about them.  The chemistry between Robert and I is...  I can't understand it, really!  [Laughs]  No, I do understand it.

[Clip from My Family showing Ben question Susan about her visit to see another dentist.]

FB:  When you get chemistry like that, you just write to it.

[Clip from My Family in which Ben accuses Susan of 'seeing another dentist'!]

FB:  They [Ben and Susan] can be ready to kill each other, but they can still make each other laugh.

[Clip from My Family in which Ben moans to his unsympathetic family about having had a bad day.]


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