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UK comedy sitcoms to be remade for US market

British newspaper The Guardian has reported that a number of British comedy shows are to be remade for US audiences.

According to the report, UK comedies such as Steve Coogan's Saxondale, Nighty Night and Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt's The Mighty Boosh are apparently being rewritten and recast for American television companies such as NBC and Showtime.

British comedy programs have not always worked when transported across the Atlantic. Although some have won a cult following, such as Are You Being Served?, the US remake never even made it past the pilot. Various versions of John Cleese's Basil Fawlty character also failed to make an impression in the US with remakes of Fawlty Towers.

However, some remakes of British comedy classics have fared somewhat better. Most notably the remake of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's The Office, eventually became a major hit, despite an initial slow start.

Warren Mitchell's, Alf Garnett, became Archie Bunker in All In the Family and the rag and bone men comedy sitcom Steptoe and Son was rewritten for the US TV comedy market as Sanford and Son.

There is much debate about the reasons why some comedies and sitcoms survive the journey from the UK to the US and visa versa, whilst other don't. Some people claim that the less that is done to change the original comedy show the better.

Perhaps assuming that local audiences have to have everything 'translated' for them is one of the biggest mistakes.