Some sitcoms come to a natural end after a long run.
Others are not so lucky and get cut short in their prime.
And then Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps runs for 80 episodes.
Here are 10 of the best comedies that ended far too soon…
Raised By Wolves
This refreshing sitcom about a large, working-class family living on a council estate in Wolverhampton ran for two seasons in 2015 and 2016.
It won the prestigious Rose d’Or Award for best sitcom… not long after Channel 4 announced that it would not be returning for a third season. Caitlin Moran, who created and co-wrote the show with her sister Caroline, ran a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to raise enough cash for one last episode, but despite achieving an impressive total, it fell short of reaching the target.
This dark comedy from Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly about a newly single woman moving in with her two friends ran for two seasons in 2006 and 2008. Despite strong ratings and reviews, BBC Three opted out of a third season in a move that seemed to baffle everyone.
Rumour had it that the channel didn’t think a show about 30-somethings was appealing to their young target audience. Thankfully, Pulling was permitted to round things off with a final hour-long special, unlike the aforementioned Raised By Wolves.
Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s Psychoville, in which a group of seemingly unconnected characters all receive a mysterious letter saying ‘I know what you did’, ran for two seasons in 2009 and 2011, with a Halloween special in between. For some reason (your guess is as good as ours) the dark comedy thriller lost a significant number of viewers during its second season, and this likely played a part in BBC Two’s decision not to order a third.
However, if Psychoville hadn’t ended when it did, we probably wouldn’t now have the brilliant Inside No. 9, so every cloud has a silver lining.
The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff
This sitcom spoof of Charles Dickens novels set in Victorian London ran for just one season, beginning around Christmas 2011. With a gag-packed script, an impressive cast and guest stars including Stephen Fry, The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff proved to be a show that could be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
If only it had been allowed to run for longer, it could have perhaps joined the ranks of family comedy favourites like Yonderland and Horrible Histories.
This Channel 4 comedy about dysfunctional talent agents ran for one season in 2009. The snappy dialogue and chemistry between leads Sharon Horgan and Stephen Mangan made Free Agents hugely watchable, and the filthy lines spouted by Anthony Head as the agency’s seedy boss prompted tabloids to call it ‘the foulest sitcom ever’.
Containing just the right mix of romance and dark humour (rather like Catastrophe), it’s a shame that the show never went beyond a single season.
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s Catterick, in which a man returns to his hometown and reunites with his brother to track down his long-lost son, ran for one season in 2004.
The surreal comedy, with a cast including Matt Lucas and Reece Shearsmith alongside Vic and Bob, has been largely forgotten since it aired on BBC Three. However, over ten years later it is being heralded as “the most bonkers, brilliant and gripping thing Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have ever done.”
This 1970s-set sitcom from Emma Kennedy, based on her own childhood, ran for one season in 2015.
It received positive reviews and was crowned the Radio Times Comedy Champion of the year by public vote. But although it got a bigger audience than most other comedies on TV, the viewing figures just weren’t high enough for its primetime BBC One timeslot, and BBC Two didn’t have a spare slot to take it on.
This BBC Two comedy about a struggling chef, played by Alan Davies, ran for one season in 2010. With a top comedy cast including Katherine Parkinson and Isy Suttie, Whites attracted a large audience and good reviews.
However, its country house setting meant that it had been expensive to make, and BBC budget cuts ensured that a second season was not to be. Alan Davies has said that the cancellation was the worst news he’d had in his whole career.
Simon Amstell’s meta sitcom, in which he plays a character called Simon who has just quit Never Mind the Buzzcocks and doesn’t really know what to do next, ran for two seasons in 2010 and 2012.
Amstell’s acting capabilities might have come under fire from the press, but the supporting cast including Rebecca Front and Linda Bassett more than compensated, with Samantha Spiro winning an award for her stand-out performance as the awful Aunt Liz. After two seasons, Amstell announced there wouldn’t be a third – a big disappointment for fans of this clever, hilarious comedy.
This sitcom from Graham Linehan about a Dublin family ran for just one three-part season on BBC Four in 2014. The show (which featured a largely unknown cast) received good reviews, but the positive critical reaction didn’t result in an order for more episodes.
Linehan, the creator of Father Ted and The IT Crowd, has been rather vocal about the cancellation, expressing confusion that the BBC gave it no publicity and were then surprised when it didn’t find an audience.
Which British TV comedies do you think ended too soon? Let us know below…