TV

The 90s Revival Continues With The Return Of The Brittas Empire

We thought the nineties revival couldn't possibly build up any more momentum. But we hadn't reckoned on the return of one Gordon Brittas.

It has been confirmed that The Brittas Empire, which featured Chris Barrie as the hilariously pompous boss of Whitbury leisure centre, is to return, 18 years after its final episode went out.

The Mirror reports that Barrie revealed at a comic convention that a new script exists. "One of the original writers is behind it and, fingers crossed, it happens. The script stage is supposed to be done now."

The writer is believed to be Richard Fegen, who created it with Andrew Norriss; the latter no longer works in television. Meanwhile, a BBC spokesman confirmed that a project was indeed in development - thought to be a Christmas special.

Barrie, who rose to fame playing Rimmer in the sci-fi series Red Dwarf, also found support from his Dwarf co-star Norman Lovett, who was speaking at the same event, who added, "That show was better than a lot of things today. I know there's still a lot of support for The Brittas Empire. And that character would be very funny today."

Red Dwarf itself, of course, was revived after a ten-year gap in 2009 by comedy channel Dave, going on to be run for a full new series three years later. Two months ago, writer Doug Naylor confirmed that Dave had commissioned two further series, to be broadcast in 2016 and 2017.

The Brittas Empire ran for seven series on BBC One, between 1991 and 1997 and contained plenty of slapstick humour, as well as some rather dark stuff (when you think about it). Receptionist Carole was constantly fearful and kept three children trapped in her desk after her husband left her, while Gordon's wife Helen turned to pills and affairs to deal with Gordon's difficult behaviour. Meanwhile, deputy Colin suffered from skin allergies and an infected hand.

Chris Barrie had already briefly resurrected the character in 2014 for a cameo appearance in Little Mix's Sport Relief single Word Up. Their American fans must have had no idea what was going on.

In addition, the original run saw Brittas killed off at the end of series five, before new writers came on board for two further series due to his enduring popularity. The final episode saw the previous series presented as a dream that Brittas had on the way for a job interview at the leisure centre. It is unknown how they will pick up these threads but, hey, it's TV - they'll find a way. Details are expected to emerge later this year. In the meantime, you can watch the first episode of series one below.

[via comedy.co.uk]