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The Cancellation of ChuckleVision occurred in December 2009, after the broadcast of the 21st series. However, it has been a long and complicated affair, something which will be outlined below.

Cancellation & initial aftermath[]

ChuckleVision was surreptitiously cancelled by the BBC in the winter of 2009. However, they kept the decision quiet, not even the Chuckle Brothers themselves were aware that their TV series had been permanently taken out of production.

Rumours surrounding the show's cancellation - 2010-2013[]

  • After the 21st series had aired on CBBC in December 2009, no indication was given as to when the 22nd series would be aired. The announcement of a commission was not given or expected by fans or the Chuckle Brothers themselves, as they had already been assured by Lorraine Heggessey, the head of Children's BBC in the 1990s, that the BBC would continue to produce the show until they chose to end it or retire themselves.
  • When the Chuckle Brothers appeared on Celebrity Coach Trip in November 2010, they confirmed to one of the other participants, who enquired as to whether they missed making ChuckleVision, that they were, on the contrary, still recording it and that it had been on the air 23 years by that point.
  • Wikipedia's entry on ChuckleVision continued to confirm into 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, that Series 22 has undergone production and would air sometime within the corresponding years, however, these claims were never substantiated and the series never returned.
    Wikipedia 1

    Wikipedia entry in 2012.

    Wikipedia 2

    Wikipedia entry in 2013.

The Chuckle Brothers' now-defunct website confirmed on the 23rd of December 2012, that ChuckleVision had not, in fact, ended as many fans assumed, but the delay to Series 22 had been caused by the BBC's move of the Children's Department to Salford, Manchester and once everything had been settled down, production would begin on the new series. But once again, this was false hope and no series ever materialised.[1]

Screenshot 2021-10-03 at 21.49

Official website confirmation of a further series

  • The first confirmation of an outright cancellation came in 2013, when former Executive Producer of ChuckleVision Joe Godfrey confirmed that in his position as Director of BBC Children's, the department had no ''current plans'' to show or make any further episodes of the show.

The Definitive Story Behind the Cancellation - 2019[]

When Paul was interviewed in Episode 23 of Hayden Parker's Panto Podcast on 28th February 2019, he confirmed that he and Barry were never informed about the BBC's choice to stop commissioning new series of ChuckleVision, despite the assurance that they had a "lifetime contract" with the BBC, as the then-Head of CBBC, Lorraine Heggessey, confirmed to them in the 1990's.[2] By the time Series 21 had wrapped up production in mid 2009, crew members were expressing their love for working on the show and how much they were going to miss doing so, with it being the last series, something which Paul and Barry were oblivious to. However, in 2010, when production time came for Series 22, the new Heads at CBBC were ambivalent about producing another series of ChuckleVision, convinced that showing the repeats rather than making new episodes was more justifiable as they received the same number of viewing figures as the new episodes. Similarly, the new Head of CBBC, Damien Kavanagh, refused to make a new series, despite the Chuckles' protestations, claiming that with 292 in the archive, enough had been made.

However, repeats ceased completely after a couple of years, which the BBC cited to a struggle to find actors who had appeared in the episodes to pay them royalties. However, Paul disputed this, suggesting the trade union Equity would be able to sort that out efficiently. Paul also suggested that the popularity of ChuckleVision wasn't declining, and the show was as popular as it had ever been on CBBC before its unjustified cancellation.

Full Transcript[]

Hayden Parker: How was it, then, taking the cancellation from the BBC?

Paul Chuckle: It wasn't good because, er, they never-never told us. Never told us, never said a word. They just took it off. It's, erm... So Lorraine Heggessey, she's, erm... she's the head of Children's, or she was, in the 90's. And she took us to The Ivy in London for lunch, and er, we chatted. "Lovely to-to see you again." and blah-blah blah and eating and... Lovely food there, The Ivy. And then she said, "Well, as for ChuckleVision," she said, "as far as I'm concerned, er, you can keep doing them year after year after year until you've had enough. And BBC will keep it going until you don't want to do it anymore." So we thought, "Oh, thank you, that's lovely." So we didn't have to worry about what we're doing next autumn. You know, next autumn, we filmed ChuckleVision each year. And I think we'd done about seven series by then, so she was... she was right what she was saying because after that, we did about another fifteen... episodes... series or whatever.

So, erm, when it came to the end, we'd done Series 22, I think it was, and on the wrap party, erm, the, er, somebody came up to us and said, er, "It was an honour to do ChuckleVision, especially as it's the last series, you know, it was great to be on it." And we said, "What are you talking about 'last series'? It's not." "Oh, isn't it? Oh, I must have got it wrong. So I thought it was the last series?" We said, "No, it's not the last series, no. No, as far as we know anyway, nobody's told us."

So, anyway, we took it with a pinch of salt. And then, erm, came the following year and we said, "Where's ChuckleVision? You know, you've not come in with the scripts or ideas and stuff." "Oh, erm, well we're not sure," she said, "we're not sure, er, whether to do another one yet." We said, "What are you talking about? It... It's still as popular as ever." She said, "Yeah, but the thing is, we put the repeats on and it gets as many viewers for the repeats as it gets for the real one, you know, for a new one, so it's cheaper to just put the repeats on." We said, "Yeah, but you can only do that so long and it's, as you just said, it's still getting the same viewing figures, you know, and because the repeats are getting just as good viewing figures means it's popular, so." But they wouldn't have it.

There was a new, er, guy who was Head of, erm, Children's... [Damien Kavanagh], and, er, he just wouldn't have it. He said, "No, we've got enough in the can." Which I suppose, 292 episodes in the can was fine, but they only went for another year after that and they stopped the repeats. And their excuse for that was, erm, that they couldn't find everybody from the years back to pay them their... their-their royalties, because there was royalties in those days, which is a load of rubbish, because Equity will find them, they'll collect the money, and find the act, and pay them. So, just total excuses all the time, and to this day, they've not said why they took ChuckleVision off. It was so popular and they took it off. Not on anymore.

HP: Well, we're not happy as viewers. But as you said, you've got YouTube now, so it would have been nice to have some more.

PC: Yeah, it would, yeah. Because we enjoyed doing it. And the crew... we had the same crew for about the last fifteen years that, every year, they were all independent, the cameras, lights, everybody. But they all pencilled in every year to do that. And we had the same crew for years: make-up, everybody, wardrobe. Erm, it was like a family. You know, we had so much fun. That's the thing you can tell with the outtakes and stuff.

HP: Yeah. So that was lovely as well, putting them on at the end.

PC: At the end. It was so much fun doing it.[3]

Last airings of ChuckleVision episodes[]

The last new ChuckleVision episode to air was See How They Run, which debuted on CBBC on December 18th 2009. No future seasons of the show would ever be made.

However, CBBC continued to air repeats of the most recent ChuckleVision seasons until the end of 2013. The last repeat of a ChuckleVision episode to be aired on CBBC was The Mystery of Little-Under-Standing, which was shown as a Christmas special on Christmas Day 2013.

After this, no ChuckleVision episode would ever be aired on TV again (until 2022), although following Barry Chuckle's death, the final season was uploaded onto BBC IPlayer.

In 2022 to celebrate the BBC's 100th anniversary, the unedited 20 minute version of the episode No Pets Allowed was transmitted on BBC Four on Sunday, the 11th December 2022. This is the first time an episode of ChuckleVision had been broadcast on TV since 2013. This was also the first time the unedited form of No Pets Allowed had been repeated since it's last broadcast in 2004.

References[]

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