The future of Mongrels post Series Two (airing Monday nights on BBC3) is still undecided, after it was suspiciously absent from the string of recent recommissions made by BBC3 controller Zai Bennett.
Bennett took over the digital station earlier this year and axed the majority of shows which were in place on the channel before his appointment, including TVO favourite How Not To Live Your Life – being rounded off with an Xmas special later this month.
Earlier today he appeared on the BBC’s feedback program Points Of View to answer viewers questions – including criticism about the axing of popular documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, the increasingly irritating and obtrusive on-screen graphics during the climax of shows (which apparently, you young folk like, he says!), and much more.
During the interview, Bennett was specifically asked about Mongrels. The channel recently announced several comedy shows which would be returning in 2012, but the cult puppet-based sitcom was not on the list, making us here at TVO a little nervous – and it seems, viewers too. Faced with positive comments about the show, and a request for cuddly plush toy versions of the characters, he replied:
“Should I start knitting right now? If Mongrels is successful enough, I’d be very happy seeing it merchandised in shops, and being able to buy Destiny’s dog [sic] next to a TARDIS on the shelves for Christmas.
At the moment, the series is still on air, and it hasn’t finished, and we normally let them finish before we take decisions about recommissioning, and that’s exactly what we’ll do in this case.”
Whilst this seems a little contradictory, considering the likes of Him & Her and Russell Howard’s Good News were in the list of recommissions in the middle of their current runs, and new show Pramface has been granted a second run before a single episode has aired, it does seem to suggest that Zai has a soft spot for the show, and is remaining tight-lipped in case audience figures don’t match up.
Given the all new sets and reworked puppets this year, plus the willingness of all the cast and crew members we spoke to last month to return for another series, we at TVO are crossing every last digit that Series Three is a go-er.
You can catch the rest of Series Two, which at some point includes a cameo from our very own Rich Fulcher, on Monday nights at 10:30pm on BBC Three, and episodes from the whole series are available on iPlayer catch-up. As regular ratings are decided by a demographic selection, but iPlayer ratings are grounded in reality, if you love the show, and want more, we suggest making your voice heard by watching online now!
After all, how can you not utterly adore this?
You can catch Zai’s interview on Points Of View here.