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The second series of Green Wing has so far been a disappointment. What is it about British comedies that makes them harder to sustain than American ones?

By David Herman   May 2006

Green Wing is a rare thing: an original and successful British comedy series. Its first series (now out on DVD) was one of the joys of 2004. Together with Black Books it suggested that there might be life left in Channel 4 comedy. Its success tells us a lot about the nature of television comedy, but so do its failings.

Following the relationships of a group of young hospital doctors, Green Wing bravely dispensed with taped laughter and many of the clichéd ingredients of hospital comedy shows: weird patients with funny ailments, matron jokes and randy nurses, and the stern…

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