John Challis has slammed ITV's decision to axe all its comedy sitcoms.
The 76-year-old actor - who portrayed Monty Staines in the hit series Benidorm - has revealed that he "doesn't understand" the channel's announcement it will drop long-running comedy show and insisted people want to watch something "fun" and have a "good laugh".
Speaking to The Sun's TV Bizarre column he said: "I don't understand this attitude towards comedy. What other comedy has ITV got at the moment that is so popular?
"It's what people want. they just want to relax, especially in these difficult times - they just want to relax and let it wash over them and have a good laugh.
"I don't know who these people are making these decisions - but where I am - I do a one-man show all over and I go to conventions - all I hear is people who want comedy. They want something they can switch on and think, 'Oh this'll be fun.'"
His comments come as ITV's director of television announced last week that it was dropping Birds of a Feather alongside Benidorm.
Kevin Lygo, ITV's Director of Television, told the The Mirror: "We had success with Birds of a Feather, that was our most successful sitcom in years, but it's come to a sort of natural end."
I don't know who these people are making these decisions but where I am, all I hear is people who want comedy.
With Bad Move - starring Jack Dee and Seann Walsh - also getting axed, Lygo suggested the future of scripted comedy is bleak.
He added: "We had two series of the Jack Dee sitcom but I don't think we're continuing with it now. It's just very, very hard.
"Audiences can get their fix of character-based comedy from Coronation Street."
Birds of a Feather, which was originally a hit on BBC1 in the 90s and followed two friends whose husbands were in jail and their nymphomaniac neighbour, was revived by ITV in 2014 and ran for three new series, as well as two Christmas specials.
Comedy fans licked their wounds on Twitter, with one saying: "TV have axed #BirdsOfAFeather and #BadMove following the cancellation of #Benidorm last year.
"That now leaves the main channel with not a single comedy. And with Kevin Lygo asking comedy fans to watch Corrie instead, it seems like the sitcom door for ITV has been bolted shut.
Another said: "Is it just sitcoms or is all comedy on ITV coming to an end? That’s all Harry Hill’s stuff in the bin then!"
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