13 February 2011 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Short series and a long wait for returns shows corporation is already struggling to provide quality and quantity

When I was felled by flu over Christmas there was one thing that proved a pick-me-up – a brilliant new version of Just William, which made me laugh out loud. Yet the BBC treated it with a strange carelessness.

Just William was scheduled around midday but the start time was not fixed. And then it came to an abrupt end, after just four half-hour episodes. Nonetheless, more than a million people switched to it, and several TV professionals say it was the best thing they watched over Christmas.

The reasons for its success include the casting of 10-year-old Daniel Roche, one of the stars of Outnumbered, as William Brown, and of Warren Clarke and Caroline Quentin as the nouveau riche Bott family.

Richmal Crompton's stories were turned into delicious scripts by Simon Nye »

- Maggie Brown

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