31 brief years have passed since Ben Elton found on-screen writing success with the anti-establishment humour of The Young Ones, a show that went on to become  a classic in British comedy. There have been highs and lows for Elton since then but last night, his reputation took a serious nosedive when his latest sitcom The Wright Way aired for the first time on BBC2.

The debut episode received something of a mauling on Twitter, with viewers and critics alike seemingly at pains to compete for the heights of vicious commentary within their 140 character limit. One Scottish viewer, Dam Jef, commenting today, posted “The Wright Way" is on BBC Scotland tonight, one night after England. I suppose we got the poll tax first so that about evens things up.” @sisson_jonathon was even more cruel, stating “Out of curiosity, watched Ben Elton's 'The Wright Way' on iPlayer. Got exactly 59 seconds into it. Never mind Abu Qatada, lets deport Elton.” @CREATE_London took issue with the content, writing “New BBC sitcom The Wright Way. Cliche ridden, vaguely racist and with a touch of homophobia. Well done Ben Elton! ‪#thewrightway.”

Positive comments about the show eluded discovery; it seems that Ben Elton’s rep could take some time to recover from the bashing that last night’s show took. If you’re curious as to just how bad the script got on last night’s show, a sample of the ‘humour’ on display includes a joke about women spending too long in the bathroom. That in itself should be an indicator of how bad it is, but Elton hasn’t even gone for a funny joke about women spending too long in the bathroom. Instead, he went for this: “What is the point of being a lesbian if you continue to act like a normal woman?" Yep. He went there. The lightbulb was removed from that dark corner of 1970s comedy for a reason, Mr. Elton. Close the door behind you when you leave, please.  

Ben Elton
Ben Elton, at an awards ceremony. It could be some time before he's invited to another