Ben Elton’s widely-panned BBC sitcom The Wright Way will not be returning for a second series.

BBC controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen said the comedian had been ‘bruised’ by the reception to his show, which was set in the health and safety department of a local council.

The first series, by one of Britain’s most famous comedy writers, ended its run on BBC1 in May.

Allen defended the show, but said that it would not be coming back.

He said: “He (Elton) set out to write an old-fashioned, mainstream comedy and he did exactly that. It didn’t catch fire with the audience, but it wasn’t what you’d call a flop.

“Three and a half, four million people watching. A lot of people who stick the boot in are probably people who wouldn’t get three and a half million people.

“I think it’s a valiant effort from the guy who co-wrote Blackadder and The Young Ones.”

He said the decision not to bring back The Wright Way was made in conjunction with Ben Elton, adding: “It was a conversation that we had together.”

He said of the critical mauling that The Wright Way received: “He (Elton) was really bruised by it. He felt if people aren’t loving this, I’m not going to put myself through it again.”

He added: “As a major name in British comedy you give someone a chance. We’re not going to bring back The Wright Way, but I’d give him another chance at something else.”