Lead Balloon is a British television sitcom created and co-written by Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair and produced by Open Mike Productions which stars Dee as Rick Spleen, a cynical and misanthropic comedian whose life is plagued by petty annoyances, disappointments and embarrassments.
The series premiered in the UK on BBC Four on 4 October, 2006. There are 21 half-hour episodes in three seasons to date.
Lead Balloon premiered in South Africa on DStv's BBC Entertainment channel on Tuesday 31 March 2009, at 20h00. There are six episodes in the first season.
Rick Spleen is a disillusioned stand-up comedian and writer. Hosting corporate events, appearing on daytime chat shows and fronting cheap DVDs was not what he dreamed of as a young man. All this plus he's stuck with a lousy stage name.
Whether he is being accused of putting on weight, suspected of being gay or worried about accidentally poisoning another performer, Rick combines a mass of neuroses and petty grievances with a terrible propensity for lying.
It is not a recipe for success.
Along for the ride is his quick-witted American co-writer Marty, his unflappable partner Mel and his feckless daughter Sam.
Then there’s Magda, Rick’s Eastern European daily help, who combines a surly and depressive nature with a unique ability to wind Rick up; pasty-faced teenager Ben who is Sam’s boyfriend and the least motivated human being on the planet; and local wholefood café owner Michael, who appears to be completely unhinged.