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. Season 3 has not yet aired in South Africa.
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.