Comedian Barry Cryer says ITV’s sitcom Vicious is “positively homophobic”.

The 78-year-old writer, known for being a panellist on Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, has launched a scathing attack on the show which stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as bickering partners Freddie and Stuart.

“A sitcom with two old gays could be really good and moving,” Cryer writes in the Radio Times. “With two great actors in Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi it should be fantastic. But it was insult, insult, insult every other line. You don’t believe in them. You don’t like them, for a start. It was positively homophobic! It made John Inman look restrained.”

Cryer, whose credits include The Two Ronnies and The Morecambe & Wise Show, said Vicious was part of an era of “back-to-basic sitcoms” including Mrs Brown’s Boys and The Wright Way which had forgotten the importance of “great characters trapped in a situation”.

Writing in the Guardian earlier this year, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said Vicious represented progress for gay representation on TV.

Vicious ended its run last week and ITV is not expected to commission a second series, although a Christmas special is understood to have been filmed and will air.

A spokesperson said that no decision has been made over a re-commission.