Lead Balloon is a British television series produced by Open Mike Productions for BBC Four. The series was created and is co-written by comedian Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair. It stars Dee as Rick Spleen, a cynical and misanthropic comedian whose life is plagued by petty annoyances, disappointments and embarrassments. Raquel Cassidy, Sean Power and Tony Gardner also star. The first series of six episodes was broadcast on BBC Four in 2006, with the first episode achieving the highest ratings for a comedy on the channel. Repeats of the series were run on BBC Two and BBC HD, bringing it to a larger audience. The second series of eight episodes aired on BBC Two from November 2007; the third series aired from November 2008; and the final series aired from 31 May 2011 until 5 July.
Comparisons were made by critics to the successful American comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, and positive comments were made about Lead Balloon's characters, particularly Anna Crilly's Magda, the Eastern European housekeeper. The first series was released on DVD in November 2007. The show's theme tune is a cover version of "One Way Road", written by Noel Gallagher and performed by Paul Weller.