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. A second series of eight episodes aired on BBC Two in November 2007, and a third series began airing in November 2008. A fourth and final series commenced broadcast on 31 May 2011 on BBC Two and ended on 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 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.