The Best British Sitcoms of All Time TV Programs
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The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

List Criteria: Episodic comedy shows that initially debuted on British television

Funniest British TV shows ever produced, ranked by worldwide comedy fans. British sitcoms - or "Britcoms" as they are sometimes called in the US - are known for their crisp dialogue, biting wit and sardonic look at modern life in the UK. Shows like The Office (which inspired the US series), Are You Being Served and Absolutely Fabulous present traditional settings and scenes, but populated by outlandish, even demented, eccentrics, some of whom have become among the nation's most iconic characters. (Both David Brent of The Office and Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers have been voted near the top of Ranker's "Funniest TV Characters of All Time" list.)

Additionally, though US sitcoms tend to take one of a few reliable formats - a traditional three-camera set-up in front of a studio audience, say, or the "mockumentary" style of shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation - British sitcoms tend towards the more experimental and daring. Blackadder, for example, sets each new season in a different time period, with relations of the original two characters: Blackadder and Baldrick. Peep Show as well tells a rather familiar story about two wacky roommates, but through a unique POV perspective, with the actors performing largely in voice-over.

What are the best British comedy series? Numerous English comedies on this list - as from the obvious The Office - have inspired American remakes, though the vast majority of these - such as the US versions of Fawlty Towers and Men Behaving Badly - have not met with similar success across the pond.

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  1. 1
    + 1032
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    most listed Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1071
    - 267

    the people's #1 John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 730
    - 322

    John Inman, Frank Thornton, Mollie Sugden

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 764
    - 328

    Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 624
    - 248

    Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 745
    - 213

    John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 538
    - 246

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Chloë Annett

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 738
    - 267

    Richard Ayoade, Chris O'Dowd, Matt Berry

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 565
    - 169

    David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 550
    - 216

    Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 571
    - 332

    Helena Bonham Carter, Joanna Lumley, Suzi Quatro

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 504
    - 315

    Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 384
    - 189

    Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 525
    - 99

    ranked low on reranks & added by VanessaHawelu Rowan Atkinson, Rupert Vansittart, Howard Goodall

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 453
    - 212

    Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 386
    - 186

    Kenneth Connor, Gorden Kaye, Sam Kelly

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  17. 17
    + 415
    - 201

    Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Blake Harrison, James Buckley

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 364
    - 228

    Rachel Blanchard, David Mitchell, Olivia Colman

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 354
    - 209

    Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington, Derek Fowlds

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 288
    - 153

    David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Barbara Flynn

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 310
    - 129

    Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy, James Dreyfus

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 267
    - 154

    Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 241
    - 225

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Steve Coogan, David Schneider, Amelia Bullmore

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 301
    - 205

    Gina Bellman, Jack Davenport, Sarah Alexander

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 238
    - 136

    David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Christopher Biggins

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 313
    - 120

    ranked low on reranks Richard Wilson, Angus Deayton, Janine Duvitski

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 318
    - 114

    ranked low on reranks Tony Robinson, Robbie Coltrane, Miriam Margolyes

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 253
    - 170

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Justine Bateman, Anna Gunn, Greg Proops

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 228
    - 181

    Zoë Wanamaker, Robert Lindsay, Daniela Denby-Ashe

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  30. 30
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    - 128

    added by VanessaHawelu Tom Baker, Anthony Head, David Walliams

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  31. 31
    + 235
    - 106

    added by alanviets Judi Dench, Joan Sims, Geoffrey Palmer

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  32. 32
    + 213
    - 157

    Michael Crawford, Dick Bentley, Patrick McAlinney

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  33. 33
    + 248
    - 150

    Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 229
    - 127

    added by Leslie2 Richard Briers, Paul Eddington, Felicity Kendal British sitcom produced by the BBC that ran from 1975 to 1978. It was written by Bob Larbey and John Esmonde. In 2004, it came 9th in Britain's Best Sitcom. In the United States, it aired on various

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 223
    - 155

    Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Steven O'Donnell

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 239
    - 155

    added by PeteBoyle Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Mark Heap

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 223
    - 164

    Alexander Armstrong, Peter Bowles, Penelope Keith

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 250
    - 188

    Miranda Hart, Adrian Scarborough, Sally Phillips

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 209
    - 145

    Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, David Walliams

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  40. 40
    + 240
    - 184

    Jennifer Gibney, Gary Hollywood, Sorcha Cusack

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  41. 41
    + 226
    - 125

    Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 191
    - 157

    Liz Smith, Sheridan Smith, Caroline Aherne

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 196
    - 162

    Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen

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  44. 44
    + 103
    - 66

    added by Trioxin245 Chris Barrie, Harriet Thorpe, Pippa Haywood

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  45. 45
    + 156
    - 129

    Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Frances de la Tour

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 104
    - 122

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Julie Walters, Victoria Wood, Shobna Gulati

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 165
    - 88

    Joanna Lumley, Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett

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  48. 48
    + 113
    - 32

    ranked low on reranks & added by Erik the Redd Benny Hill, Patricia Hayes, Henry McGee

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  49. 49
    + 173
    - 142

    Reg Varney, Cicely Courtneidge, Bob Grant

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 191
    - 159

    Rob Brydon, James Corden, Joanna Page

    ) open
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