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
    + 1033
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    the people's #1 John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 988
    - 216

    Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 696
    - 318

    John Inman, Frank Thornton, Mollie Sugden

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 732
    - 319

    most listed Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 719
    - 206

    John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 595
    - 240

    Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 522
    - 240

    Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Chloë Annett

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 713
    - 256

    Richard Ayoade, Chris O'Dowd, Matt Berry

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 551
    - 321

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Helena Bonham Carter, Joanna Lumley, Suzi Quatro

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 537
    - 166

    David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 524
    - 213

    Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 485
    - 304

    Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 367
    - 185

    Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 433
    - 204

    Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 497
    - 96

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 395
    - 195

    Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Blake Harrison, James Buckley

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 370
    - 182

    Kenneth Connor, Gorden Kaye, Sam Kelly

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 349
    - 220

    Rachel Blanchard, David Mitchell, Olivia Colman

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 345
    - 199

    Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington, Derek Fowlds

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 299
    - 123

    Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy, James Dreyfus

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 275
    - 148

    David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Barbara Flynn

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 233
    - 216

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 288
    - 194

    Gina Bellman, Jack Davenport, Sarah Alexander

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 257
    - 150

    Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 308
    - 110

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

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 243
    - 164

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 228
    - 131

    David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Christopher Biggins

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 217
    - 175

    often listed Zoë Wanamaker, Robert Lindsay, Daniela Denby-Ashe

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 294
    - 117

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

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  30. 30
    + 259
    - 124

    ranked low on reranks & added by VanessaHawelu Tom Baker, Anthony Head, David Walliams

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 201
    - 154

    Michael Crawford, Dick Bentley, Patrick McAlinney

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 215
    - 152

    Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Steven O'Donnell

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 245
    - 141

    Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 215
    - 100

    added by alanviets Judi Dench, Joan Sims, Geoffrey Palmer

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 231
    - 148

    added by PeteBoyle Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Mark Heap

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 215
    - 123

    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
  37. 37
    + 213
    - 156

    Alexander Armstrong, Peter Bowles, Penelope Keith

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 245
    - 180

    Miranda Hart, Adrian Scarborough, Sally Phillips

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 204
    - 138

    Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, David Walliams

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 185
    - 149

    Liz Smith, Sheridan Smith, Caroline Aherne

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 219
    - 119

    Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 232
    - 178

    Jennifer Gibney, Gary Hollywood, Sorcha Cusack

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 190
    - 155

    Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 95
    - 62

    added by Trioxin245 Chris Barrie, Harriet Thorpe, Pippa Haywood

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 145
    - 126

    Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Frances de la Tour

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 160
    - 139

    Reg Varney, Cicely Courtneidge, Bob Grant

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 185
    - 153

    Rob Brydon, James Corden, Joanna Page

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 99
    - 29

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

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 122
    - 108

    often listed Samantha Bond, Hugh Dennis, Danni Bennatar

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 99
    - 117

    Julie Walters, Victoria Wood, Shobna Gulati

    ) open
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