The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

67k votes 7.3k voters 415k views 219 items tags f p @

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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  • 51 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 2,135
    - 416

    the people's #1
    John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs

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  2. 2
    + 1,790
    - 466

    most listed
    Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Elspet Gray

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  3. 3
    + 1,184
    - 430


    Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn

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  4. 4
    + 1,482
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    Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift

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  5. 5
    + 1,360
    - 547


    Mollie Sugden, John Inman, Frank Thornton

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  6. 6
    + 1,200
    - 285


    David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber

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  7. 7
    + 1,278
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    ranked low on reranks
    Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

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  8. 8
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules

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  9. 9
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    Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson

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  10. 10
    + 1,043
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha

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  11. 11
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    Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers

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  12. 12
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook

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  13. 13
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    Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson

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  14. 14
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    ranked low on reranks & added by VanessaHawelu
    Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, Matilda Ziegler

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  15. 15
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    Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig

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  16. 16
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    Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera, Vicki Michelle

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  17. 17
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    Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Greg Davies, Blake Harrison

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  18. 18
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    Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Angus Deayton

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  19. 19
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    David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King

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  20. 20
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    Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds

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  21. 21
    + 561
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    David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Stephanie Cole

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  22. 22
    + 544
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    Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn

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  23. 23
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Gina Bellman, Jack Davenport, Sarah Alexander

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  24. 24
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    Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy, James Dreyfus

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  25. 25
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Steve Coogan, Phil Cornwell, Simon Greenall

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  26. 26
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    Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Fulton Mackay

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  27. 27
    + 459
    - 257


    Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Robert Daws

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  28. 28
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    - 219

    ranked low on reranks & added by alanviets
    Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Moira Brooker

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  29. 29
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    Rob Schneider, Dina Spybey-Waters, Ron Eldard

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  30. 30
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    added by PeteBoyle
    Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg, Julia Deakin

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  31. 31
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    ranked low on reranks
    Rowan Atkinson, Rony Robinson, Stephen Fry

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  32. 32
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    Robert Lindsay, Zoë Wanamaker, Gabriel Thomson

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  33. 33
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    Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Steven O'Donnell

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  34. 34
    + 348
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    Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett, Frank Thornton

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  35. 35
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    Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Deborah Norton

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  36. 36
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    - 242


    Michael Crawford, Dick Bentley, Michele Dotrice

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  37. 37
    + 438
    - 215

    added by Leslie2
    Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith 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

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  38. 38
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    Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston, Caroline Aherne

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  39. 39
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    Reg Varney, Stephen Lewis, Cicely Courtneidge

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  40. 40
    + 531
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    ranked low on reranks & added by VanessaHawelu
    Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Tom Baker

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  41. 41
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    Penelope Keith, Alexander Armstrong, Angela Thorne

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  42. 42
    + 472
    - 340


    Brendan O'Carroll, Jennifer Gibney, Dermot O'Neill

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  43. 43
    + 434
    - 153

    ranked low on reranks & added by Erik the Redd
    Benny Hill, Nicholas Parsons, Patricia Hayes

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  44. 44
    + 367
    - 263


    Joanna Page, Mathew Horne, Alison Steadman

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  45. 45
    + 354
    - 271


    Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant

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  46. 46
    + 261
    - 200

    often listed
    Samantha Bond, Hugh Dennis, Anna Skellern

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  47. 47
    + 519
    - 305

    ranked low on reranks
    Miranda Hart, Patricia Hodge, Tom Ellis

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  48. 48
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    often listed & added by Booksflavia
    Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding, Michael Fielding

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  49. 49
    + 197
    - 75
    Doc Martin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by keith-e-spear
    Doc Martin Trials and tribulations of a socially challenged doctor in Cornwall, England

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  50. 50
    + 368
    - 222


    Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Simon Brint

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220 +

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