Entertainment
21.9k voters

The Best British Sitcoms of All Time, Ranked

Updated April 28, 2021 173.3k votes 21.9k voters 798.5k views106 items

List RulesVote up your favorite episodic comedy shows and sitcoms 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 comedy shows 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

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales
    4,512
    1,575

    PremieredSeptember 19, 1975

    GenresSitcom

  • 2

    Only Fools and Horses

    David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst
    3,491
    1,158

    PremieredSeptember 8, 1981

    GenresSitcom

  • 3

    Blackadder

    Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed
    3,671
    1,397

    Premiered1983

    GenresSitcom, Military, Period piece, Comedy

  • 4

    Father Ted

    Dermot Morgan, Ardal O'Hanlon
    2,718
    1,384

    PremieredApril 21, 1995

    GenresSitcom

  • 5

    The IT Crowd

    Richard Ayoade, Chris O'Dowd
    2,990
    1,554

    PremieredFebruary 3, 2006

    GenresSitcom, Comedy

  • 6
    VanessaHawelu added

    Mr. Bean

    Rowan Atkinson
    3,111
    1,183

    PremieredJanuary 1, 1990

    GenresComedy

  • 7

    Porridge

    Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde
    1,564
    726

    PremieredSeptember 5, 1974

    GenresSitcom, Comedy-drama, Comedy

  • 8

    The Vicar of Dibley

    Dawn French, Gary Waldhorn
    2,617
    1,363

    PremieredMarch 22, 2002

    GenresSitcom

  • 9

    Dad's Army

    Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier
    1,739
    826

    PremieredJuly 31, 1968

    GenresComedy, War & Politics

  • 10

    One Foot in the Grave

    Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie
    1,704
    870

    PremieredJanuary 4, 1990

    GenresSitcom, Drama

  • 11

    Yes Minister

    Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne
    1,951
    955

    PremieredFebruary 25, 1980

    GenresSitcom, Politics

  • 12

    The Inbetweeners

    Simon Bird, James Buckley
    2,214
    1,151

    PremieredDecember 7, 2009

    GenresSitcom

  • 13

    Red Dwarf

    Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules
    2,238
    1,252

    PremieredFebruary 15, 1988

    GenresSitcom, Science fiction

  • 14

    Open All Hours

    Ronnie Barker, David Jason
    1,495
    780

    PremieredFebruary 20, 1976

    GenresSitcom, Entertainment

  • 15

    'Allo 'Allo!

    Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera
    2,043
    1,061

    PremieredDecember 30, 1982

    GenresComedy

  • 16

    Keeping Up Appearances

    Clive Swift, Josephine Tewson
    3,352
    1,961

    PremieredOctober 29, 1990

    GenresSitcom

  • 17

    Are You Being Served?

    Trevor Bannister, John Inman
    2,938
    1,738

    PremieredSeptember 8, 1972

    GenresComedy

  • 18
    Souti Banerjee added

    Yes, Prime Minister

    Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne
    599
    209

    PremieredJanuary 9, 1986

    GenresSitcom, Politics

  • 19

    The Black Adder

    Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson
    900
    277

    PremieredJune 15, 1983

    GenresComedy

  • 20

    The Young Ones

    Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall
    1,638
    1,007

    PremieredNovember 9, 1982

    GenresSitcom

  • 21

    Black Books

    Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey
    1,780
    1,136

    PremieredOctober 4, 2003

    GenresSitcom

  • 22

    Absolutely Fabulous

    Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley
    2,149
    1,444

    PremieredJuly 24, 1994

    GenresSitcom

  • 23

    Peep Show

    David Mitchell, Robert Webb
    1,779
    1,148

    PremieredSeptember 19, 2003

    GenresSitcom

  • 24

    Steptoe and Son

    Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett
    1,089
    683

    PremieredJanuary 5, 1962

    GenresSitcom, Entertainment

  • 25
    alanviets added

    As Time Goes By

    Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer
    1,675
    1,007

    PremieredJanuary 12, 1992

    GenresSitcom, Romantic comedy