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The Best British Sitcoms of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated December 2, 2019 229.5k votes 20.1k voters 755.4k views 152 items

List Rules 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 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs

Premiered: 1975

Genres (Tv): Comedy

Fawlty Towers is a BBC television sitcom that was first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979. Twelve episodes were made. The show was written by John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth, both of ...more
2
Only Fools and Horses is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber

Premiered: 1981

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Only Fools and Horses is a British television situation comedy created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1991, ...more
3
Blackadder is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Elspet Gray

Premiered: 1983

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Military, Period piece, Comedy

Blackadder is the name that encompasses four series of a BBC 1 period British sitcom, along with several one-off instalments. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the anti-hero ...more
4
Father Ted is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn

Premiered: 1995

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Father Ted is a sitcom that was produced by independent production company Hat Trick Productions for British broadcaster Channel 4. Written jointly by Irish writers Arthur Mathews and Graham ...more
5
The IT Crowd is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

The IT Crowd (Channel 4, 2006) is a British sitcom created by Graham Linehan. In the basement office of a corporation, the three staff members of its IT (Richard Ayoade, Chris O'Dowd, and ...more
6
The Vicar of Dibley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers

Premiered: 1994

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Vicar of Dibley is a BBC television situation comedy created by Richard Curtis and written for actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit ...more
7
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
VanessaHawelu added Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, Matilda Ziegler

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Mr. Bean is a British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and starring Atkinson as the title character. The sitcom consisted of 15 episodes ...more
8
The Inbetweeners is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Greg Davies, Blake Harrison

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Satire, Comedy

The Inbetweeners is a British sitcom that originally aired on E4 from 2008 to 2010. Created and written by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, the show followed the life of suburban teenager Will ...more
9
One Foot in the Grave is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Angus Deayton

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

One Foot in the Grave is a British BBC television sitcom series written by David Renwick. The show ran for six series, plus seven Christmas specials and two Comic Relief sketches, over an ...more
10
Porridge is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Fulton Mackay

Premiered: 1974

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Porridge is a British situation comedy broadcast on BBC1 from 1974 to 1977, running for three series, two Christmas specials and a feature film also titled Porridge. Written by Dick Clement and ...more
11
'Allo 'Allo! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera, Vicki Michelle

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Military, Comedy

'Allo 'Allo! is a BBC television sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992, comprising eighty-five episodes. A repeat is aired in the 'Afternoon Classics' on BBC2 since 27 March 2015. The story ...more
12
Keeping Up Appearances ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Keeping Up Appearances is a BBC television sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC, centred on the life of eccentric social climber Hyacinth Bucket, who insists that her surname is ...more
13
Red Dwarf is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules

Premiered: 1988

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise which primarily comprises ten series of a television science fiction sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1993 and from 1997 to 1999, and on Dave ...more
14
Are You Being Served? is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Mollie Sugden, John Inman, Frank Thornton

Premiered: 1972

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Are You Being Served? is a British sitcom created and written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, with contributions from Michael Knowles and John Chapman, for the BBC. The series follows the ...more
15
Dad's Army is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn

Premiered: 1968

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Military, Comedy

Dad's Army is a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on BBC television from 1968 to 1977. ...more
16
Open All Hours is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Stephanie Cole

Premiered: 1973

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Open All Hours is a BBC television sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC. It ran for 26 episodes in four series, which premiered in 1976, 1981, 1982 and 1985. The programme ...more
17
The Young Ones is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Variety show, Comedy

The Young Ones is a British sitcom, broadcast in the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1984 in two six-part series. Shown on BBC2, it featured anarchic, offbeat humour which helped bring alternative ...more
18
Black Books is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig

Premiered: 2000

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Black Books is a British sitcom created by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan that was broadcast on Channel 4 from 2000 to 2004. Starring Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig, the series is set in ...more
19
Absolutely Fabulous is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha

Premiered: 1992

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Absolutely Fabulous, also known as Ab Fab, is a BBC television sitcom created by Jennifer Saunders, based on an original idea by her and Dawn French, and written by Saunders, who plays the ...more
20
Yes Minister is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds

Premiered: 1980

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Satire, Comedy

Yes, Minister (BBC2, 1980) is a political satire British sitcom. The Right Honorable James Hacker (Paul Eddington) has landed the plum job of Cabinet Minister to the Department of Administration ...more
21
Peep Show is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Peep Show is a British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The television programme is written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, with additional material by Mitchell and Webb, amongst ...more
22
As Time Goes By is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
alanviets added Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Moira Brooker

Premiered: 1992

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

As Time Goes By is a British romantic sitcom that aired on BBC One from 1992 to 2002, with reunion specials in 2005. Starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, it follows the relationship between ...more
23
The Office is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Drama, Comedy

The Office (BBC Two, 2001) is a British television mockumentary sitcom created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The series follows the day-to-day lives of office ...more
24
Steptoe and Son is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Steptoe and Son Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett, Frank Thornton

Premiered: 1962

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about a father-and-son rag-and-bone business. They live on Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherd's Bush, ...more
25
The Thin Blue Line is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy, James Dreyfus

Premiered: 1995

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Thin Blue Line is a British sitcom starring Rowan Atkinson set in a police station that ran for two series on the BBC from 1995 to 1996. It was written by Ben Elton.