Entertainment

The Best British Sitcoms of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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.

list ordered by
1
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs
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
Blackadder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Elspet Gray
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
3
Only Fools and Horses is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Paul Barber
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
4
Are You Being Served? is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Mollie Sugden, John Inman, Frank Thornton
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
5
Keeping Up Appearances is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes, Clive Swift
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
6
The IT Crowd is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson
The IT Crowd is a British sitcom by Channel 4, written by Graham Linehan, produced by Ash Atalla and starring Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry. The "IT" ...more
7
Father Ted is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn
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
8
The Vicar of Dibley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Dawn French, Liz Smith, Emma Chambers
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
9
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
VanessaHawelu added Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll, Matilda Ziegler
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
10
Red Dwarf is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules
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
11
The Office is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook
The Office is a mockumentary that was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 9 July 2001. Created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the programme is ...more
12
Absolutely Fabulous is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha
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
13
Peep Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King
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
14
One Foot in the Grave is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Angus Deayton
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
15
Open All Hours is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
David Jason, Ronnie Barker, Stephanie Cole
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
16
The Young Ones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle, Ade Edmondson
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
17
Dad's Army is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn
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
18
Black Books is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig
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
The Inbetweeners is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Greg Davies, Blake Harrison
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
20
Yes Minister is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds
Yes, Minister is a TV program
21
The Thin Blue Line is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy, James Dreyfus
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.
22
'Allo 'Allo! is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera, Vicki Michelle
'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
23
Jeeves and Wooster is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Robert Daws
Jeeves and Wooster is a British comedy-drama series adapted by Clive Exton from P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves" stories. The series was a collaboration between Brian Eastman of Picture ...more
24
Porridge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Fulton Mackay
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
25
Coupling is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best British Sitcoms of All Time
Gina Bellman, Jack Davenport, Sarah Alexander
Coupling is a British television sitcom written by Steven Moffat that aired on BBC2 from 12 May 2000 to 14 June 2004. Produced by Hartswood Films for the BBC, the show centres on the dating, ...more