Entertainment
21.4k voters

The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

Updated January 20, 2021 176.4k votes 21.4k voters 785.8k views106 items

List RulesEpisodic 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
    4,599
    1,568

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    Premiered1975

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    Fawlty Towers is a BBC television sitcom that was first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979....  more
  • 2
    3,539
    1,162

    Only Fools and Horses

    David Jason, Roger Lloyd-Pack

    Premiered1981

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Only Fools and Horses is a British television situation comedy created and written by John...  more
  • 3
    3,712
    1,422

    Blackadder

    Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed

    Premiered1983

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

    Blackadder is the name that encompasses four series of a BBC 1 period British sitcom, along...  more
  • 4
    2,762
    1,401

    Father Ted

    Ardal O'Hanlon, Dermot Morgan

    Premiered1995

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Father Ted is a sitcom that was produced by independent production company Hat Trick...  more
  • 5
    3,173
    1,171

    Mr. Bean

    Rowan Atkinson, Robin Driscoll

    Premiered1990

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Mr. Bean is a British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, produced by Tiger...  more
  • 6
    2,660
    1,369

    The Vicar of Dibley

    Dawn French, Liz Smith

    Premiered1994

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    The Vicar of Dibley is a BBC television situation comedy created by Richard Curtis and written...  more
  • 7
    3,027
    1,570

    The IT Crowd

    Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade

    Premiered2006

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    The IT Crowd (Channel 4, 2006) is a British sitcom created by Graham Linehan. In the basement...  more
  • 8
    1,580
    715

    Porridge

    Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde

    Premiered1974

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy-drama, Comedy

    Porridge is a British situation comedy broadcast on BBC1 from 1974 to 1977, running for three...  more
  • 9
    1,733
    825

    Dad's Army

    Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier

    Premiered1968

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Military, Comedy

    Dad's Army is a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World...  more
  • 10
    1,706
    882

    One Foot in the Grave

    Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie

    Premiered1990

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    One Foot in the Grave is a British BBC television sitcom series written by David Renwick. The...  more
  • 11
    1,951
    972

    Yes Minister

    Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne

    Premiered1980

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Satire, Comedy

    Yes, Minister (BBC2, 1980) is a political satire British sitcom. The Right Honorable James...  more
  • 12
    2,282
    1,272

    Red Dwarf

    Chris Barrie, Craig Charles

    Premiered1988

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

    Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise which primarily comprises ten series of a television...  more
  • 13
    2,229
    1,166

    The Inbetweeners

    Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Greg Davies

    Premiered2008

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Satire, Comedy

    The Inbetweeners is a British sitcom that originally aired on E4 from 2008 to 2010. Created...  more
  • 14
    2,077
    1,075

    'Allo 'Allo!

    Gorden Kaye, Carmen Silvera

    Premiered1982

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Military, Comedy

    'Allo 'Allo! is a BBC television sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992, comprising...  more
  • 15
    1,510
    794

    Open All Hours

    David Jason, Ronnie Barker

    Premiered1973

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Open All Hours is a BBC television sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC. It...  more
  • 16
    3,420
    2,036

    Keeping Up Appearances

    Patricia Routledge, Geoffrey Hughes

    Premiered1990

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Keeping Up Appearances is a BBC television sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the...  more
  • 17
    2,998
    1,812

    Are You Being Served?

    Mollie Sugden, John Inman

    Premiered1972

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Are You Being Served? is a British sitcom created and written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft,...  more
  • 18
    541
    174

    Yes, Prime Minister

    Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne

    Premiered1986

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    Yes Minister is a political satire British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn....  more
  • 19
    847
    263

    The Black Adder

    Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed

    Premiered1983

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Period piece

    The Black Adder is the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder, written by Richard Curtis...  more
  • 20
    1,675
    1,031

    The Young Ones

    Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle

    Premiered1982

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Variety show, Comedy

    The Young Ones is a British sitcom, broadcast in the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1984 in two...  more
  • 21
    2,174
    1,505

    Absolutely Fabulous

    Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley

    Premiered1992

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Absolutely Fabulous, also known as Ab Fab, is a BBC television sitcom created by Jennifer...  more
  • 22
    1,797
    1,178

    Black Books

    Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey

    Premiered2000

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Black Books is a British sitcom created by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan that was broadcast...  more
  • 23
    1,103
    703

    Steptoe and Son

    Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett

    Premiered1962

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about a...  more
  • 24
    1,774
    1,192

    Peep Show

    David Mitchell, Robert Webb

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Peep Show is a British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The television...  more
  • 25
    1,723
    1,049

    As Time Goes By

    Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer

    Premiered1992

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    As Time Goes By is a British romantic sitcom that aired on BBC One from 1992 to 2002, with...  more