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The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

Updated September 20, 2020 197.5k votes 20.8k voters 770.2k views148 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
    Fawlty Towers
    4,661
    1,573

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    Only Fools and Horses
    3,607
    1,136

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    Blackadder
    3,738
    1,472

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    Father Ted
    2,827
    1,406

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    Mr. Bean
    3,216
    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    The IT Crowd
    3,078
    1,590

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 7
    Porridge
    1,606
    700

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    One Foot in the Grave
    1,739
    872

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    The Vicar of Dibley
    2,684
    1,386

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    Dad's Army
    1,735
    806

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    Yes Minister
    1,963
    967

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 12
    'Allo 'Allo!
    2,114
    1,076

    '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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    Open All Hours
    1,534
    789

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Red Dwarf
    2,308
    1,293

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    The Inbetweeners
    2,273
    1,173

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    Keeping Up Appearances
    3,464
    2,127

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 17
    Yes, Prime Minister
    490
    132

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 18
    Are You Being Served?
    3,045
    1,891

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    The Young Ones
    1,707
    1,040

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    The Black Adder
    801
    237

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    Black Books
    1,837
    1,177

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 22
    Absolutely Fabulous
    2,210
    1,554

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    Peep Show
    1,816
    1,200

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 24
    As Time Goes By
    1,747
    1,061

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    Steptoe and Son
    1,109
    710

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button