Top 10 Best British Sitcoms
Posted by Beep the Meep on Thu, 31 Mar 2011.
This week or so, we’ve had a few discussions/arguments/wars here at Jitty HQ over what is the best sitcom from us Brits. We’ve fought and argued over these, but hopefully you agree. If you don’t…write on the forums!
Ten: After You’ve Gone
Ok, yell, at your PC’s if you want, but this mainstream sitcom was funny, clever and was a great way to spend a Friday evening. We got to see a new side to Nicholas Lyndhurst and find new comic talent in Ryan Simpson who plays Lyndhurst’s son.
Nine: Yes Minister/Prime Minister
The show that taught every budding satire writer how to do satire, Yes Minister, and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister is a classic of this sub-genre of comedy. It’s memorably characters; Sir Humphries and Jim Hacker are some of the best written and acted in British comedy history.
Eight: The Vicar of Dibley
The show about a women vicar was very topical in 1994 when the show first aired. The lead actress, Dawn French, who the role was written for, played this lady of the church as a young vixen in the vestry. Her great supporting cast including, Emma Chambers and Trevor Peacock as the dumb Alice and the no-no-no yes Jim. Each character is carefully written, with each episode revealing another mishap in a typical English village
Seven: My Family
It had to be here somewhere, this witty domestic sitcom starring two of the greatest comedy actors of all time, Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker. They lead this sitcom with some hilarious one liners and laugh out loud gags. We also found new talent with Kris Marshall who was wonderful as Nick.
Six: Not Going Out
A modern marvel, this Lee Mack lead show, is a fantastic mix of wordplay and one liners. The writing on this show is excellent, with the actors working closely with the cast. In fact many of the gags are written by the cast themselves. The wordplay of Tim Vine is what he does best. Katy Wax and Miranda Hart are brilliant as supporting characters, each with their own little quirks.
Outnumbered is a genius idea, an improvised script, letting the child actors speak naturally. I think that it’s the kids of this show which make it brilliant, especially young Karen. It’s interesting that this young actress had no previous acting experience, but come to the screen as confidant as someone who has trained at the RADA since birth. The parents, Sue and Pete, really help gel this family set up together. In fact I would go so far to say that the writers, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins, have created the family sitcom that actually reflects family life.
Four: The Good Life
The neighbours that love and loath each other, the Goods and the Leadbetters, one trying to grow in society, the other wanting to grow its own sweet corn, the ultimate chalk and cheese relationship. Some highlights of this show include Margo in the mud and the Good’s pig giving birth. Although they lead such different lives, the two couples all was manage to make friends and are always there for each other…except late at night!
A really modern classic, writer and star, Miranda Hart, has taken every part we love in a traditional British sitcom motor car and given it a good rub down. Here the studio audience laugh, clap and cheer at the daily antics of Miranda and her best friend Stevie as they go about their mad ways, playing games like “Find Miranda and “Bubble Wrap Pop”. We also have the cast wave good bye and dance as the credits appear. My favourite line from this show is Penny’s, Miranda’s mum, “Such Fun!”
Two: Are You Being Served?
This is my favourite of classic sitcoms. A simple set up, a clothes department in a posh London sitcom, the key to this comedy is the range of colourful characters. Captain Peacock and Mrs Slocombe are the leads of the men and women departments keeping an eye over Miss Brahms and Mr Humphries (“I’m Free!”). The character I find the most funny is Mr Lucas who gives the best one liners and gags.
Blackadder’s success is that it can be set in any period, but still feature the same cast. Rowan Atkinson’s title role is one of the most developed characters in sitcom history, starting out as an idiotic prince, but later becoming more and more devious and clever. His sidekick, the once clever but now stupid, Baldrick (Tony Robinson) has some of the best lines and quotes in sitcom history, which even today some people over age of 21 still use daily. This show was also the show that first gave us light to amazing talent such as Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson and Hugh Laurie.
Now I’ve gone through all these it’s a shame it’s a Top 10. If I could do a Top 15 we could chat about greats such as Only Fools and Horses & Porridge. But then we’ve had to do a Top 20 to include marvels like Open All Hours and To the Manor Born. And why didn’t we just do general comedy and talk about fab series such as Have I Got News For You and QI. Oh this could go on and on…