Comedy experts vote for top British sitcoms

Today I read that a panel of comedy have put together their list of top British sitcoms for the Radio Times. You can read about it here. I didn’t even know the Radio Times even existed these days. Here’s the list:

  1. Fawlty Towers (1975-9, BBC Two)
  2. Father Ted (1995-8, Channel 4)
  3. I’m Alan Partridge (1997-2002, BBC Two)
  4. Blackadder (1983-9, BBC One)
  5. Dad’s Army (1968-77, BBC One)
  6. Only Fools and Horses (1981-2003, BBC One)
  7. Porridge (1973-8, BBC One)
  8. The Royle Family (1998-2012, BBC One)
  9. Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012, BBC Two)
  10. Dinnerladies (1998-2000, BBC One)
  11. The Thick of It (2005-12, BBC Four and Two)
  12. The Office (2001-3, BBC Two)
  13. Peep Show (2003-15, Channel 4)
  14. The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007, BBC One)
  15. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-9, BBC One)
  16. The Young Ones (1982-4, BBC Two)
  17. Gavin & Stacey (2007-10, BBC Three and One)
  18. The Good Life (1975-8, BBC One)
  19. Detectorists (2014-17, BBC Four)
  20. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973-4, BBC One)

After writing my own list recently (in no particular order) I thought I’d give my thoughts on this one!

Fawlty Towers – I do love Fawlty Towers, to be fair. It does make me laugh. But I don’t feel like it has aged well. Bickering husband and wife; stupid waiter; misunderstandings… It’s all been done better since.

Father Ted and I’m Alan Partridge – absolutely awesome!

Blackadder – I remember watching Blackadder Goes Forth and loving it and feeling quite moved by the ending. All of the series of Blackadder are worth a watch and I don’t know why I didn’t have it on my list.

Dad’s Army – my dad found it funny. But how is it on the list of best comedies ever?!

Only Fools and Horses – Yes!

Porridge – I have watched Porridge a few times but don’t get why everyone raves about it. Sure, Ronnie Barker is funny in everything. But this is another nostalgic series from the Seventies. Oh, wait, now I understand the type of person who might have been on the panel!

The Royle Family – Fantastic

Absolutely Fabulous – I have tried really hard to get into this but I just don’t get why people rave over it. I really don’t.

Dinnerladies – I loved Victoria Wood. But I don’t think I’ve ever even watched this.

The Thick Of It – Somehow this has mostly bypassed me. But I don’t know why as I am sure I would have loved it.

The Office – I can’t believe this is so low on the list!

Peep Show and Vicar of Dibley – I love them both!

The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin – I remember coming home after swimming lessons to watch repeats of this. I remember loving it. I also remember not loving the Martin Clunes remake around ten years ago.

The Young Ones – I understand why people might like this as it’s a bit quirky and different. I don’t like it though.

Gavin & Stacey – Fantastic!

The Good Life – I used to enjoy this when I was younger. Put its inclusion in the nostalgia file.

Detectorists – What on earth is this? This was out quite recently but I have never heard of it! Hmm…

Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads – I don’t know what this is.

In short, I don’t agree with most of the list. Many of the programmes were very much of their time and haven’t aged well. A good comedy should be timeless and I honestly don’t think lots of these hold up well these days.

Best British TV Comedies

A conversation my brothers and I love to have is about which British comedies are our favourite. We can agree on some, but not all.

Here’s my list:

The Office

I’ve never worked in an office but this is just how I imagine it to be! David Brent is often celebrated as being one of the best TV characters of all time. But to limit The Office to just Brent is unfair. Gareth and Tim are incredible. And all the other characters add the sense of realism. The Office makes me laugh again and again.

I’m Alan Partridge

There are few TV comedies that after twenty years are still being quoted in every day conversation. There are so many great lines from series one and two of I’m Alan Partridge – you are guaranteed a laugh every time you watch!

Phoenix Nights

It’s a shame that this doesn’t seem to be repeated very often as this was such a classic programme when it was out. There are lots of subtle jokes that you spot with repeat views.

Gavin & Stacey

It took me a while before I gave this programme a watch. I think it was in series two when I first gave it a go. I instantly loved it! The depth brought to each character has taken some skill in performing and writing. Just brilliant!

Only Fools and Horses

Despite being such an old programme now, Only Fools is timeless. You can watch it again and again and you will love it.

The Inbetweeners

This week I watched the celebration of ten years of The Inbetweeners. I can’t quite believe it is ten years old. I doubt there has ever been a programme that captured exactly what it was like to be a teenage boy. Perfect. The scene on the boat on the field trip is probably the best sequence of any comedy programme ever!


It’s a shame that they spoiled Coupling with a fourth series which was nowhere near as good as the first three. Such sharp comedy writing makes Coupling absolutely brilliant!

Lead Balloon

Underrated. I think this is brilliant!

Peep Show

Two brilliantly horrible characters and such awful situations make this an enduring classic. Every episode is perfect! My favourite is the wedding episode at the end of series four. Apparently this is Channel 4’s longest running comedy. Easy to see why.

Father Ted

Such brilliant characters. Such timeless comedy!

Friday Night Dinner

FND makes me laugh out loud in every episode. It is real-life and surreal all at the same time. Absolutely hilarious!


Extras gets better and better as it goes on. Well worth a watch!

The Royle Family (not including the awful Christmas specials)

The Royle Family was the first show of its kind. It was filmed almost in true time, there was no laughter track and brilliant characterisation. It paved the way for shows like The Office to come along later. Yes, they ruined the show with rubbish Christmas specials. But the original three series are three of the best episodes of comedy you could ever watch.

Men Behaving Badly

Whilst MBB hasn’t aged well at all, I’ve added this to the list for all of the memories I associate with show. It was one of my favourite comedies as a teenager.

The Vicar of Dibley

I still love this programme. The daft humour and absurd characters are just so enjoyable to watch. Easy viewing!