10 Best BBC Sitcoms Ever

Friday, January 21 by Greg Hawood

The BBC has been turning out hilarious shows for decades, so needless to say there are many shows worthy of consideration for the 10 best BBC sitcoms ever. The sitcoms in the UK really got going in the sixties and have been a staple of English TV ever since. Some of the very best BBC sitcoms have become popular in the U.S. and other television markets around the globe. Many have even spawned American versions with the same names but U.S. actors. Ultimately the 10 shows that rank as the best BBC sitcoms ever are quite simply the funniest to have ever come out of the UK.

  1. "Are You Being Served?" - A staple of English TV and well known to fans all over the U.S. thanks to excessive airings on PBS, "Are You being Served," is the best BBC sitcom ever. Mrs Slocombe and her tales about her pussy had a profound effect on a generation of TV fans and Mr Humphreys will be forever remembered for his famous catchphrase "I'm free !" 
  2. "Blackadder II" - The second version of Rowan Atkinsons Blackadder saga was also the best. "House" fans may be surprised to see a young Hugh Laurie playing the title characters hapless sidekick and on the back of this success, Atkinson was able to find even greater fame as "Mr Bean." 
  3. "Dad's Army" - When all the young British men were of fighting on the front lines of World War II, someone had to keep the home front safe so it fell to the geriatric veterans of World War I. This laugh-a-minute slap stick show fondly recalls the antics of the old guard. 
  4. "Allo Allo" - Another World War II based comedy but this was made about a decade after "Dad's Army" during the 80s. Gordon Kaye was French resistance member, cafe owner and unlikely sex symbol. This is becoming a regular feature on PBS and remains one of the best BBC sitcoms ever. 
  5. "The Young Ones" - This show was written by Ben Elton who co-wrote "Blackadder", but unlike that history heavy show, this was all about the 80s. Vivian and his flat mates were punks in the mold of Johnny Rotten and their brainless antics helped this become one of the best BBC sitcoms ever. 
  6. "Brush strokes" – A simple enough concept but a very amusing show. Jacko was a painter who was unlucky in love and his boss was a cantankerous old miser called Lionel. The show centered on their problematic relationship. 
  7. "Blackadder IV" - The last of the "Blackadder" saga and also the darkest. This was set in World War I and the comedy came to an abrupt end in the last episode when the characters were gunned down. However, the prior six episodes make it one of the best BBC sitcoms ever. 
  8. "Fawlty Towers" – John Cleese was already a huge star thanks to his role in "Monty Pyhton". No one thought he could make anything funnier, until he introduced the world to a hotel boss from Torquay with a major anger management problem. 
  9. "Absolutely Fabulous" - This was a big hit in the U.S. and in the eyes of many Americans is the best BBC sitcom ever. Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders were two drugged up, drunk has-beens who wanted to recapture their youth and usually ended up passed out on the floor.
  10. "The Office" – It was a big success in England and then an even bigger success in the U.S. Steve Carell decided to make an American version and that has outlived the original. The British version is more subdued and sardonic that the American version and is clearly one of the best BBC sitcoms ever.
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COMMENTS

  1. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Heclapark

    you people are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’ mean you are correct.
    the best show ever, england or the U.S., is Latst Of The Summer Wine. period, finis, that’s all folks!!!


  2. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Ram9837

    Last Of The Summer Wine will forever & ever be th best.


  3. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Ram9837

    Last Of The Summer Wine will forever & ever be th best.


  4. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Minnie

    Just one question – why isn’t “As Time Goes By” on this list? This show, unlike a few of the others up there, hasn’t aged. The writing, acting, and direction are still fresh, even in reruns. I can’t say that’s true for some of the ones on your list – they look so dated – and not in a good “I Love Lucy” kind of way either.


  5. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Duleber

    This list should have “Last of the Summer Wine” & “As Time Goes By” near the top somewhere. I don’t understand how anyone could have excluded either one.


  6. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    PJefffer342

    What about “Last of the Summer Wine?” A show that was on for such a long time, must have had something to show as a very funny comedy.


  7. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Greebo

    Hugh Laurie barely appeared in Blackadder II. He played two minor characters, and nothing more. I can only think you’ve mistaken Tim McInnerny (or played Lord Percy) for a young Hugh Laurie. Hugh Laurie did, however, have a staring role in Blackadder III, where he played the Prince Regent (a young George IV), and in Blackadder Goes Fourth, where he played George, a young (and stupid) Lieutenant.


  8. January 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Bubba

    Somebody forgot Red Dwarf.