Top 10 British TV Comedies

Script written by Aaron Cameron. Sometimes dry, sometimes satirical and always quirky, these Britcoms are our cup of tea. Whether it’s the Pythons, the staff at Fawlty Towers or the Blackadder crew, British television is full of brilliant and innovative minds that are willing to go to great lengths to get a laugh. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 British TV comedies. Special thanks to our users Jamesfan1991, Razvan Dutescu, Mohammed Tarradah, Liam Mulkerrins, ibriers 1, JoeSkids32, Nintendokid, LumiLys, Hykel Mohamed, Josh Delmonte, Dan Ogden, Austin Snodgrass, mizzGrimm18 and MineNotCraft for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Top 10 British TV Comedies


Sometimes dry, sometimes satirical and always quirky, these Britcoms are our cup of tea. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British TV comedies.

#10: “The IT Crowd” (2006-13)

Created, and written by Irish writer Graham Linehan – who had previously co-created “Father Ted” and “Black Books” – “The IT Crowd” proved there was still life in the traditional multicam sitcom format. Rife with pop-cultural references and news items, the show follows two endlessly goofy yet strangely believable nerds in their attempts to interact with, help, and avoid, the rest of the world.

#9: “Father Ted” (1995-98)

Set on a fictional Irish island, this series is packed to gills with lovable, cartoony oddballs who could never make it on the Mainland. This includes the titular Ted, his dimwitted sidekick Father Dougal McGuire and the perpetually drunken Father Jack. Given to moments of outright surrealism and pure silliness, the show initially set out to be a parody of sitcoms, but eventually it became the gold standard of the form.

#8: “Mr. Bean” (1989-95)

As much a sketch show as it is a sitcom; this is arguably Rowan Atkinson’s best-known work. Internationally popular due to its limited dialogue, Mr. Bean copes with minor setbacks in everyday life through unnecessarily difficult, and sometimes plain mean-spirited, methods. Although the later animated series implied that Bean is an alien, we prefer to see him as just a weird, weird, weird little man.

#7: “Red Dwarf” (1988-99, 2009, 2012-)

Part-“Odd Couple,” part-“Lost in Space,” this series takes place three million years in the future following an accident that killed a mining ship’s crew, and it traces the last living human’s trip back to Earth. This slob’s accompanied on his quest by a hologram of a long-dead annoying coworker, the humanoid descendent of his cat, a senile computer and an emotional mechanoid. Being a Dwarfer means experiencing zany sci-fi situations and laughs from even the simplest of exchanges.

#6: “Are You Being Served?” (1972-85)

This long-lasting BBC favorite ploughed through 10 series and delivered a solid 69 episodes. Wink-wink. Often banking on innuendo and double entendres, and frequently breaking the fourth wall, “Served” was anything but highbrow. Set in a la-de-da department store, the series – like Python before it – mined the rich British class system, from the lowly cockney to the supposed gentile officer classes.

#5: “Only Fools and Horses” (1981-03)

Who doesn’t love a good get rich quick scheme? Running a shady enterprise out of their van, Del Boy and Rodney try anything to make a few quid, from selling glowing paint, to sex dolls filled with explosive gas – and all of this, of course, happens well under the table. Failed plans of the week aside, much of the series’ humor comes from Del Boy’s various faux pas, errors, and a pinch of slapstick.

#4: “The Office” (2001-03)

There are game changers and there are game changers, and this, friends, is the latter. Adopting a mockumentary style approach, Ricky Gervais and crew ushered out the laugh track and ushered in a new era of sitcom making, influencing American shows like “Modern Family” and “Parks and Recreation.” A critical hit in its own right; “The Office” UK also spawned international remakes, including but not limited to the Steve Carell-led U.S. version.

#3: “Blackadder” (1983-89)

Originally expensive and not hugely funny, this Rowan Atkinson period comedy wasn’t exactly a hit out of the gate. All that changed with the second series, “Blackadder II,” which included a shift in characterization, a switch in time period, and a switch in writers in the form of Ben Elton. The show also benefited majorly from the come-and-go additions of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Massive change, it seems, is a very good thing.

#2: “Fawlty Towers” (1975-79)

Created as a showpiece for John Cleese and his wife at the time Connie Booth, this classic almost didn’t happen as few at the BBC found it funny. Oh boy. Playing a bombastic and rude hotel manager who sees something to hate in everyone, Cleese stood head and shoulders above his comedy peers – literally. Cleese later said each episode took six weeks to write, which perhaps explains why he bowed out after just two series.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Young Ones” (1982-84)
- “Keeping Up Appearances” (1990-95)
- “I’m Alan Partridge” (1997-2002)
- “Spaced” (1999-2001)
- “Extras” (2005-07)
- “Peep Show” (2003-)
- “Little Britain” (2003-06)
- “The Inbetweeners” (2008-10)

#1: Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-74)

Taking our top spot and proving you should always expect the Spanish Inquisition is the sketch show that changed it all. The Python sketch troupe featured a highly educated cast of veteran comedy writers and performers. And whether they were avoiding standard sketch trappings like punchlines and endings, or pushing them to the absurdest limits, the Python’s broke every rule they knew. And they knew a lot of rules.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite British Comedy? For more brilliant Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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