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British Comedy

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This is based on this thread, originally filtered through an html to wiki filter.

For the past 50 years, The British have made some of the funniest Comedy TV Shows. Come inside for A Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy.

[Hover over the Wikipedia links for show descriptions. Noteworthy shows highlighted with star (*). All links are double-checked but BBC seems to be on the war path, resulting in removed clips.]

Contents

1950s

The Goon Show (1951-1960):

The Goon Show was a popular and influential radio comedy produced by the BBC from 1951 - 1960, starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. (from this thread)

Listen to the streaming audio | The Case of the Mukkinese Battle Horn (1956) - part 1, part 2, part 3. | The Running, Jumping, and Standing Still Film (1959) - part 1, part 2. | The Last Goon Show Of All (1972) - part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. | The Telegoons (puppet versions) - Napoleon's Piano


Hancock's Half Hour (1954-1961):

Hancock’s Half Hour was a ground-breaking and influential BBC radio comedy series of the 1950s, starring Tony Hancock, with Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and Kenneth Williams. From 1956 it also became a television comedy series.

Crown Vs Sid James | Assorted sketches

1960s

Steptoe and Son (1962-1974):

Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about two rag and bone men living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherd's Bush, London. Four series were aired on the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. Its theme tune, “Old Ned”, was composed by Ron Grainer. In a 2004, BBC, poll to find “Britain’s Best Sitcom”, Steptoe and Son was voted 15th best British sitcom of all time.

Upstairs, Downstairs, Upstairs, Downstairs | And So To Bed


That Was The Week That Was (1962-1963):

Intro | Desmond Leslie Punches Bernard Levin


Not Only But Also (1965-1971):

Not Only... But Also was a popular 1960s BBC British television series starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

John Lennon | Best of compilation | Father and Roger (better version) | North Circular | Superthunderstingcar


Till Death Us Do Part (1965-1975):

Till Death Us Do Part (also known as Til Death Us Do Part) was a BBC television sitcom series written by Johnny Speight that ran from 1966 until 1975. The programme starred Warren Mitchell as the racist East End misogynist (and Rudyard Kipling lookalike) Alf Garnett. Also appearing in the series were Dandy Nichols as Alf's long-suffering wife, Else Garnett, Una Stubbs as Rita, his daughter, and Anthony Booth as Mike, his layabout son-in-law, whose socialist leanings were the cue for many of Alf's more offensive outbursts.

1972 Christmas special | Else & Rita are very drunk | Christmas Dinner | Alf gets in a pub fight


The Likely Lads (1964-1966):

The Likely Lads was a hit British sitcom created and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Twenty episodes were made and broadcast in all, over three seasons, by the BBC between December 1964 and July 1966. However, only eight of these shows have survived intact.

[no clips found]


Dad's Army (1968-1977):

Dad’s Army was a British sitcom about the Home Guard in the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on BBC television between 1968 and 1977.

If The Cap Fits | Menace From The Deep | Don't tell him Pike (and other sketches)


Morecambe and Wise (1968-1983):

Morecambe and Wise were a famous British comic double act comprising Eric Morecambe OBE and Ernie Wise OBE. The act lasted four decades until Morecambe's death in 1984. They are widely considered to be the most successful double act in Britain for generations. In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, The Morecambe and Wise Show was placed 14th. In September 2006, they were voted by the general public as number 2 in a poll of TV's Greatest Stars.

The Original Morecambe and Wise | The Breakfast Sketch | In bed | Several sketches | Eric and the Bee


On the Buses (1969-1973):

On The Buses was a British situation comedy created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney. The pair had already had successes with The Rag Trade and Meet the Wife for the BBC. The BBC rejected this offering and so the pair turned to ITV station London Weekend Television. The show was accepted and although the critics disliked it, the show was a huge hit with the viewers.

An episode from 1969 | Christmas Duty episode


* Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974):

Monty Python’s Flying Circus (also known as Flying Circus, MPFC or, during the final series, just Monty Python) is a BBC sketch comedy program from the Monty Python comedy team, and the group's initial claim to fame. The show was noted for its surreal plots, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags, and sketches without punchlines. It also featured the animations of Terry Gilliam which were often sequenced or merged with live action.

Season Two Intro | Dead Parrot Sketch | Spam | Frontiers in Medicine | Argument Clinic | Silly walk | Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit | How Not To Be Seen | The Funniest Joke In The World


(Spike Milligan's) Q (1969-1982):

Spike Milligan's Q was a surreal television comedy sketch show which ran from 1969 to 1983 on BBC2. The first and third series ran for seven episodes, with the remainder running for six episodes, each of which was 30 minutes long. Each series was numbered, starting with Q5 - possibly because the project to construct the Cunard liner QE2, launched in September 1967, was dubbed Q4 - and continuing in ascending order, through to Q9. The final series was renamed There's a Lot of It About, after, according to Milligan's autobiography, the BBC felt the public might find Q10 too confusing. The Lord's Prayer Epilogue | The Fresh Fruit Song | Kilt Chimes | Sandwich


* The Benny Hill Show (1969-1989):

The Benny Hill Show featured Benny Hill in mostly short sketches (often portraying a protagonist), along with Thames Television show regulars Henry McGee, Bob Todd, Jackie Wright, Nicholas Parsons (in the early years), Jenny Lee-Wright, Rita Webb and others. Hill often demonstrated his versatility as an actor by appearing in vastly different costumes as well as in female character. Slapstick and double entendre were his hallmark. Some critics accused the show of sexism, but Hill often pointed out that the female characters were all intelligent and kept their dignity, while the men chasing them were all buffoons.

Hospital | The Life of Maurice Dribble | 1978 episode | The Lover | Casanova

1970s

The Two Ronnies (1971-1987):

The Two Ronnies is a British sketch show that aired on BBC One from 1971 to 1987. It featured the double act Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, the “two Ronnies” of the title. [...] The show revolved around comic sketches in which Barker and Corbett appeared together and separately, with various other additions giving the programme the feeling of a variety show.

Fork handles | Squash match | Crossed Lines | Opticians | Swedish Made Simple/FUNEX


Are You Being Served? (1972-1985):

Are You Being Served? was a long-running British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. It was set in the men's and women's department of a large fictional London store called Grace Brothers. It was mainly written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, with contributions by Michael Knowles and John Chapman. The idea for the show came from Lloyd's brief stint working at Simpsons of Piccadilly in the early 1950s, a classy clothing store which traded for over 60 years until 1999.

No Sale episode | A Change is as Good as a Rest | By Appointment episode


* Love Thy Neighbour (1972-1976):

Love Thy Neighbour was a British sitcom which ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1976, made by Thames Television for ITV. It starred Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. There was also a movie spin-off and a brief sequel set in Australia. The series (and movie) was created and largely written by Vince Powell and Harry Driver, and was based on a suburban white working class couple who unwittingly found themselves living next door to a black couple, and the white couple's attempts to come to terms with this.

Getting the bedroom suite


Last of the Summer Wine (1973-):

Last of the Summer Wine is a British National Television Award winning sitcom which airs on BBC One and is written by Roy Clarke and produced and directed by Alan J. W. Bell. [...] Set and filmed in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England, the plot centres around a trio of older men, the lineup of whom has changed over the years, but originally consisted of the scruffy and child-like Compo, deep-thinking and meek Clegg, and authoritarian and snobbish Blamire, who was replaced by the quirky war veteran Foggy after two series in 1976.

First Contact | 30 years of Last of the summer wine

Porridge (1973-1977):

Porridge is a British sitcom that was broadcast on BBC1 from 1973 to 1977, running for three series, two Christmas specials, as well as a feature film. Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it stars Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale as two criminals in the fictional HMP Slade in Cumberland.

Illegal Game Night | What's a Rilk? | Gentleman Prisoner | Stealing Pineapple Chunks


Rising Damp (1974-1978):

Rising Damp was a UK television sitcom produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV, first broadcast from 1974 to 1978. It was adapted for television by Eric Chappell from his well-received 1971 stage play, The Banana Box (retained as the working title early in the series). The series was the highest-ranking ITV sitcom on the 100 Best Sitcoms poll run in 2004 by the BBC.

Things that Go Bump in the Night | A Body Like Mine | Come On in the Water's Lovely


* It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974-1981):

It Ain't Half Hot Mum was a British sitcom about the adventures of a Royal Artillery Concert Party, broadcast between 1974 and 1981, and written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the creators of Dad's Army. It was set in British India and Burma, towards the end of the Second World War. [...] The first four series of It Ain't Half Hot Mum were set at the Royal Artillery Depot Deolali, a place where British soldiers stayed before being posted up the jungle. The Royal Artillery Concert Party, consisting of several soldiers who would rather sing, dance and dress up as women than fight, are stationed permanently in Deolali to keep the troops entertained. In the first episode of the fifth series, the concert party are posted up the jungle, and from then on It Ain't Half Hot Mum is set in Tin Min, Burma close to the front line.

The Curse of The Sadhu | The Road To Bannu | Lofty's Little Friend | My Lovely Boy


* Fawlty Towers (1975-1979):

Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Only twelve episodes were produced, but the series has had a lasting and powerful influence on later shows. [...] Fawlty Towers was inspired by the Monty Python team's stay in the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay in May 1970. Cleese and Booth stayed on at the hotel after filming for the Python show had finished. The owner, Donald Sinclair, was very rude, throwing a bus timetable at a guest who asked when the next bus to town would arrive, and placing Eric Idle's suitcase behind a wall in the garden on the suspicion that it contained a bomb (it actually contained a ticking alarm clock).

The Germans | Basil Snaps | Too Much Butter | I Speak English | How to manage your staff


The Good Life (1975-1978):

The Good Life is a British sitcom that aired on BBC1 from 1975 to 1978. It was written by Bob Larbey and John Esmonde. In 2004, it came 9th in Britain's Best Sitcom. [...] On his 40th birthday, Tom Good gives up his job as a draughtsman in a company that makes plastic toys for breakfast cereal packets as he is no longer able to take his job seriously. Their house is fully paid for, so he and his wife Barbara make a decision to live a sustainable, simple and self-sufficient lifestyle while staying in their beloved home in The Avenue, Surbiton. [...] Their actions horrify their kindly but conventional next-door neighbours, Margo and Jerry Leadbetter. Originally, Margo and Jerry were intended to be minor characters, but their relationship with one another and with the Goods soon become an essential element of every episode.

from The Green Door episode | Margo V Jerry | Margo loses it!


* The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-1979):

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is a novel and British sitcom starring Leonard Rossiter in the title role. Both book and TV series were written by David Nobbs, and the screenplay for the first series was adapted by Nobbs from the novel, though certain subplots in the novel were considered too dark or risqué for television and toned down or omitted from the TV series, a case in point being the relationship between Perrin's daughter and his brother-in-law.

Title Sequence | Grot | Weekend Safari Trip | Ravioli | Forces of anarchy


Open All Hours (1976 and 1985):

Open All Hours was a BBC sitcom written by Roy Clarke which ran for four series (26 episodes in all) between 1976 and 1985, with a pilot episode from the Seven of One series in 1973. In 2004, the series was voted eighth in Britain's Best Sitcom. [...] The series centres around a small grocer's shop in Balby, a suburb of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The store's owner, Albert Arkwright (played by Ronnie Barker), is a middle-aged miser with a stammer and a knack of being able to sell anything and everything to any passing visitor to his shop.

[no clips found]

George and Mildred (1976-1979):

George and Mildred was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1980. It was a spin-off of Man About the House and starred Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce as an ill-matched married couple, George and Mildred Roper. [...] George and Mildred Roper have left their old house after receiving a compulsory purchase order from the Council and move to 46 Peacock Crescent in Hampton Wick. While Mildred enjoys moving up in the world socially, lazy and unemployed George remains true to his working class roots and also continues to show a lack of interest in sexual relations with Mildred.

All Work and No Pay | House for Sale | You Must Have Showers


To the Manor Born (1979-1981):

In To the Manor Born Penelope Keith, who had became famous for playing Margo Leadbetter in the suburban sitcom The Good Life, plays Audrey fforbes-Hamilton, an upper-class woman who, upon the death of her husband, has to move out of her beloved manor house. The manor is then bought by Richard DeVere, played by Peter Bowles, a nouveau riche millionaire supermarket owner.

Raising Money | After The Funeral | Watch The 2007 Christmas Special Episode


* Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979-1982):

It featured a new generation of young comedians, principally Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, and helped to bring alternative comedy to the mainstream. Rather than being written by a single team of writers, it gave virtually anyone involved in UK comedy scriptwriting a chance to demonstrate their talents, creaming the best of the contributions. Its format was similar to that of a forerunner, Monty Python's Flying Circus, including sketches that lasted from a few seconds to several minutes.

Gerald the Gorilla | Darts | Barry Manilow | The Judge | General Synod's Life of Christ | Songs Of Praise | Bathroom Plan

1980s

* Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (1980-1988):

Yes Minister is a multi-award winning satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. The sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran from 1986 to 1988. In total this made 38 episodes, all but one of which last half an hour.

How's the Environment? | The Empty Hospital | Complete Confidence | Planes, Trains and Boats | A Clear Conscience | Former PM's Memoirs | Who Reads the Papers


Hi-de-Hi! (1980-1988):

Hi-de-Hi! was a popular British sitcom set in a holiday camp that aired for nine series from 1980 to 1988. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who had previously written Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. The title was the phrase used to greet the campers at events, and in early episodes was written Hi de Hi.

Bad Acting?


Only Fools and Horses (1981-2003):

Only Fools and Horses is a British television sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, and made and broadcast by the BBC. Seven series were originally broadcast in the UK between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003. After a relatively slow start the show went on to achieve consistently high ratings, and the 1996 episode “Time On Our Hands” holds the record for the highest UK audience for a sitcom episode.

Time On Our Hands episode | May the Force Be With You


* 'Allo 'Allo! (1982-1992):

'Allo 'Allo! was a long-running British sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992 comprising eighty-five episodes. Set during World War II, 'Allo 'Allo tells the story of René Artois, a French café owner in the village of Nouvion (the town square scenes were filmed at Lynford Hall, Norfolk). Germans have occupied the village and stolen all of its valuable artifacts.

The Season One Pilot | Dance Of Hitler Youth | The Nicked Knockwurst episode


The Young Ones (1982-1984):

The Young Ones was a popular British sitcom, first seen in 1982, which aired on BBC2. Its anarchic, offbeat humour helped bring alternative comedy to television in the 1980s and made household names of its writers and performers. Soon after, it was shown on MTV in its early days, being one of the first non-music television shows to appear on the fledgling channel.

Neil's Letter | Exploding Kettle | Entrance | Teetering Crockery


* Blackadder (1983-1989):

Blackadder is the generic name that encompasses four series of an acclaimed BBC One historical sitcom, along with several one-off installments. The first series was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, while subsequent episodes were written by Curtis and Ben Elton. The shows were produced by John Lloyd, and starred Rowan Atkinson as the eponymous anti-hero, Edmund Blackadder, and Tony Robinson as his sidekick/dogsbody, Baldrick.

Lord Flashheart | Amy and Amiability | MacBeth | Flashheart Redux | The Cavalier Years Special | General Hospital | Private Baldrick singing


Spitting Image (1984-1996):

Spitting Image was a satirical puppet show that ran on the United Kingdom's ITV television network from 1984 to 1996.

Never Met a Nice South African | Madness sing Our House spoof | Every Bomb You Drop | Princess Di sings Morrissey


Chance in a Million (1984-1986):

The hapless Tom Chance meets his long-suffering girlfriend, Alison Little, by chance. This happens when Tom Chance goes to the same pub on a blind date to meet a girl (who is also called Alison), that Alison Little has arranged to meet her cousin Tom (for the first time since they were young children).

[no clips found]

* French & Saunders (1987-2007):

French & Saunders is a British sketch comedy television show written by and starring Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, and also the name by which the performers are known on the rare occasions when they appear elsewhere as a double act. [...] Widely popular in the early 1990s, the show was given one of the highest budgets in BBC history to create detailed spoofs and satires of pop culture, movies, celebrities and art. [...] The show features an unusual style of humour, where many otherwise normal parody sketches are permeated with an underlying theme (which somewhat breaks the fourth wall) of the jealousy that French has for Saunders, and the superiority complex of Saunders.

ABBA | Harry Potter | Bergman | Star Wars | American Retirement | Ballerinas | Lord of the Rings | Madonna


* The New Statesman (1987-1994):

The New Statesman was an award-winning British sitcom of the late 1980s and early 1990s satirising the Conservative government of the time. It was written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran at the request of, and as a starring vehicle for, its principal actor, Rik Mayall. Many people consider the show a hybrid of Yes Minister and another Rik Mayall sitcom, The Young Ones.

Sex Is Wrong | Happiness is a Warm Gun | Passport To Freedom | Fatal Extraction Episode


Chelmsford 123 (1988,1990):

The series was located in the British town of Chelmsford in AD 123, and concerned the power struggle between Roman governor Aulus Paulinus (Jimmy Mulville) and the British chieftain, Badvoc (Rory McGrath). Britain is a miserable place, cold and wet – just the place to exile Aulus for accidentally insulting the Emperor's horse, but also give him something useful to do. Aulus was a rather delicate Roman, who was usually outwitted by the scheming Badvoc, who hadn't had a haircut for twenty-five years.

Another Woss's Tavern Scene | Rain Dance Scene | Aulus Sees A Shrink | They Call Me Mungo


* Red Dwarf (1988-1999):

Red Dwarf is a British science fiction comedy franchise, the primary form of which comprises eight series of a television sitcom that ran on BBC2 between 1988 and 1999, and which has achieved a global cult following. It was created and originally written by Grant Naylor (a so-called 'gestalt entity', in reality a collective pseudonym for the writing duo Rob Grant and Doug Naylor). The show's origins come from a recurring sketch, Dave Hollins: Space Cadet, in the mid-1980s BBC Radio 4 comedy show Son Of Cliché, also scripted by Grant and Naylor.

Wilma Flintstone | The Trial | Awoken | Rimmer & Cat Inquisition | The Kiss


Absolutely (1989-1993):

Absolutely was a popular United Kingdom television comedy sketch show shown on Channel 4.

Calum Gilhouley | McGlashan ranting | Football cup draws | The Scots invented everything

1990s

* Keeping Up Appearances (1990-1995):

Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom starring Patricia Routledge as social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket. It aired on BBC1 from 1990 to 1995. Keeping Up Appearances was written by Roy Clarke, who also wrote Last of the Summer Wine and Open All Hours. In 2004, it came 12th in Britain's Best Sitcom. [...] Hyacinth Bucket is a social-climbing snob who insists her last name is pronounced “bouquet”. She spends most of her time trying to impress her neighbours and friends by boasting about her wealthy sister Violet, and pretending to be of a more “aristocratic” class. Simultaneously, Hyacinth tries desperately to avoid her lower-class relatives who frequently turn up, either on the woman's doorstep (a suburban bungalow situated on Blossom Avenue), or in public places, embarrassing Hyacinth and thus sabotaging her hopes of climbing the social ladder.

The Nicer China | Into The Canal | Christian boyfriend


Vic Reeves Big Night Out (1990-1991):

ic Reeves Big Night Out was a cult British comedy stage show and later TV series which ran on Channel 4 for two series in 1990 and 1991, as well as a New Year special. It marked the beginnings of the collaboration between Vic Reeves (real name Jim Moir) and Bob Mortimer and started their Vic and Bob comedy double act.

Lard for Laughs | Judge Nutmeg | Lister | Tinker's Rucksack | Action Image Exchange


One Foot in the Grave (1990-2000):

One Foot in the Grave was a BBC television situation comedy series written by David Renwick. The show ran for six series, with several specials, over a ten year period, from 1990 to 2000. In addition, four episodes were remade for BBC Radio 2 and the series also inspired a novel. [...] The series featured the exploits of Victor Meldrew, an irascible pensioner with attitude. In the first episode, Victor, played by Scottish-born actor Richard Wilson, was prematurely retired from his job as a security guard being replaced by an automated machine. From then on the series followed his struggle to keep himself occupied, often with little success.

The Pit And The Pendulum | Secret of the Seven Sorcerers | Comic Relief 2001 sketch


Mr. Bean (1990-1995):

The series followed the exploits of Mr. Bean, described by Atkinson as “a child in a grown man's body”, in solving various problems presented by everyday tasks and often causing disruption in the process. [...] The title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a slow-witted, sometimes ingenious, childishly selfish and generally likeable buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and connivances to everyday tasks. He lives alone in his small flat in Highbury, North London, and is almost always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and skinny red tie. Mr. Bean rarely speaks, and when he does it is generally only a few mumbled words.

Christmas | In line | Wedding | Meets the queen | Restaurant


Have I Got News for You (1990-):

Have I Got News for You is a British television panel show; produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. It is based loosely on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz, and has been running since 1990. The show has cultivated a reputation for sailing close to the wind in matters of libel with its satirical, light-hearted format.

Pot Noodles | Goodbye Angus | Guy Goma | Boris Johnson Hosts


* Drop the Dead Donkey (1990-1998):

Drop the Dead Donkey was a situation comedy that ran on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1998. It was set in the offices of “Globelink News”, a fictional TV news company. Recorded close to transmission, it tried to use current news events as a means of giving the programme a greater sense of realism. It was created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. The series had an ensemble cast, making stars of Haydn Gwynne, Stephen Tompkinson and Neil Pearson.

1993 episode | Damien In The Field | Firing Squad | Poor Old Man On A Bike | Report On Recession


* Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2005):

Absolutely Fabulous was an Emmy and BAFTA winning British sitcom written by and starring Jennifer Saunders and co-starring Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks. [...] Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone are two immature, prosperous, but preposterous substance-abusing fashion and fad-obsessed Londoners who value fame and style over substance (unless they are controlled substances). Saffron, Edina's daughter, provides the persistently dour voice of Monsoon and Stone's super-ego. Edina and Saffy live in a house in Holland Park (although the house is seemingly very close to Shepherds Bush, much to Edina's chagrin), with Patsy spending most of her time there as well.

The Hospital episode | Holidays | In Court | Patsy spooks Kalishia Clegg


Men Behaving Badly (1992-1998):

Men Behaving Badly is a British comedy, which first broadcast in 1992 on the ITV network, however moved to BBC One (and a later timeslot) from the third series onwards. It was written and created by Simon Nye, who also wrote a book in the 1980s, which forms the basis for much of the first series. [...] The first series features Martin Clunes as Gary Strang, and Harry Enfield as his flat mate, Dermot Povey. From series two onwards, Enfield is replaced by Neil Morrissey as Tony Smart, who resumes Dermot's role as the immature under-achiever, perpetually behind in his rent, and hopelessly in love with Deborah, who lives in the flat above.

Wearing Glasses | Rich and Fat | The Good Pub Guide | Christmas Special


* Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge (1994):

Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge (also known as Knowing Me, Knowing You or abbreviated to KMKY...WAP) is a British comedy show first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as a six-episode series, which subsequently transferred to BBC Television with a series of six episodes (beginning 16 September 1994), and a Christmas special (Knowing Me, Knowing Yule) in 1995. It is named after the song “Knowing Me, Knowing You” by ABBA (Alan Partridge's favourite band), which was used as the show's title music. [...] The show was a parody of a chat show, and both the radio and television versions were so embarrassingly accurate that listeners and viewers often thought they were the real thing. Many wrote in to complain, for example, at Partridge slapping a child prodigy in an episode of the radio series. The series did feature an audience who clearly knew the show was a parody, but apparently this wasn't enough to persuade some listeners that it wasn't real.

Pilot episode | Cheeky Monkey | Lesbians | What happens now?! | Alan Sings Abba


* The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007):

The Vicar of Dibley is a British sitcom created by Richard Curtis and written for its lead actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit Hesketh-Harvey. The Vicar of Dibley aired from 1994 to 2007. In 2004, it came third in Britain's Best Sitcom. [...] The Vicar of Dibley is set in a fictional small Oxfordshire village called Dibley, which is assigned a female vicar following the 1994 changes in the Church of England that permitted the ordination of women. The main character was an invention of Richard Curtis, but Dawn French and himself extensively talked with Joy Carroll, one of the first female vicars, and garnished many character traits and informations.

Jim's Dream that wasn't | Christmas Special 2005 | The Proposal | Knowing me Knowing you | Stalking! | End Joke


The Fast Show (1994-2000):

The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran for three series from 1994 to 1997 with a special Last Fast Show Ever in 2000. [...] The series was the brain child of Paul Whitehouse and his writing partner and friend, Charlie Higson. They wanted to break away from Harry Enfield and Chums, a show in which they had appeared and written for. After viewing a quick press preview tape of Enfield's show, compiled by producer friend Geoffrey Perkins, the pair began to develop the idea of a rapid-fire 'MTV generation' format based wholly on quick cuts and soundbites/catchphrases. After LWT passed on the early scripts, they returned to the BBC.

Arse | Swiss Toni (Pussyclub) | Black | Channel 9 TV | Amy Winehouse | Macho Fantastico


* The Day Today (1994):

The Day Today is a surreal British parody of television current affairs news programmes. It is an adaptation of the radio programme On The Hour. The series is composed of six half-hour episodes and a selection of shorter, five-minute slots recorded as promotion trailers for the longer segments. [...] Each episode is presented as a mock news programme, and the episodes rely on a combination of ludicrous fictional news stories, covered with a serious, pseudo-professional attitude. Each episode revolves around one or two major stories, which are pursued throughout the programme, along with a host of other stories usually only briefly referred to.

Attitudes Night | In times of crisis | War | Headlines | Gay Desk | Sinn Fein


* Father Ted (1995-1998):

Father Ted was a popular 1990s television situation comedy set around the lives of three Irish Catholic priests on the remote (and fictional) Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland. It ran for three series, totalling 25 episodes, between 21 April 1995 and 1 May 1998 on the UK's Channel 4. Father Ted was written by two Irish writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, who also co-created Big Train. All of the interior scenes were shot at The London Studios, while all of the location footage was shot in Ireland.

And God Created Woman | Jack looks dead alright | My Lovely Horse | Racist Father Ted | Greeks | A Christmassy Ted


The Thin Blue Line (1995-1996):

The Thin Blue Line is a British sitcom starring Rowan Atkinson set in a police station that lasted for two series from 1995 to 1996. [...] The Thin Blue Line was set in the police station of a fictional town of Gasforth, one of the main themes was the rivalry between the uniformed squad led by Inspector Fowler; and the CID led by Detective Inspector Grim; who provided much of the humour through his use of the English language.

Court in the Act | Come on you Blues | Fly on the Wall | The Honey Trap Episode


* Never Mind the Buzzcocks (1996-):

Never Mind the Buzzcocks is a comedy panel game show with a pop and rock music theme, currently presented by Simon Amstell and produced by talkbackTHAMES for the BBC. It is usually aired on BBC Two. The title plays on the names of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks album, and the band Buzzcocks. [...] The show is infamous for its dry, sarcastic humour and scathing, provocative attacks on the pop industry.

Never Mind the Buzzcocks | Amy Winehouse | Watch season 20 episode 02 | Jamelia and Lilly Allen | Preston walks out


* I'm Alan Partridge (1997-2002):

I'm Alan Partridge is a British sitcom. Two series were produced, the first in 1997 and the second in 2002. Six episodes were produced for each series. [...] Steve Coogan stars as Alan Partridge [...] A former chat-show host on BBC television, Alan was dismissed from the BBC partly for punching Chief Commissioning Editor Tony Hayers in the face with a stuffed partridge and partly because his programmes were of a low standard, delivering ever-declining ratings. In series one, he is divorced from his wife Carol, lives in the Linton Travel Tavern and is reduced to working the graveyard shift on Norwich radio and desperately trying to get back on television in any capacity.

Coffee Machines Are The Future | Monkey | On Farming | The color of Alan


Big Train (1998-2002):

Big Train is a surreal British television comedy sketch show created by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, writers of the successful sitcom Father Ted. It was first broadcast in 1998 with a second series, in which Linehan was not involved, shown in 2002. [...] Following in the tradition of Monty Python, the comedy of Big Train is based on the subversion of ordinary situations by the surreal or macabre. For example, one scene features a bad-mannered man casually stabbed to death by his embarrassed wife at a dinner party.

Wanking | Jesus and Satan The Office Prankster | New Office Manager | Child on Bike | Cake Factory | Prince


The Royle Family (1998-2006):

The Royle Family is a popular, BAFTA award-winning television sitcom produced by Granada Television for the BBC, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2000, with a special episode in late 2006. It concerns the lives of a working class Manchester family, the Royles. [...] The series is remarkable for its simple production and realistic portrayal of working-class family life at the turn of the millennium. It, therefore, has something in common with kitchen sink drama.

Nana | Family Argument | Nana's Funeral | Bills, Bills, Bills | Making Ends Meet


The League of Gentlemen (1999-2002):

The League of Gentlemen is a quartet of British comedy writer/performers, formed in 1995 by Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith. The television program for which they are best known, although officially labelled a sitcom, was initially more sketch-based, linked together by their common setting: the fictional village of Royston Vasey, set somewhere in the north of England.

How The Elephant Got Its Trunk | Pappa Lazarou's Return | The Dentons Aqua Vita | Camden Lock | Tubbs and Edward


* Spaced (1999-2001):

Spaced is a British television situation comedy written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright. It is noted for its rapid-fire editing, frequent dropping of pop-culture references, and occasional displays of surrealism. [...] Tim Bisley (Pegg) and Daisy Steiner (Stevenson) are two London twenty-somethings who meet by chance in a cafe while both are flat-hunting. Despite barely knowing each other, they conspire to pose as a young “professional” couple in order to meet the requisites of an advertisement for a relatively cheap flat in the distinctive building at 23 Meteor Street, which is owned by and also houses the landlady, Marsha Klein (Julia Deakin).

Episode number one | Gunfight | Paintball | Zombie opening | Star Wars

* Smack the Pony (1999-2003):

Smack the Pony was a British sketch comedy show that ran from 1999 until 2003 on Channel 4. Its title was intended to sound like a euphemism for female masturbation; the working title was Spot the Pony. The main performers and writers on the show were Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan and Sally Phillips. [...] Among the show's regular themes were unsuccessful relationships, competition in the workplace and latent lesbianism, but sketches would also dip into the surreal; such as two women jumping from their car as they neared a parking space and brushing in front of the path of their car to allow it move forward further à la curling. Two regular strands involved a series of different women making dating agency videos about their general likes and dislikes, and a musical parody that would close the show.

Saying Goodbye | Dating Agency Videos | I follow you | Friends Reunited | Rivalry | Inept Doctor

2000s

* That Peter Kay Thing (2000):

That Peter Kay Thing was a series of six spoof documentaries shown on Channel 4 in January and February 2000. Set in and around Bolton, these followed the lives of different characters and starred Peter Kay as the subject of each documentary. All of the episodes displayed Kay's penchant for nostalgic humour and unsympathetic lead characters. The voiceovers were provided by Andrew Sachs. Many of the plot lines were based around actual events from Kay's life.

The Ice Cream Man Cometh | The Leonard episode | The Arena episode


* Black Books (2000-2004):

The series is set in the eponymous “Black Books”, a small, independent bookshop in the Bloomsbury area of central London. The show is based around the lives and often surreal antics of its foul-mouthed, eccentric, misanthropic, alcoholic Irish owner Bernard Black (played by Moran), his assistant Manny (Bailey), and their friend Fran (Greig).

Cooking the Books | Grapes of Wrath | Manny's Survival | The Blackout episode


The Office (2001-2003):

The Office is an Emmy-nominated, and Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award-winning British television comedy that first aired in the UK on BBC Two on 9 July 2001. Created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the programme is about the day-to-day lives of office employees in the Slough, Berkshire branch of the fictitious Wernham-Hogg Paper Company. Although fictional and scripted, the programme takes the form of a documentary (a fictional documentary, i.e. a mockumentary), with the presence of the camera often acknowledged.

The Dance | Gareth Strikes | David Begs For His Job Back | Jelly Stapler | David's Second Date | My Mother's Breasts


Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights (2001):

Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights is a BAFTA-nominated British sitcom about The Phoenix Club, a working men's club in the northern English town of Bolton, Lancashire, England.

Late night phone calls | Lord Love Rocket | Season 1 episode 4 Clip


* The Armando Iannucci Shows (2001):

The Armando Iannucci Shows is a series of eight programmes directed by Armando Iannucci and written by Iannucci with Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil. It was shown on UK's Channel 4 in October 2001. Each show had a rough theme, often somewhat existentialist in nature, around which Iannucci would weave a series of surreal sketches and monologues. [...] Recurring themes in the episodes are the superficiality of modern culture, our problems communicating with each other, the mundane nature of working life and feelings of personal inadequacy and social awkwardness. Several characters also make repeat appearances in the shows, including the East End thug, who solves every problem with threats of violence; Hugh, an old man who delivers surreal monologues about what things were like in the old days; and Iannucci's barber, who is full of nonsensical anecdotes.

The First episode | Twats | Excess | Except for viewers in Scotland


Dead Ringers (2002-):

Dead Ringers is a UK radio and television comedy impressions show broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Two. [...] The series is well known for its portrayal of fellow BBC employees, such as Radio 4 newsreader Brian Perkins as a Godfather-like figure (“Who's the daddy?”), controlling all of Radio 4. He often sends death threats to other members of the BBC, and threatens to kill anyone who tries to chat-up his love interest Charlotte Green.

George Bush | Deal or no Deal | Russel Crowe Skit | Lord of The Rings | Star Wars spoof | Top Gear


Little Britain (2003-2006):

Little Britain is a character-based sketch show first appearing on BBC radio and then television. It was written by and stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Its title is an amalgamation of the terms 'Little England' and 'Great Britain', and is also the name of a Victorian neighbourhood and modern street in London. [...] The format of the show is a compilation of short sketches featuring recurring characters, linked by narration from Tom Baker (most famous as the Fourth Doctor on Doctor Who). The voiceovers take a wry look at Britain, with comically absurd statements on the nation's character, such as, “Britain.... We've had running water for over 10 years, an underground tunnel linking us to Peru, and we invented the cat”, or “Unlike other countries, Britain has people of two genders: women and men.”

Meeting the Parents | Carol in Spain | Lou & Andy at the Swimming Pool | Lou and Andy on the athletics track | Fat Fighters | Vicky Pollard & her gang


Peep Show (2003-):

Peep Show follows the often sexually-frustrated lives of two men in their late twenties, Mark (Mitchell) and Jeremy (Webb). Having met while at the fictional Dartmouth University together (they occasionally refer to themselves as 'The El Dude Brothers' in reference to their student days), they now share a flat in Croydon, south London.

Season 4 episode 6 | Season 4 episode 5 | Season 4 episode 4 | Season 4 episode 3 | Gog is Refusing to Like the Track


* QI (2003-):

QI, standing for Quite Interesting, is a comedy panel game television quiz show created and produced by John Lloyd, hosted by Stephen Fry, and featuring permanent panellist Alan Davies. [...] It is distinguished by the awarding of points not necessarily for correct answers, but rather, for (quite) interesting ones. Many of the questions are extremely obscure, making it unlikely that the correct answer will be given. Points are deducted from a panellist who gives an obvious but wrong answer, typically one that is generally accepted as true but is, in fact, false. Davies is usually in last place in the show as he consistently gives answers like these.

Watch Season 1 Episode 1 | Christmas special | Christmas, Christianity and Mithras | Spiders | Horror stars


* Green Wing (2004-2007):

Green Wing is an award-winning British television comedy set in the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust. It was created by the same team behind the sketch show Smack the Pony, led by Victoria Pile, and stars Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan and Julian Rhind-Tutt. [...] Although set in a hospital, there are no medical storylines; the action is produced by a series of soap opera and Commedia dell'arte-style twists and turns in the personal lives of the characters. They proceed through a series of often absurd sketch-like scenes connected by lazzi, or by sequences where the film is slowed down or speeded up, often emphasising the body language of the characters.

Episode one | Classic Guy Moment | Comic Relief | Well you can *%#! off then!

The Thick of It (2005):

The Thick of It is a British comedy television series, which satirises the inner workings of modern British government. [...] The action centres on the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (“DoSAC” - previously the Department of Social Affairs, or “DSA”, prior to the reshuffle of episode five), which supposedly came out of the Prime Minister's passing enthusiasm for “joined-up government”. Thus, it acts as a “Super Department” overseeing many others, which enables different political themes to be dealt with in the programme, similar to the Department for Administrative Affairs in Yes Minister.

Watch episode 1 | Watch episode 2 | Watch episode 3 | iPod rant | Watch the Xmas Special episode right here


Extras (2005-2007):

Extras is a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning British television sitcom about extras working on film sets and in theatre. The series is co-produced by the BBC and HBO, and is co-written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, both of whom also star in it. [...] Each episode has at least one guest star; a television or film celebrity, who play what Gervais and Merchant have referred to as "twisted" versions of themselves; an exaggerated or inverted parody of their famous public personas.

Wizard! You shall not pass! | Timezone Argument | David Bowie | Daniel Radcliffe | Patrick Stewart | Christmas Special


* The IT Crowd (2006-):

The IT Crowd is set in the offices of Reynholm Industries, a fictitious British corporation in central London. It focuses on the shenanigans of the three-strong IT support team located in a dingy, untidy and unkempt basement - a stark contrast to the shining modern architecture and stunning London views enjoyed by the rest of the organisation.

Smoke and Mirrors | Soccer | The work outing | Calamity Jen episode | The Red Door


Gavin & Stacey (2007-2010):

Gavin & Stacey is a British sitcom originally aired on BBC Three and later shown on BBC Two, written by and starring Ruth Jones and James Corden and produced by Baby Cow Productions. Gavin is played by Mathew Horne and Joanna Page plays Stacey.

Watch The History Boys episode right here

Outnumbered (2007-):

Outnumbered is about a family living in South London, where the parents are “Outnumbered” by their three children. The parents constantly try to keep their children under control, but completely fail to do so.

Names, kicks and frisbees | Daddy, I'm scared | I want this toy! | I'm leaving home | Reach Dad's lofty heights


* The Armstrong and Miller Show (2007-):

The Armstrong and Miller Show is a British sketch comedy television show produced by Hat Trick Productions for BBC One. It reunites the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller, who have not appeared together on screen since 2001, and features League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson as scriptwriter.

Streetwise RAF pilots | The origins of Smalltalk | Story with a twist! | Babysitter | From the skies