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British TV Comedy Shows

Updated on November 27, 2014

British TV Comedy Shows

British Comedy shows in television are quite popular and famous for its characters that possess peculiar traits. The settings, plots, story and comic characters are indeed a benchmark set by these comedy shows. Almost every decade in the history of British TV comedy shows has seen new set of comedians. On an average, about 15 episodes were included in all comedy shows per year. Few television comedy shows became so entrenched in the lives of the British and the comedians who were part of the shows contributed innovation and peace of mind.

Top British comedy shows

Little Britain (Year : 1983)

Only Fools and Horses (Year 1981)

PEEP Show (Year : 2003)

The IT Crowd (Year : 2006)

Fawlty Towers (Year : 1975)

The Black Adder (Year : 1983)

British TV sitcom - The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd, a comedy TV show premiered during Feb 2006 on Channel 4 has run four series with six episodes each and has a good number of following fans. It is a British comedy sitcom written by the famous writer Graham Linehan and is set in the London office of Reynholm Industries, a fictional industry. The show is the writer’s third successful sitcom following Father Ted, and Black Books, which were co authored by him. The show mainly revolves around three staff members of IT department and the bosses of the Company. The IT crowd although looks like a traditional sitcom, it manages to feel fresh and different through its use of language related to the Tech Industry.

The IT Crowd and Stella comedy show are the top TV shows watched in Britain. STELLA is a comedy show on Television, officially launched on 6 January 2012 gained popularity as Sky1 aired it. It is from the production house of Tidy and has a running time of 60 minutes.

The Reynholm industries are located in a corporate high-rise tower, having its IT department located in the basement with a complement of three staff with their unique characters. Jen, Roy and Moss are the staff and the story is about their struggle to make it into the normal society. Jen is the manager of the IT department, who lands in the department due to paltering of her resume and actually, she knows nothing about the IT. On the other hand, Roy and Moss, the employees of the department are nerds and have love for the technology, have the knowledge about the work but they are not good at having workable relationship with people. Jen taking the role of a “Relationship Manager” helps her co-workers and in the process helps herself. The sitcom is playful and somewhat looks surreal. The shows have been filmed before live studio audiences.

This cultural British sitcom ran between the year 2006 and 2010, which starred Chris O’Dowd, Marr Berry, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson. The first series, premiered in 2006, involves the introduction of the characters of Roy and Moss, the nerd geeks, and the relationship built between them and their manager Jen. The second series came in 2007 and highlighted the attempts of Moss and Roy trying hard to socialize and make friends and the trouble faced by Jen with new Head of Reynholm Industries. The third series appeared in 2008 and was more dramatic with exposure of Jen of her poor knowledge about the IT and the awkward situations faced by Roy and Moss. The fourth series appeared during 2010 and highlighted the interactions of the IT department within themselves and outsiders and personal relationships of the characters. Although there was supposed to be a fifth season, it is understood that only a special final show may be aired before the end of this year, to give a final and fitting goodbye to all the characters of the series.

The show was broadcast internationally in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain. It also aired in Comedy Central in USA and in the G4 channel of Canada. All the series are currently streamed through Netflix and Hulu for viewing. The sitcom has won numerous awards. The notable are the BAFTA, Rose d’Or, Irish film and television award, Royal television UK award and it bagged the awards.

Little Britain

Little Britain is a British character-based comedy sketch show. Initially it was a broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and produced by Edward Flinn, but was later turned into a television show.

Written and staring comic duo David Walliams and Matt Lucas the show involves exaggerated parodies of British people.

Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses is one of Britain’s favourite sitcoms and one that brought us words such as ‘cushty’, ‘luvvly-jubbly’ and ‘you plonker’. You only have to hear one of those words and the loveable, eternal optimist, Del Boy pops into your head.

It has been over 30 years since the brilliant sitcom written and created by John Sullivan first hit our screens. But it is just as popular today as it ever was. It is brilliant written, the characters hilarious and the acting superb! It’s a timeless classic that will run and re run for many more years.

If you live on another planet and haven’t seen it here is a basic run down.. The Trotter brothers Derek (Del Boy) and Rodney (David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst) live with their Granddad (Lennard Pearce) in a tower block flat in Peckham, London. When the granddad dies their Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield) comes to stay, with his hilarious tales that all seem to begin, "During the war ..." Later in the series Racquel comes to live with Dell and Rodney goes on to marry Cassandra

Del is a market trader and has a great way of persuading people to believe in him and buy his dodgy goods. For some time his brother Rodney worked with him but was often morally outraged by Del's business activities such as selling stolen goods. Rodney later went on a computer training course which is where he met Cassandra.

Hilariously from the sixth series onwards Del becomes a stereotypical 1980’s yuppie pretending to be much wealthier than he really is. He tries to associate with the upper class but fails miserable as he is so obviously working class.

As loveable as he is, Del is a habitual liar and recons he can speak some French. He always gets the words the wrong way round, so rather than saying “au revoir” for “goodbye” he would say “bonjour”.

The brothers have some friends who meet regularly at the Nags Head pub. Trigger is the local road sweeper who has very few brain cells, bless him. He is hilarious in many ways and always calls Rodney by the wrong name of Dave; even though Rodney has told him several times that his name is Rodney not Dave.

Boycie (John Challis) is a local second-hand car dealer married to Marlene (Sue Holderness). For a long time were the richest of the crowd great and would enjoy showing off their wealth. Del and Boycie are kind of friends but are always trying to get one up on each other. Competition between them is rife, but Boycie always came across as the more superior and smug.

Other characters include Denzil (Paul Barber) and Micky Pearce (Patrick Murray). Denzil is a long distance lorry driver, and a good friend of Del. Whereas Micky Pearce is an apparent friend of Rodney always boasting about some imagined business successes of his but in reality he is always on the dole.

The landlord of the Nags Head, Mike (Kenneth MacDonald) is a good natured type of chap but very gullible, he is often on the receiving end of Del’s scams.


STELLA is a comedy show set in Ferndale in the Rhondda Valley in Wales. Written by and starring Ruth Jones as Stella. Stella is living a tough life as a single mother in the Welsh valleys.

Stella returns in 2014 on Sky 1 HD followed by a Christmas special in December 2014

Controversies of British Comedy Shows

  • “The Catherine Tate show” was not awarded though it attained more votes than “Ant & Dec’s” and it became a controversy. However, the former received the “People choice award” in 2006
  • The popular sitcom Are You Being Served caused problems with it’s pussy jokes and camp behaviour from John Inman.
  • Till Death Us Do Part with racist character Alf Garnett caused a stir when aired the the late sixties and early seventies.
  • Love Thy Neighbour caused controversy for similar racist reasons as Till Death Us Do Part. It is based around a suburban white working class couple in Twickenham attempting to come to terms with having a black couple as next-door neighbours.

Interesting facts about British TV comedy shows.

  • Connie Booth played Polly’s part in the comedy show named “Fawlty Towers”
  • Robert Webb was a comedian who played Jeremy’s part in the cultural comedy show named “PEEP show”
  • The Only Fools and horses episode "Time On Our Hands" holds the record for the highest UK audience for a sitcom episode.
  • Graham Linehan is a famous writer who has linked the most famous comedy shows “The IT Crowd” and “Father Ted”
  • “The Sweeney” is a most talked-about British cop series which features Ernie and Eric in a guest appearance role


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      3 years ago

      I'm assuming these are sitcoms, or else where's The Inbetweeners? Also I would have added Coupling on here.


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