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British Comedy TV - Best British Comedies on Television
My Best British Comedy TV Top 25 List
There have been so many great British comedy TV shows over the years. This list is my pick of the best British sitcoms that I particularly enjoy. Sit coms or situation comedies are TV series that are set in a particular situation and have an ongoing storyline and regular characters. My favorite British comedy TV series list features some of the best British stand up comedians and comedy actors. My choice varies in themes, situations and comedy styles but are those that have particularly suited my taste of comedy, from political satire to the surreal!
If you love comedies, you might also like to visit my 10 Best Comedy Movies of All Time lens!
What Makes a Great British Comedy TV Show?
I have chosen the following for my best British comedies list because they are consistently good comedy throughout each episode. They are also easily watchable, whether they are old comedies or recent TV shows. In fact, many of the comedies on my list could be called comedy classics but I have also included a few great new comedy shows as well.
What I particularly enjoy is the way that these comedies make fun of particular character traits, situations or events that are familiar to everyone. And what these comedy shows do best is to exaggerate these familiar aspects of life and put a whole new comic twist to them!
I've split up my list of best British comedy shows into sections, defined by the type of comic style.
Surreal and Weird British Comedy Shows
Only in the weird and obscure corners of comedy, lurk such surreal characters as these! Perfect comedies for those with a warped sense of humor.
The League of Gentlemen - a bleak, dark and very funny comedy TV series, set in the town of Royston Vasey. This is the story of the local inhabitants of the very weird world of the League of Gentleman - starring Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith who play many of the strange characters. This is a comedy show like no other, you'll either love it or hate it.
The Mighty Boosh - stars Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, as Vince and Howard. And follows them in their surreal every-day life and other weird adventures from being zoo-keepers to working in a shaman's boutique.
My favorite off-the-wall and surreal British comedies:
- The League of Gentlemen
- The Mighty Boosh
- Absolutely Fabulous
Top British Comedies with an Historical Twist
Alternative British comedy set in different time periods:
Jeeves & Wooster - based on the the hugely funny PG Wodehouse novels is the story of Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) - an upper class twit and his manservant Jeeves (Stephen Fry). Wodehouse's keen ridiculing of 1920's upper classes and their view of the real-world.
Blackadder - starring Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder and his ever faithful servant Baldrick, played by Tony Robinson. Follows Blackadder in different time periods as they deal with life and historical peoples of the time. Including a series during Elizabeth I reign and in the trenches of World War I.
'Allo 'Allo - Its WWII and in a cafe in France, Rene a long suffering cafe owner struggles to balance his loyalites to his country with the French Resistance and his fear for his life with the occupying German officers. And inevitably lurches into one ridiculous situation after another!
All the Best British Comedies Have a Misfit
One of the things I love about British comedies, is how they make fun of the tragically misguided misfits:
Alan Partridge - Steve Coogan's most famous alter-ego, surely must be one of the most tragic and lonely of all the comedy characters? Alan Partridge who starts of with a own chat show on the BBC but ultimately ends up living at a motel. This is pure cringe-worthy comedy-tragedy. And played brilliantly by Coogan, who manages to make you feel sorry for Alan, even when he really has no redeeming qualities!
Black Books - starring Dylan Moran as the most obnoxious book shop owner ever and cruel employer to assistant Bill Bailey, who is ever the optimistic shop! This show is so funny!
Also checkout Marion and Geoff - about a very lonely taxi driver who basically monologues optimistically about his 2 kids and his estranged wife. Black comedy and an excellent performance by Rob Brydon.
Nathan Barley who desperately wants to be cool and the next big thing. You can watch this on YouTube - though this might be just for the UK.
Plus another tragic misfit, Saxondale also a great creation from Steve Coogan, possibly more likeable than Alan Partridge but still a very grumpy sad old man struggling to fit in!
Political and Satirical British Comedy
From the comic genuis of Ronnie Barker in Porridge which is set in Slade prison. To Absolute Power, with Stephen Fry, a master of spin and managing reputations in his PR company. British Comedy at it's Best!
- Thick of It
- Yes Prime Minister
- Absolute Power
- Drop the Dead Donkey
I'm a bit of a geek, this is probably why I love comedies like Red Dwarf, Spaced and IT Crowd!
IT Crowd Video Clip
Where Moz tries to cope with the office fire:
Best New British Comedy TV of 2010
Couple of recent and very good comedies that I have started watching are The Inbetweeners (started in 2008 but this latest 2010 series is the best so far) and Phoneshop (new in 2010).
For more of my fave Britcoms from 2010, check out my new lens, listed below.
What are your favorite British comedy TV shows? Have you seen any of the ones I've listed above?