Top 10 Sitcoms

January 11th, 2004

I didn't see the BBC programme opening the campaign to identify Britain's Best Sitcom last night, so I was interested to read Gert's discussion of the show and follow her pointer to the relevant section of the BBC web site. I'd say just over half the Top 10 deserve their place, but I'd happily see Open All Hours, One Foot in the Grave, Only Fools And Horses and The Vicar of Dibley demoted in favour of, say, Rising Damp, Drop the Dead Donkey, Spaced and The Likely Lads. (I'm restricting myself to shows from the BBC's Top 100 list, otherwise I'd certainly nominate The Book Group, probably in place of The Likely Lads.)

As to which of the Top 10 should win, I'd be happy to see the prize go to any of Yes Minister, Blackadder, The Good Life or Fawlty Towers, all of which can reliably reduce me to a helpless, giggling heap to this day.

Sadly, I fear that Only Fools and Horses will probably romp away with the title. If they show that clip of Del Boy leaning on the bar-that-isn't-there, or the one where Rodney unbolts the wrong chandelier, one more time I may have to kill my television.

For what it's worth, if this poll wasn't restricted to British programmes I'd expect to see at least three or four US entries in the Top 10: Frasier, Roseanne and The Phil Silvers Show (a.k.a. Sgt Bilko) are the obvious contenders, though I'm sure I'll think of another five seconds after I click on the "Save this entry" button.

[Via mad musings of me]

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8 Responses to “Top 10 Sitcoms”

  1. Ray Says:

    Makes you despair of democracy, doesn't it? "Coupling" rated half-way down the 100 adjacent to "On the Buses"…

  2. John Says:

    I dismissed Coupling when it was first shown, not least because I didn't think we needed a 'British Friends', but after all the praise the show got in subsequent seasons I made a point of watching the current repeat run on BBC2 on Sunday nights. Last night's episode (co-starring Captain Subtext) was one of the episodes I'd seen a couple of minutes of during the original run, but now that I'm familiar with the characters and their relationships and quirks it made a lot more sense. And of course it was exquisitely, painfully funny. If I'd seen the three (?) seasons so far I could easily imagine Coupling challenging for a place in my personal Top 10.

    As I read the full 100 I couldn't help thinking that they'd really been scraping the barrel. I mean, I liked John Alderton in his 70s heyday as much as the next guy, but in what universe is Please, Sir! a great sitcom?

    Then there are the results which should have the entire nation hanging its head in shame. Like Love Thy Neighbour coming in two places above Desmonds!

  3. Ray Says:

    I dismissed Coupling when it was first shown.

    It definitely developed: the first few were astute enough character development, but it started blowing me away when Moffat began playing with the narrative format: such as that excruciating one where Geoff thought he was doing fine chatting up the Israeli woman, then they re-ran it in translation to reveal the mistakes he'd made, including thinking the Hebrew for "breasts" was her name.

  4. John Says:

    Oh yes, that was a very, very good one indeed.

    I gather that Geoff won't be in the new season. Much as I like the rest of the cast, and especially Jack Davenport, I fear that it won't be the same without Geoff's odd little tangential observations. But I'll certainly be watching to find out.

  5. Gary Farber Says:

    On non-British nominees: not The Simpsons?

  6. John Says:


    That would be that fourth show I was due to remember right after my original post. Yes, absolutely The Simpsons would be in there. (I"d be tempted to add Daria and Futurama to the list, though they might not quite break the Top 10.)

  7. Simon Says:

    I'd happily see One Foot in the Grave and Only Fools And Horses demoted in favour of, say, Rising Damp, Drop the Dead Donkey, Spaced and The Likely Lads

    Shock horror! I don't beleeeeeeveeeee it!

    OFITG = Absolute class! Best BBC sitcom of the 90's
    OFAH = Started off badly (and ended that way) but there were some classic moments that weren't those two overused clips.
    Rising Damp= Never found it funny
    DTDD = Loved it when it was first on. Now I wonder why
    Spaced = Funny for a bit then tried to be too clever and became forced
    The Likely Lads = Great theme tune (not much else)

    The american ones you mentioned leave a lot to be desired too. There were a handful of funny moments in Roseanne and Frasier can be funny but it's way overrated.

    No mention of Seinfeld, Everybody loves raymond (just starting it's inevitable 20-year run on CH4), Almost perfect (my fave), King of queens (ditto) or Father Ted and Red Dwarf.

  8. Nicklas Says:

    Even if one considers the newer bits of Spaced forced, it's still much funnier than most of the shows above it in the Top 100.

    I found OFITG to be a bit too easy to forget. It was fun for the moment, not much more.