Britain's Best Sitcom

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Britain's Best Sitcom
Genre Documentary
Written by
  • Robin Ince
  • Steve Punt
  • Lloyd Stanton
  • Johnny Vaughan
  • et al.
Directed by
  • Andy Devonshire
  • Becky Martin
Presented by See text
Country of origin England
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Robin Ashbrook
  • Ricky Kelehar
  • et al.
  • Gerard Barry
  • Stephen Franklin
  • Alex Hardcastle
  • Garry John Hughes
  • Verity Maidlow
  • Matt O'Casey
  • Elaine Shepherd
  • Mark Turnbull
  • Norman Hull
  • et al.
Running time 60 mins.
(180-min. premier; 90-min. finale)
Production company(s) BBC
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 10 January 2004 (2004-01-10)[1]  – 27 March 2004 (2004-03-27)
External links
Britain's Best Sitcom

Britain's Best Sitcom was a BBC media campaign in which television viewers were asked to decide the best British situation comedy. Viewers could vote via telephone, SMS, or BBC Online.[2] This first round of voting was conducted in 2003, after which the BBC published a list of the top 100 selections.[3][4] From this list, they produced a 12-episode television series broadcast by BBC Two from January through March 2004.[1]

The series, which was also called Britain's Best Sitcom, was a retrospective that examined the history and qualities of the contending programmes. In the premier episode, Jonathon Ross summarized the progress of the poll, and presented video clips from the 50 sitcoms that received the most votes.[2] Each of the next ten weekly episodes, one hour in length, focused on one sitcom.[1][2] In each episode, a different celebrity presenter advocated for a sitcom, delivering 20 reasons why it deserved viewers' votes.[1][2] The show's writers and actors, as well as celebrity viewers, shared their own perspectives and memories. The 90-minute series finale, transmitted live, was also presented by Jonathan Ross; he announced the winner to be Only Fools and Horses.[5]


# Title Presented by Original airdate
1 "The Launch" Jonathon Ross[2] 10 January 2004 (2004-01-10)
Jonathon Ross recaps the 50 top British sitcoms, as determined by an electronic poll conducted in 2003.
2 "Blackadder" John Sergeant[2] 17 January 2004 (2004-01-17)
John Sergeant advocates Blackadder, an historical farce that premiered in 1983 on BBC1.
3 "Fawlty Towers" Jack Dee[2] 24 January 2004 (2004-01-24)
Jack Dee advocates Fawlty Towers, a comedy of errors that premiered on BBC2 in 1975.
4 "The Good Life" Ulrika Jonsson[2] 31 January 2004 (2004-01-31)
Ulrika Jonsson advocates The Good Life, a sitcom about a middle-aged English couple who make an attempt at farming at their house in southwest London suburb of Surbiton. The first premiered on BBC1 in 1975.
5 "Yes Minister" Armando Ianucci[2] 7 February 2004 (2004-02-07)
Armando Ianucci advocates Yes Minister, a political satire that premiered on BBC2 in 1980.
6 "One Foot in the Grave" Rowland Rivron[2] 14 February 2004 (2004-02-14)
Rowland Rivron advocates One Foot in the Grave, a dark comedy about the trials of an elderly curmudgeon and his longsuffering wife.
7 "Porridge" Johnny Vaughan[2] 21 February 2004 (2004-02-21)
Johnny Vaughan advocates BBC1's Porridge (1975–78) and its sequel, Going Straight (1978). The programmes concern different aspects of prison life, including—in Going Straight—acclimation to a changed family life and outside world.
8 "Only Fools and Horses" David Dickinson[2] 28 February 2004 (2004-02-28)
David Dickinson advocates Only Fools and Horses, which centres on an ambitious Cockney market trader called Del Boy. Only Fools and Horses premiered on BBC1 in 1981.
9 "Open All Hours" Clarissa Dickson Wright[2] 6 March 2004 (2004-03-06)
Clarissa Dickson Wright advocates Open All Hours, which premiered on BBC2 in 1973. This comedy concerns a South Yorkshire shopkeeper and his wistful nephew.
10 "The Vicar of Dibley" Carol Vorderman[2] 13 March 2004 (2004-03-13)
Carol Vorderman advocates The Vicar of Dibley, in which Geraldine, the buxom new vicar of a small village in Oxfordshire, encounters a colourful cast of characters——and some opposition. BBC1 premiered The Vicar of Dibley in 1994.
11 "Dad's Army" Phill Jupitus[2] 20 March 2004 (2004-03-20)
Phill Jupitus advocates Dad's Army, a comparatively long-running comedy that first aired on BBC1 in 1968. Set during the Second World War, Dad's Army introduces viewers to an unlikely group of Home Guard volunteers on England's south coast.
12 "The Live Final" Jonathon Ross[2] 27 March 2004 (2004-03-27)
Jonathon Ross announces which British sitcom received the most votes from viewers.

Top 100 sitcoms[edit]

At the conclusion of the poll, the BBC declared the following to be the final ranking:[4][5]

  1. Only Fools and Horses
  2. Blackadder
  3. The Vicar of Dibley
  4. Dad's Army
  5. Fawlty Towers
  6. Yes Minister
  7. Porridge / Going Straight
  8. Open All Hours
  9. The Good Life
  10. One Foot in the Grave
  11. Father Ted
  12. Keeping Up Appearances
  13. 'Allo 'Allo!
  14. Last of the Summer Wine
  15. Steptoe and Son
  16. Men Behaving Badly
  17. Absolutely Fabulous
  18. Red Dwarf
  19. The Royle Family
  20. Are You Being Served?
  21. To the Manor Born
  22. Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
  23. The Likely Lads
  24. My Family
  25. The Office
  26. Drop the Dead Donkey
  27. Rising Damp
  28. Dinnerladies
  29. As Time Goes By
  30. Hancock's Half Hour
  31. The Young Ones
  32. Till Death Us Do Part
  33. Butterflies
  34. The Thin Blue Line
  35. Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
  36. Phoenix Nights
  37. Waiting for God
  38. Birds of a Feather
  39. Bread
  40. Hi-De-Hi!
  41. The League of Gentlemen
  42. I'm Alan Partridge
  43. Just Good Friends
  44. 2.4 Children
  45. Bottom
  46. It Ain't Half Hot Mum
  47. The Brittas Empire
  48. Gimme Gimme Gimme
  49. Rab C. Nesbitt
  50. Goodnight Sweetheart
  51. Up Pompeii!
  52. Ever Decreasing Circles
  53. On the Buses
  54. Coupling
  55. George and Mildred
  56. A Fine Romance
  57. Citizen Smith
  58. Black Books
  59. The Liver Birds
  60. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
  61. The New Statesman
  62. Sykes
  63. Please, Sir!
  64. Dear John
  65. Barbara
  66. Spaced
  67. Bless This House
  68. Love Thy Neighbour
  69. Man About the House
  70. Desmonds
  71. Duty Free
  72. All Gas and Gaiters
  73. Happy Ever After / Terry and June
  74. Only When I Laugh
  75. Brass
  76. The Rag Trade
  77. Sorry!
  78. Kiss Me Kate
  79. Doctor in the House
  80. I Didn't Know You Cared
  81. Shelley
  82. Nearest and Dearest
  83. Fresh Fields
  84. The Army Game
  85. Robin's Nest
  86. The Dustbinmen
  87. Whoops Apocalypse
  88. My Wife Next Door
  89. Never the Twain
  90. Nightingales
  91. Early Doors
  92. Agony
  93. The Lovers
  94. Father Dear Father
  95. Hot Metal
  96. ...And Mother Makes Three / ...And Mother Makes Five
  97. Life with the Lyons
  98. Marriage Lines
  99. A Sharp Intake of Breath
  100. No Problem


  1. ^ a b c d "BBC TWO asks the nation what is Britain's Best Sitcom?". BBC Online. BBC. 30 December 2003. Archived from the original on 18 April 2005. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The battle of the sitcoms begins..." (Press release). London: BBC. 10 January 2004. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  3. ^ "Britain's Best Sitcom: The Top 10". London: BBC. 2004. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  4. ^ a b "Britain's Best Sitcom: Top 11 to 100". London: BBC. 2004. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  5. ^ a b "The Final Top Ten Sitcoms". London: BBC. 2004. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]