Just thinking of the couple of times I’ve heard Mary Jo and Bill mention riffing Are You Being Served? (one of my all-time favorite TV shows) and I’d definitely love to see that actually happen lol.
With my local PBS stations (MPT/WETA) no longer airing most of their classic Britcom offerings due to BritBox/defunding of Public Television stations/Ballooning licensing rates/etc) I thought I’d make this topic to chat about great Britcoms that you love. (My favorite Non-MST3K show is Red Dwarf.)
Four of my favorites and frequent rewatches.
The Vicar of Dibley
The Thick Of It
Red Dwarf near the top of the list for me for Britcoms along with Black Books and the IT Crowd. Special affection on my part for the first couple of seasons of Coupling, the Young Ones and Good Life. Thick of it is on my TBW list but haven’t actually seen it yet.
Also really like Ripping Yarns. Especially recommended to Monty Python fans who haven’t seen it before.
The Goodies… goodie-goodie-yum-yum! Once upon a time in Chicago, WTTW (PBS) and WBBM (CBS) scheduled The Goodies and The Muppet Show back to back on late Sunday afternoons — glorious.
“The Good Life” had a big effect on me when it aired in the '70s on PBS stations as “Good Neighbors”. The teenage me thought the idea of becoming self-sufficient was incredibly appealing. That teenager also never caught on that the Goods were heavily dependent on the favors of the Ledbetters and weren’t nearly as self-sufficient as they claimed to be.
Later on, “To the Manor Born” aired here and I enjoyed that, and in later years I tremendously enjoyed “As Time Goes By”, which I can watch over and over again.
Same! I also twigged to it later that their self-sufficient life wasn’t really possible without the accumulated wealth of their former life, and that a fair amount of it was living off the fat of the past. I still like the show though, very talented cast.
I once thought that a hypothetical Black Adder series five could be set in a down-on-its-luck Scotch distillery that somehow got involved in clandestinely running arms for the U.S. government to various revolutionary movements back in the ‘80s (the Iran-Contra affair, basically). As the series opens, the distillery owner has recently died under mysterious (and humorous) circumstances — leaving an equally down on his fortunes Black Adder to inherit the ensuing mess with zero knowledge of just what he’s letting himself in for. Or should that be, “What he’s being set up for?"
The title? A Fifth of Black Adder — perhaps Black Adder Takes the Fifth for United States audiences.
Then there’s Absolutely Fabulous…
Hyacinth Bucket (“It’s pronounced, ‘bo͞oˈkā’”) is Keeping Up Appearances…
Warty Towels Farty Towels Flay Otters Watery Fowls Fatty Owls Flowery Twats Fawlty Towers
Mr. Bean. Another Rowan Atkinson entry, though it’s quite a bit less talky than the Black Adder series.
Yes, Minister. There was also a sequel, Yes, Prime Minister.
And there’s no forgetting that P.G. Wodehouse vehicle for Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, Jeeves & Wooster.
And if we separate “situation” from “British comedy” and chuck the former in the bin, we also have…
The Two Ronnies
French and Saunders
The program that single-handedly did for “Yakety Sax” what Monty Python’s Flying Circus did for “The Liberty Bell March,” The Benny Hill Show.
Somewhat related — The Kenny Everett Video Show and The Kenny Everett Television Show.
Dave Allen At Large
Also in that vein of ensemble acting, The League Of Gentlemen.
“The End of the Line” episode of Coupling has the distinction of being one of the few television episodes to send me into wheezing laughter so complete that I got light-headed. That show also gifted me the Giggle Loop, which I get snared in often. Black Adder and Black Books are also up there.
And I don’t know if you’d call The Mighty Boosh a Britcom, but it’s something, all right! Beware Old Gregg!!
Yes! A friend turned me onto it back when they were still making episodes. Not sure a sitcom had ever made me laugh so much. The first 2 or 3 years were genius… Apparently!
Big Fan of Red Dwarf! I still have the Ace Rimmer “Smoke Me a Kipper I’ll Be Back for Breakfast” T-shirt that was my major award for donating to PBS back in the day
My favorites are probably Blackadder (all of them), 'Allo 'Allo and As Time Goes By.
Also liked Keeping Up Appearances, mostly for Onslow and Daisy. I liked Spaced, with Simon Pegg. A Fine Romance, with Judi Dench and her husband Michael Williams. And the original All Creatures Great and Small, though that was more a dramedy than a “sitcom” really.
Malcolm Tucker is my spirit animal.
Jamie McDonald is mine “The crossest man in Scotland”
I’d only seen one episode of Red Dwarf where they end up on a prison planet and the guards shoot Winnie the Pooh. It stuck with me my entire life. lol…
Out of curiosity, outside of Britbox, do you guys know where to find a lot of these shows (hopefully a free-to-stream platform)?