BRITAIN'S BEST SITCOM (BBC POLL) - FINAL RESULT

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  • 1. Only Fools and Horses (342,426 votes)
  • 2. Blackadder (282,106)
  • 3. Vicar Of Dibley (212,927)
  • 4. Dad's Army (174,138)
  • 5. Fawlty Towers (172,066)
  • 6. Yes Minister (123,502)
  • 7. Porridge (93,902)
  • 8. Open All Hours (67,236)
  • 9. The Good Life (40,803)
  • 10. One Foot In The Grave (31,410)
  • I missed the final show, but have it on video to watch later - I shall post any further thoughts when I finally get to watch it.
  • I predicted that Only Fools and Horses would be a front-runner, as I knew it was popular for the young and old alike, and enduring, whereas my own favourites (Blackadder and Yes Prime Minister) were possibly more challenging and with not such wide appeal.
Author Comments: 


Britain's Best Sitcom:
The BBC consulted top sitcom writers and TV comedy experts in the UK to produce a list of
Britain's top 100 sitcoms. During last Summer voting took place for Britain's favourites and the
shorlisted Top 10 are shown above (in alphabetical order).

Starting on January 17th over a period of ten weeks a celebrity is each given 60 minutes to convince the public why their own favourite should be voted into the top slot.

First (January 17th) John Sergeant (writer, political commentator and journalist) presented fantastic support for Blackadder - probably my favourite. It was described how the second series was almost never made because the first series possessed too large a budget and too big a cast, and how the second (and subsequent series) were scaled right down. It was also explained how Rowan Atkinson decided to drop out of the writing team, but continued in his acting role, and the inspiration for some of the themes, and how the similes were exaggerated on and on and on and on and ... &nbsp (I have a treasured (hardback) book with the complete set of Blackadder scripts.)

This was followed on 24th January by Jack Dee (stand-up comedian) supporting
Fawlty Towers
with a clever presentation. The series was inspired by a real hotel and proprietor where the Python team once stayed, and it particularly stuck in the memory of John Cleese, and his then wife who recognised certain manic traits in the hotelier that were familiar in her husband. This programme also included some of the other Python team commenting on the original hotel, and also the original hotelier and his wife (I think) upon whom Basil and Sybil were based (I wasn't paying close enough attention - as I was also browsing through an auction cataogue at the same time). It also included fascinating interviews with both John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth (who co-wrote the series), from 1976 shortly after the original series' were first shown. They worked together on the script and the series whilst they were going through a painful separation. Connie Booth played the maid in the series, Polly. The programme also included an interview with a Belgian 'Professor' of TV comedy (it's true) who stated that the series contained more laughs per minute than any other sitcom, and compared it to sitcoms such as The Good Life and Only Fools and Horses that had far fewer laughs (but other qualities), both of which are also in the top ten.

On 31st January Ulrika Jonsson (television personality and presenter) pleaded the case for
The Good Life
. I didn't watch it - it was not worthy of a top ten place in my view. I would replace it with 'Some Mothers Do Ave Em' (ranked 22nd), or 'Just Good Freinds' (ranked 43rd), or 'Goodnight Sweetheart' (ranked 50th).

On 7th February, Armando Ianucci (comedian, television and radio producer and writer) pleaded his case for 'Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister' (one of my favourites (top five)), winner of seven BAFTAs - more than all of the other top ten put together. Included interviews with writers Sir Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, Margaret Thatcher, and Derek Fowlds - the one surviving member of the three main characters. Explained how it reputedly became Margaret Thatcher's favourite show, and how she once wrote a sketch for the main characters to (reluctantly) play out during a (minor) TV award that she presented - the sketch was also shown. (I have two hardback books (first editions) with the complete set of scripts of Yes Prime Minister.)

14th February Rowland Rivron (comedian, television and radio producer and writer) pleaded the case for 'One Foot in the Grave' - I missed this show as I was out for the evening - not a favourite of mine (I don't believe it !).

On the 21st February Johnny Vaughan (actor, writer, producer and television presenter) advocated Porridge - I missed this show also - again not a favourite (otherwise I might have taped it).

28th February was the turn of Only Fools And Horses - this must be one of the front-runners, but again not one of my favourites. Good, but overrated in my view. Presented by David Dickinson - antiques expert and television presenter, best known for his work with 'Bargain Hunt'

Whilst 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em' was at its peak, I saw Michael Crawford in the West End production of 'Billy Liar' (written by Keith Waterhouse) - he was utterly brilliant.

A favourite of mine, but not in the rankings, is 'The Strangerers' , which I have mentioned on Listology previously. It was made by the same team as Red Dwarf, but it disappeared after the first series. It was about a pair of inept aliens visiting Earth, supposedly under the supervision of a supervisor who is run over by a truck at the very beginning of the very first episode. They carry his head around with them in a holdall from then on. Without their supervisor the two bumbling Cadets have no idea what their mission entails. The aliens are of vegetable in nature but have taken on human form. In certain episodes they are learning about their human bodies. Their attempts at sleeping (when their human bodies have become very tired), and at eating (when they have become hungry), and then subsequent toilet activities are all hilarious. As long as I live I shall never forget the scene when one needs to move his bowels and he thinks a snake is trying to climb out of his nether hole, and his fellow alien gets up close to see if he can see what is happening to his bent-over colleague. Catch it if you can.

Click here for "Britain's Favourite Novels (BBC POLL)" .

Has the BBC got the Listology bug ?

Numbers 11-100 are shown below.
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. Peter Kay's 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 & 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
97. Life With the Lyons
98. Marriage Lines
99. A Sharp Intake of Breath
100. No Problem

Hey, do we listologers get a vote on this? If so, I'd have to say it's a tie between Father Ted and Blackadder.

Growing up, we watched The Good Life, and while it had its moments, it's definitely not a top tenner.


Vote Here.

Only the top ten can be voted upon, and unfortunately for you, Father Ted finished 11th. However, Backadder is certainly a top candidate.

I agree that The Good Life would not get into my top ten.

I took the liberty of cleaning up this list and post, since there were lots of tags that were either unclosed, or closed in the wrong order, and it was causing the everything after the error (including Listology elements) to render oddly. Just curious: do you code the HTML by hand, or do you have a tool that does it for you. Not being critical, just wondering if this is something I could help remedy.


By hand - I'm an amateur - I taught myself HTML.

I'm not sure how it happened - I usually preview a post before sending it. Thanks.
- -
the
professor
- -

That's cool. The two big things I noticed are that you don't tend to close tags in the correct order:

Wrong: <a href="foo"> <b> bar </a> </b>
Right: <a href="foo"> <b> bar </b> </a>

Think of them as nested boxes. You have to put the lid on the inner box before you put the lid on the outer box.

The other thing is there were many unclosed FONT tags. In preview this will often look correct, in that your fonts will display correctly in your post. The problem is that by not closing them, the font tags affect everything after your post as well (this behavior will vary from browser to browser, so perhaps it wasn't evident on your browser, but it was on mine).

P.S. I think another error was introduced. On my browser (mozilla), everything (and I mean *everything* :-) after the "Porridge" link is bold. I'll leave this one unfixed so you can give it a look.

That's odd. It's fine for me. I'm using AOL.

Some broswers are more forgiving of malformed HTML, and some just interpret the specifications differently. But whenever you write malformed HTML you increase the risk that some (or many) browser won't render it correctly, or unexpected results will be introduced on some platforms. Believe me, life would be SO much easier if all browsers were consistent!


I do recall reading about closing tags in the correct order, now you come to mention it, but it never seemed to make any difference in my browser (IE5), so I guess I slipped into a bad habit there.

'Porridge' did not seem to come out in bold unless I used two sets of tags - the reason why I only closed it the once. I have encountered this problem before (occasionally). I note you left it unfixed - it looks OK to me. Nevertheless I have now reduced it to one set of bold tags so hopefully I have fixed it, although curiously it now appears to me as standard text without the bold effect.

I always preview before posting, and often use the yellow star option after posting for fine tuning when using HTML, so I mostly spot any problems - but not always.

Curiously, of the top ten here, #1 is the only one I've never seen. I think #3, although it was quite good, is overrated on the list. And there are plenty of others not on the list that I would place before #9 and #10. Father Ted was very funny, especially the "kick [the bishop] up the arse" episode.


#1 (Only Fools and Horses) has always been very popular in the UK, but it would not get into my top 10.

I agree with you on #3 also (Vicar of Dibley) - overrated - it would not get into my top 20.

Item 9 (The Good Life) and Item 4 (Dad's Army) would strruggle to reach my top 50.
Item 10 would probably get into my top 30, but not top 10.

I now have an urge to post my own top 10 or 20.

Here's my top ten:

1. Blackadder
2. Fawlty Towers
3. Yes, Minister [and Yes, Prime Minister]
4. Are You Being Served? [Okay, lowbrow and repetitive, but irresistible]
5. Red Dwarf
6. The Young Ones [despite the presence of Alexei Sayle]
7. Hancock's Half Hour [Tony Hancock was a genius]
8. Steptoe and Son
9. Father Ted
10. Porridge


My top three would be remarkably similar:

1. Blackadder
2. Yes, Minister [and Yes, Prime Minister]
3. Fawlty Towers

I'd have to think a bit more on the others, but it would probably go (approximaately, subject to adjustment):

4. Some Mother's Do Ave 'Em
5. The Strangeres (from the Red Dwarf team)
6. Just Good Freinds
7. Shelley
8. The Office
9. Butterflies
10. Goodnight Sweetheart
11.Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
12.Absolutely Fabulous
13. Waiting For God
14. 2.4 Children
15. Doctor In The House
16. The Young Ones (I liked Alexei Sayle better in his own show - not a sitcom)
17. Open All Hours
18. One Foot In The Grave

There is drifting around in my mind another that might get into my top ten (and depose the others), but I cannot think of it immediately - that might not be listed here.

I would also insert Acorn Antiques (from the Victoria Wood show) into my top ten if it were a real series (and not an occasional one).

"There is drifting around in my mind another that might get into my top ten (and depose the others), but I cannot think of it immediately - that might not be listed here. "

I remembered it - Clarence (with Ronnie Barker). &nbsp I would slot it in at number 9 on my list just below The Office.

OK, the only sitcom I know out of the Top 10 is Fawlty Towers. Marvelous, and together with Home Improvement my favourite TV show ever.

For me it's The Brittas Empire, which is pure comical magic and much underated. People just seem to forget about the excellent range of characters, brillant realationships between the characters and the wonderful insane chaos of Whitbury Newtown Leisure Centre. The sitcom combined witty humour with farse and real/sureal situations, which are truely genious. It's a unique comedy gem, and thankful to the wonderful Eureka video, the complete series is avliable on Dvd. It got into the top 50 favourite sitcom's at 47 and deserved much better, although considering out of a hundred that's a very good result, beating 53 different sitcoms! and beat many well-known sitcoms. I mean, what other sitcom would have exploshions, shocks, twists, real and very sureal situations, cows giving birth on squash courts, gas leaks, bears, floods, chainsaw massacres and still be very funny? And the main character being crushed to death and knocking on his own coffin at his funeral?. Absolute genious!.

I never really watched The Brittas Empire other than a few moments here and there. I shall cetainly have to catch up with a few episodes on your recommendation.