Channel 4's Ultimate Sitcom

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  • On Friday 2nd January 2006, Channel 4 in the UK aired a show called 'The Ultimate Sitcom', in which they had polled comedians, TV critics, comedy actors and sitcom writers to find the Ultimate Sitcom - UK or US. The show informed us of the top 20, I've posted the below for those of you who didn't see the show (which was, by the way, very good).
  • 20. The Young Ones (UK)
  • 19. Rising Damp (UK)
  • 18. Hancock's Half Hour (UK)
  • 17. The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin (UK)
  • 16. The Good Life (UK)
  • 15. Curb Your Enthusiasm (US)
  • 14. Yes Minister (UK)
  • 13. I'm Alan Partridge (UK)
  • 12. Cheers (US)
  • 11. Father Ted (UK/IRL)
  • 10. The Office (UK)
  • 9. Spaced (UK)
  • 8. Blackadder (UK)
  • 7. Dad's Army (UK)
  • 6. The Phil Silvers Show (US)
  • 5. The Larry Sanders Show (US)
  • 4. Porridge (UK)
  • 3. Seinfeld (US)
  • 2. Fawlty Towers (UK)
  • 1. Frasier (US)
Author Comments: 

I was very pleased with the #1, and #3 was also deserving. I've always found FT overrated though, and not seeing Only Fools and Horses (and maybe The Simpsons.. if it counts) was a disappointment.

Nah, Wez, Fawlty Towers can never be overrated... I'm not too sure about trying to compare and rate alongside UK and US sitcoms because they are quite frankly two completely different art forms... The BBC had done their version of the best sitcoms earlier in 2005 or probably late 2004... I'm surprised on my part not to find AbFab in here or Red Dwarf, given these were two of the rare UK sitcoms to enjoy success in US as well... Del Boy, Rodney and the lot had been chosen as BBC's viewers most favorite sitcom of all-time, by the way...

Yeah, I saw the Britain's Best Sitcom series on BBC, I was pleased Only Fools topped that one... I seem to recall FT came in about 5th on that one. I was surprised not to see Red Dwarf too, that's one of the most notable cult comedies of all-time.

Sorry, I just find FT .. not that great! But hey, we're a very rare breed, us FT detractors. For me, it's good, but not best-sitcom-ever good.

Agreed about the UK and US thing by the way, it's very hard to compare. They're very different.

As I live in a neighbouring continental country and we Belgians have been receiving BBC 1&2 on cable for ages, and also have been broadcast american sitcoms mostly in french versions on belgian and french TV channels, I can honestly say nothing compares to british sitcom humour... So, well, my favorites would be... any Mayall&Edmonson vehicle with a special nostalgic nod to the Young Ones but Bottom remains a strong favourite and their other 80's comedy one-shots, most notably the cultucular Bad News... As for more regular sitcoms, naturally the saga of the Trotter (or is it Trutter?) family holds a very deserved place atop UK TV folklore... I am also, you've already understood that, a big fan of Fawlty Towers... I enjoy lots of more recent shows, Coupling is excellent, Gimme Gimme Gimme was sometimes so over the top that it really made me cry laughing... I, once, dutifully followed every episode I could of Birds of a Feather but I feel a bit ashamed about that now... Now, Father Ted, well it's filthy but it's so hilarious... In a cleaner kind of humour, I did enjoy the Vicar of Dibley a lot... Speaking fo Father Ted, the recent one about the guy playing Father McDougal being an alien superhero is nice as well though it's often very silly... I don't remember the title of the one with the family, it's a lot like the setting of an american sitcom but the humour is definitely british, the father has dark hair, the mom is a bit fat and the eldest son is completely stupid, but I liked the episodes I saw of that one... In more classic comedy, I enjoyed every rerun I saw of Sykes and though its social content is dated, I believe Are you being Served still holds very funny moments... Porridge, though, strangely, I never liked, must be too british for me I guess... As I commented recently in one of 1922's lists, I am a huge Benny Hill devotee... Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize I prefer comedy shows over sitcoms, The Fast Show, Little Britain, Not the 9 'o clock News, French&Saunders, Goodness Gracious Me and the recent Dead Ringers which I find very innovative for british humour, even though that kind of show is a staple of french comedy (ah, that's the European Union being built for you)... But back to sitcoms, I am not, and please don't count me among them, a detractor of the more dramatical path Only Fools and Horses has been taking in its later incarnations... I still believe the episode where Uncle Albert runs away and ends up on the London Docks not recongnizing anything from his childhood since everything has been demolished down and built back up, is one of the best things that ever was broadcast on the Beeb... Blackadder I am a little torn about it, as I am about most of Rowan Atkinson's TV and movies works... Though I enjoyed The Thin Blue Line quite plentily but mostly because it revealed the comedy talent of the guy who later went on to star in Gimme Gimme Gimme... Ok, I'm sure I've forgotten lots of sitcoms I like but they'll come back to me later... Thank you.
Yes, I know, I know it's very very very silly but I just loved Allo Allo, with René and Lieutenant Grüber & his little tank and Heer Flick and Helga and Michelle of the Résistance and all the zany characters that ran around and some played very badly and the plot lines being overstretched and the running gags coming up sometimes twice or three times in a 20-minute episode but it somehow was like a car crash when you just can't turn your eyes away, I just loved it...