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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Top 10 Best British Sitcoms

 If you want to break down all those awkward icebergs floating around me in a social situation please come forth and quote lines from classic British sitcoms! 
British Humour is the creme of the crop: Dry and sarcastic, often based around a quirky, infamous 'alternative' character. It is a very varied genre of TV which I feel is lacking in a lot of American comedy- they all seem to have enviable lifestyles with endless friends, living in big apartment blocks having countless relationships...
Each British Comedy sitcom has it's own identity! 

Here is a list of my top 10 all-time favourite British Sitcoms that I recommend you all check out!

10- Grandma's House  
2010-2012- 2 series, approx. 30 mins episodes

Grandma's House

Written and starring the vulnerably openingly-gay, Jewish Simon Amstell the sitcom is about Simon Amstell as himself leaving Never Mind The Buzzcocks (which he used to present) and starting his own solo acting career. The episodes are all set at his on-screen grandma's house where his on-screen family gather- it reflects issues in his real life as well as scripted story lines.

Its a bit arty-farty in terms of traditional sitcom. Simon's outlandish 'aunt' is the amazing, Samantha Spiro who helps to glue the sitcom together and offsets the more philosophical themes that are explored in Amstell's comedy. 

Like many of these favourite sitcoms- I relate to his social fact when i met him after a gig- unlike any normal human-being meeting their idol, asking for a selfie or a autograph to keep... I asked for a hug...not just any hug... an 'awkward hug' :S well done Belinda- Smooth! 

One of the best lines: Episode 2 Series 1 (You can see the first episode of Youtube)

9- Vicar of Dibley 

1994-2000 3 series (30mins episodes), 6 Specials (approx 60mins each) 
and 6 shorts (Comic Relief spin-offs)

Set in the bumbling, community of a parish church. A woman vicar (Dawn French) causes controversy when she joins the parish. The village of Dibley and the PCC commity (Roger Lloyd Pack/Liz Smith/Trevor Peacock/Gary Waldhorn to name a few) are a group of inadequate odd-bods all with a strange quirk who gather together in an attempt to organise the parish. The humour is gentle and doesn't ridicule Christianity. I have served in the 'backstage' of the church (bell-ringing, church choir, Intercessions, floristry- yes, judge all you like) and at times have been in the middle of incredulous petty bickering. Its such a shame that the church has this stigma- this sitcom encompasses that view of the Church superbly- and that is why it is so funny! (Check out cartoonist Dave Walker- who takes a similar view in his illustrations!). The theme music is the well known and lovely 'The Lord is my Sheppard' by Howard Goodall. 

"Memorable Quotes:"
'No no no no no no no no...yes'

'My name's Alice...because it's my name.'

Alice: 'Well the pregnancy test said I'm not pregnant. The hamster didn't turn blue.'
Geraldine: 'I'm sorry, I don't think I'm familiar with that particular test.'
Alice: 'Oh yes, it's very common in Dibley. You go out and you buy a hamster, and you wee on it. And if it turns blue, you're pregnant.'

1983-1989- 4 series (approx 30mins), 3 Specials

A historical comedy written by Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean another awesome character of brit-com!) and Richard Curtis (known for Films: Notting Hill, About Time, Four Weddings and a Funeral). Ew history? I hear you cry! This is a very different type of history lesson- think horrible histories after the water-shed.  Each series is set in a different historical era: Series 1-the end of the Middle Ages, Series 2-the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Series 3- Regency period, Series 4- the Western Front in the First World War (the end of the last episode is famously poignant). 

This comedy centres around the same character Edmund Blackadder (Atkinson) 'a member of a British family dynasty present at many significant periods and places in British history...It is implied in each series that the Blackadder character is a descendant of the previous one' (wikipedia). He is very superior and satirical. Blackadder is accompanied by his bumbling, inadequate servant, Baldrick (Tony Robinson who presented Time Team!), "Baldrick, your brain is like the four headed, man-eating haddock fish beast of Aberdeen"- "In what way? " - "It doesn't exist " The humour is sexualised, very crude and outrageous!

"Quotable Quotes:"
Baldrick: "Wait my lord, do not despair. For I have a cunning plan"

Blackadder: Right Baldrick, let's try again shall we? This is called adding. If I have two beans, and then I add two more beans, what do I have?
Baldrick: Some beans.
Blackadder: Yes... and no. Let's try again shall we? I have two beans, then I add two more beans. What does that make?
Baldrick: A very small casserole.  

Blackadder: "...And in Genoa, 'tis now the fashion to pin a live frog to the shoulder braid, stand in a bucket and go "bibble" at passers by."

7-Dad's Army
1968-1977- 9 Series (30mins eps) 1st-2nd series in black/white, rest in colour.


A sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. Another historical one yes, but a great contrast to Blackadder: subtle, gentle and timeless. The cast comprised of mostly older gentleman as the home guard was a voluntary based group who were ineligible to join the military. Amongst regulars in each episode were the stocky pompus Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), the swarve and charming Sergent Wilson (John Le Mesurier), the slow but conscientious first-aider Private Godfrey (Arnold Ridley), the eagle-eyed, wary Scottish former-undertaker Private Frazer (John Laurie), young and delicate mummy's boy, Private Pike (Ian Lavender), the cockney -works in the black market- Walker (James Beck) and the overly-enthusiastic Lance-Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn). The humour is light, easy to follow, and pokes fun at the inadequacies of these older fellows in their attempts to aid the war effort.

"Most Famous phrases":
Mainwaring to Pike: 'You stupid boy...'

Sergent Wilson: 'Would you mind awfully forming three neat ranks?'

Frazor: 'We're dooooomed!'

Godfrey- 'Do you think I could be excused sir?'
Lance-Corporal Jones: 'Don't Panic! Don't Panic!'

Lance-Corporal Jones: 'They don't like it up 'em, you know sir! They don't like it up 'em!"

6-The Inbetweeners
2008-2010 3 Series (25 mins) + 2 Feature-length Films
If you went to school or college in the 'Naughties' you will be able to relate to this comedy and will have come across at least 1 of these 'odd-bods' in your friendship circle! It is a coming-of-age comedy series centering around the lives of the conservative and sensible Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) who starts at a new school where he meets vulgar sex-fanatic Jay Cartwright (James Buckley), dim-witted Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) and hopeless romantic, awkward and grumpy Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas). 'The episodes involved situations of school bullying, broken family life, indifferent school staff, male bonding, and largely failed sexual encounters.' (wiki). The series uses a lot of modern Brit rock and indie instrumentals which gives it a young, fresh appeal. The US tried to copy this series, failing miserably. The humour is very sexually graphic with lots of swearing and slang- in other words its much too young for your parents to watch!

'Colourful Quotes':

-Bus W*nker!
-Oooh Friend!

Will: Feisty one you are.
Neil: "I stopped believing in god when I realised it was just dog spelt backwards."

Neil: 'I'm not eatin' that! Its been in the sea!' Will: 'It's a fish, Neil'

To be continued... 

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