Britain's Best Sitcom

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 list of episodes
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 minutes
(180-min. premiere; 90-min. finale)
Production company(s) BBC
Original network BBC Two
Original release 10 January (2004-01-10)[1] – 27 March 2004 (2004-03-27)

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 was a retrospective that examined the history and qualities of the contending programmes. In the premiere episode, Jonathan 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 top sitcom to be Only Fools and Horses.[5]


# Title Presented by Written by Original airdate
1"The Launch"Jonathan Ross[2]TBA10 January 2004 (2004-01-10)
Jonathan Ross recaps the 50 top British sitcoms, as determined by an electronic poll conducted in 2003.
2"Blackadder"John Sergeant[2]TBA17 January 2004 (2004-01-17)
John Sergeant advocates Blackadder, an historical farce that premiered in 1983 on BBC1.
3"Fawlty Towers"Jack Dee[2]TBA24 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]TBA31 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 the southwest London suburb of Surbiton. The first episode premiered on BBC1 in 1975.
5"Yes Minister"Armando Iannucci[2]TBA7 February 2004 (2004-02-07)
Armando Iannucci advocates Yes Minister, a political satire that premiered on BBC2 in 1980.
6"One Foot in the Grave"Rowland Rivron[2]TBA14 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]Johnny Vaughan, Steve Punt21 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]TBA28 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]TBA6 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]TBA13 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, lives among a colourful cast of characters there—and encounters some opposition. BBC1 premiered The Vicar of Dibley in 1994.
11"Dad's Army"Phill Jupitus[2]TBA20 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"Jonathan Ross[2]TBA27 March 2004 (2004-03-27)
Jonathan Ross announces which British sitcom received the most votes from viewers.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "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. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  4. "Britain's Best Sitcom: Top 11 to 100". London: BBC. 2004. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  5. "The Final Top Ten Sitcoms". London: BBC. 2004. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.

Further reading

External links

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