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Encyclopedia > British sitcom


A British sitcom is a situation comedy (sitcom) produced in the United Kingdom. Like sitcoms in most other countries, they tend to be based around a family, workplace or other institution where a group of contrasting characters can be brought together. A common factor is the exploration of social mores, often with a mix of satire or pathos, in contrast to the sometimes uplifting sentiments of many American sitcoms. British comedies are typically produced in series of six episodes each. More recently, the portmanteau term "Britcom" has been used by American commentators to distinguish the British idiom of situation comedy from its other (particularly American) counterparts. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... This article is about a genre of comedy. ... Mores are strongly held norms or customs. ... 1867 edition of Punch, a ground-breaking British magazine of popular humour, including a good deal of satire of the contemporary social and political scene. ... Look up Pathos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A portmanteau (IPA: ) is a word or morpheme that fuses two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded meaning. ... This article is about a genre of comedy. ...

Contents

Overview

Apart from the comparatively short series length of British sitcoms, there are few characteristics that can be identified to be singular to British comedies. The first significant British sitcom was arguably Hancock's Half Hour in the latter half of the 1950s, which was characterised by realism and irreverence. It could be argued that ever since, the climate in British comedy has been divided between the realist and the irreverent. The realist strand has been maintained by such comedies as Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, Only Fools and Horses, and My Family, while the irreverent or surrealist strand has been developed by such comedies as The Young Ones, Bottom, Green Wing, and The Mighty Boosh. Hancocks Half Hour was a famous BBC radio comedy series of the 1950s starring Tony Hancock. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... Only Fools and Horses is a British television sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, and made and broadcast by the BBC. Seven series were originally broadcast in the UK between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003. ... My Family is a British sitcom starring Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker that first aired in 2000. ... The Young Ones was a popular British sitcom, first seen in 1982, which aired on BBC2. ... Bottom was a British sitcom (aka britcom) of the early 1990s (and later a series of stage shows) written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. ... Green Wing is an award-winning British television comedy set in the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust. ... The Mighty Boosh is a British comedy television series and live show about two friends who go on a series of magical adventures. ...


Characteristics

It is often the everyday wit and wordplay traditionally attributed to pubs, shop floors and staff rooms up and down the country that provides much of the comedy in many British sitcoms.[citation needed] The most sedately written series repudiate structured jokes altogether and attempt to reproduce an everyday environment with the intention of also reproducing its comedy. The forerunner of this style is probably Hancock's Half Hour on TV and radio in the 1950s. More recent examples of this hyperreal approach include The Royle Family and The Office as well as many British comedy-dramas. Their reliance on character-led, rather than plot-led, humour requires strongly defined characters with whom the audience can identify. Look up Wit in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Word play is a literary technique in which the nature of the words used themselves become part of the subject of the work. ... An amusingly named pub (the Old New Inn) at Bourton-on-the-Water, in the Cotswold Hills of South West England A pub in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh, Scotland A public house, usually known as a pub, is a drinking establishment found mainly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada... Hancocks Half Hour was a famous BBC radio comedy series of the 1950s starring Tony Hancock. ... In semiotics and postmodern philosophy, the term hyperreality characterizes the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy, especially in technologically advanced postmodern cultures. ... The Royle Family is a popular, BAFTA award-winning[1] television sitcom produced by Granada Television for the BBC, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2000, with a special episode in late 2006. ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ...


With fewer writers in a project, more unusual and complex fantasy worlds can be created. A significant subset of British comedy therefore consciously avoids traditional situation comedy themes and story lines to branch out into more unusual topics or narrative methods. Such freedom and experimentation is one of the benefits of the British approach and has produced such series as The League of Gentlemen, Marion and Geoff, 15 Storeys High, Spaced and Green Wing. The League of Gentlemen is a troupe of British comedy performers, and the name of their stage, radio, and latterly television series. ... Marion and Geoff was a BBC television comedy starring Rob Brydon as Keith Barret, a naïve cab driver going through a messy divorce from his wife, Marion, who, though he failed to realise it, had had a long-standing affair with his best friend, Geoff. ... 15 Storeys High is a 2002 British sitcom, set in a tower block, written by Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman and Mark Lamarr (as Mark Jones), and directed by Mark Nunneley. ... For the song by the Smashing Pumpkins, see Pisces Iscariot. ... Green Wing is an award-winning British television comedy set in the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust. ...


Farce is also a common theme in British sitcoms, exemplified by Fawlty Towers and 'Allo 'Allo!. The Restoration comedy tradition of bawdiness and innuendo has also been well served through series such as Are You Being Served? and Up Pompeii!. Look up farce in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... Allo Allo! was a long-running British sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992 comprising eighty-five episodes. ... Refinement meets burlesque in Restoration comedy. ... Are You Being Served? was a long-running British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. ... Up Pompeii! was a British television comedy series of the 1970s, starring Frankie Howerd. ...


Novel approaches to comedy such as those taken by Blackadder and Yes Minister have challenged the idea of what constitutes a sitcom and have also injected variety into the mainstream.[citation needed] A popular development in recent years has been spoof television series, as in KYTV, The Day Today, People Like Us and The Office. For other uses, see Blackadder (disambiguation). ... Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. ... In contemporary usage, a parody (or lampoon) is a work that imitates another work in order to ridicule, ironically comment on, or poke some affectionate fun at the work itself, the subject of the work, the author or fictional voice of the parody, or another subject. ... KYTV is a UK comedy spoof television show, the TV version of Radio Active. ... The Day Today is a surreal British parody of television current affairs news programmes. ... For other uses, see People Like Us (disambiguation). ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ...


Another key theme in a large number of British sitcoms is entrapment. Characters as diverse as Basil Fawlty, Granville, Mildred Roper, Edmund Blackadder, René Artois and numerous others are trapped in their situations and seem to have some inner longing to escape from them. Victor Meldrew is plagued by the banalities of his retired life, the characters in The Office are stuck in a pointless job, Rodney and Delboy in Only Fools And Horses are continuously trying to strike it rich and Eddie and Richie in Bottom are trapped together by their respective character flaws. Perhaps most blatantly, the characters in Porridge are prisoners. For the film, see Entrapment (film). ... Basil Fawlty Basil Fawlty is the major character in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers, played by John Cleese. ... Open All Hours was a BBC sitcom written by Roy Clarke which ran for four series (26 episodes in all) between 1976 and 1985, with a pilot episode from the Seven of One series in 1973. ... George and Mildred was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1980. ... For other uses, see Blackadder (disambiguation). ... Allo Allo! was a British sitcom that ran on BBC1 from 1984 to 1992. ... One Foot in the Grave was a popular BBC television situation comedy series written by David Renwick. ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ... Rodney Charlton Trotter (born 26 February 1960[1] in Peckham, London) is a fictional character in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Only Fools and Horses is a British television sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, and made and broadcast by the BBC. Seven series were originally broadcast in the UK between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003. ... Bottom was a British sitcom (aka britcom) of the early 1990s (and later a series of stage shows) written by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. ... Porridge was a British BBC television sitcom (1974–1977), written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and starring Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. ...


History

The first true British sitcom was Pinwright's Progress, broadcast by the BBC from 1946 to 1947, but the form didn't really take off until the transfer of Hancock's Half Hour from BBC radio in the 1950s. The series remains the most successful and fondly remembered early sitcom, and was successful enough to run simultaneously on BBC Radio and television throughout the late 1950s. It was renowned for its ability to evacuate pubs and streets as listeners stayed at home to tune in to Hancock's latest misadventures. Hancock's Half Hour, with its emphasis on character and believable situations, was probably the most influential of all British sitcoms. In the 1960s its creators, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, would go on to write the almost equally popular Steptoe and Son, about a man's fractious relationship with his elderly father. The series was the first to cast established actors in the leading roles, instead of comedians. Pinwrights Progress was a black-and-white British sitcom that aired from 1946 to 1947 and was the worlds first regular half-hour sitcom. ... Hancocks Half Hour was a famous BBC radio comedy series of the 1950s starring Tony Hancock. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. ... Ray Galton, OBE (born 1930) and Alan Simpson, OBE (born 1929) are British scriptwriters who met in 1948 at a Tuberculosis sanatorium in London. ... Ray Galton OBE (born 1930), and Alan Simpson OBE (born 1929), are British scriptwriters who met in 1948 at a tuberculosis sanatorium in London. ... Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about two rag and bone men living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherds Bush, London. ...


Unlike American sitcoms, British sitcoms are produced by just one or two writers, and are sometimes characterised as having fewer jokes than those from other countries, and with longer build-ups. The measured approach engendered by a single writer or a close writing partnership can permit greater control over the programme's direction and a structured approach to character and plot development. Individual writers who have made a significant contribution to the genre include John Sullivan, Johnny Speight, Roy Clarke, Jimmy Perry and David Croft (who are also regarded to have been superlative as a writing partnership), Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, while the most notable writing partnerships include Rob Grant & Doug Naylor (Grant Naylor), Ray Galton & Alan Simpson, Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais and John Esmonde & Bob Larbey. This is in contrast to American sitcoms, for example, which traditionally employ teams of writers and attempt to include many jokes per episode. John Sullivan OBE (born December 23, 1946 in Balham, London, England) is the writer of several British sitcoms including the immensely popular Only Fools and Horses as well as Citizen Smith, Dear John, Just Good Friends, Roger Roger, and The Green Green Grass. ... Johnny Speight (June 2, 1920 - July 5, 1998), was a TV scriptwriter of many classic British sitcoms. ... Roy Clarke (born January 28, 1930 in Goole, Yorkshire) is a British comedy writer, best known for creating Last of the Summer Wine starring Bill Owen, Peter Sallis, Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff and Dame Thora Hird amongst others (he also wrote the prequel First of the Summer Wine); and Keeping... Jimmy Perry (1923- ) is a writer and actor, most famous for writing the BBC sitcom Dads Army with David Croft. ... David Croft (born September 7, 1922 in Sandbanks, United Kingdom) is a writer, producer and actor. ... Richard Curtis in London, 1999 Richard Curtis CBE, (born 8 November 1956), is a New Zealand-born British screenwriter, best known for the TV programmes Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley as well as movies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. ... Benjamin Charles Elton (born 3 May 1959) is an English comedian, writer and director. ... Rob Grants novel, Colony. ... Doug Naylor is a British comedy writer who was born in Manchester, England. ... Grant Naylor is a cult leader and an underground artist, who lives in Sydney Australia. ... Ray Galton OBE (born 17 July 1930), and Alan Simpson OBE (born 27 November 1929), are British scriptwriters who met in 1948 at a tuberculosis sanatorium in London. ... Dick Clement (born September 5, 1937) is an English writer. ... Ian La Frenais, born 7 January 1937 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England, is, in partnership with Dick Clement, one of the most influential television writers in Britain. ... John Esmonde (born 1937) and Bob Larbey (born 1934) were a successful British television comedy scriptwriting duo from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating popular situation comedies such as Please Sir! and The Good Life. ... John Esmonde and Bob Larbey (born 1934) were a successful British television comedy scriptwriting duo from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating popular sitcoms such as Please, Sir and The Good Life. ...


In the same decade Johnny Speight's Till Death Us Do Part often caused a stir at the dinner table, inciting debate on political issues — particularly those surrounding race and immigration. Meanwhile, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais created their series The Likely Lads. Clement and La Frenais would be among the most successful sitcom writing partnerships in Britain. Their later successes included Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Johnny Speight (June 2, 1920 - July 5, 1998), was a TV scriptwriter of many classic British sitcoms. ... Dick Clement (born September 5, 1937) is an English writer. ... Ian La Frenais, born 7 January 1937 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England, is, in partnership with Dick Clement, one of the most influential television writers in Britain. ... The Likely Lads was a hit British sitcom created and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. ... Porridge was a British BBC television sitcom (1974–1977), written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and starring Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. ... Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is a popular British comedy-drama series created by Franc Roddam and mostly written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who had also written The Likely Lads, What Ever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Porridge. ...


The 1960s also saw the creation of Dad's Army, (BBC), The Liver Birds, (BBC) and On The Buses, (ITV). Dad’s Army was a British sitcom about the Home Guard in the Second World War. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... The Liver Birds, co-written by Carla Lane and Myra Taylor, was the distaff answer to the popular Geordie series, The Likely Lads. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... On The Buses was a British situation comedy created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney. ... For other uses, see ITV (disambiguation). ...


The 1970s introduced several successful British sitcoms, including John Cleese and Connie Booth's farcical Fawlty Towers, John Esmonde and Bob Larbey's self-sufficiency comedy The Good Life, and Roy Clarke's Open All Hours and the long-running Last of the Summer Wine. Cleese redirects here. ... Constance Booth (Born: December 2, 1944) is an American writer and actress best known for her appearances on British television, and particularly for her work with her former husband John Cleese. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... John Esmonde (born 1937) and Bob Larbey (born 1934) were a successful British television comedy scriptwriting duo from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating popular situation comedies such as Please Sir! and The Good Life. ... John Esmonde and Bob Larbey (born 1934) were a successful British television comedy scriptwriting duo from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating popular sitcoms such as Please, Sir and The Good Life. ... Roy Clarke (born January 28, 1930 in Goole, Yorkshire) is a British comedy writer, best known for creating Last of the Summer Wine starring Bill Owen, Peter Sallis, Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff and Dame Thora Hird amongst others (he also wrote the prequel First of the Summer Wine); and Keeping... Open All Hours was a BBC sitcom written by Roy Clarke which ran for four series (26 episodes in all) between 1976 and 1985, with a pilot episode from the Seven of One series in 1973. ... Last of the Summer Wine (Originally The Last of the Summer Wine in the pilot episode), is a BBC sitcom written by Roy Clarke. ...


The commercial station ITV found success with Rising Damp, Man About the House, George and Mildred, and the now decidedly politically incorrect Love Thy Neighbour, based on the rivalry between a black man and his bigoted white neighbour. Mind Your Language spent each episode making fun of other nationalities and was dismissed by some critics as crude caricature, although it also sold surprisingly well abroad. ITV has had few successful sitcoms in recent years, with rare successes like Hardware appearing in off-peak time slots. Men Behaving Badly, one of the biggest successes of the 1990s, began life as an ITV series in 1992, before being cancelled and picked up by the BBC. For other uses, see ITV (disambiguation). ... Rising Damp was a UK television sitcom produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV, first broadcast from 1974 to 1978. ... Man About the House was a British sitcom starring Richard OSullivan, Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett that was broadcast for six series on ITV from 1973 to 1976. ... George and Mildred was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1980. ... Love Thy Neighbour was a British sitcom that ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1976, made by Thames Television for ITV. It starred Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. ... Mind Your Language is a British comedy television series originally shown on ITV between 1977 and 1979. ... This article is about the sitcom. ... Men Behaving Badly is a British comedy, which first broadcasted in 1992 on the ITV network, however moved to BBC One (and a later timeslot) from the third series onwards. ...


Since the 1960s, the Cambridge Footlights club, the London based Comic Strip club and the Edinburgh Fringe have been the breeding grounds for much new talent in British comedy. The new wave of 1980s comedians produced The Young Ones, an anarchic, knockabout romp and, co-written by the same writer, the more sophisticated historical satire Blackadder. The ADC Theatre is the home of the Footlights. ... The Comic Strip is a group of British comedians, best known collectively for their television series The Comic Strip Presents. ... A street performer on the Royal Mile, with volunteer (2004). ... The Young Ones; Left to right: Jerzi Balowski (Alexei Sayle), Neil (Nigel Planer), Rik (Rick Mayall), Mike (Christopher Ryan) & Viv (Adrian Edmondson) The Young Ones was a British sitcom about four male students sharing a house. ... For other uses, see Blackadder (disambiguation). ...


Traditional sitcoms continued to prosper, however, particularly with John Sullivan's Only Fools and Horses which dominated the British sitcom scene in the 1980s and 1990s. The series was voted "Britain's Best Sitcom" in the 2004 BBC poll of the same name. The 1980s also saw the unlikely success of the political satire Yes Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister. Other hits included Esmonde and Larbey's suburban sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles, and the sci-fi-comedy Red Dwarf. John Sullivan (b. ... Only Fools and Horses is a British television sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, and made and broadcast by the BBC. Seven series were originally broadcast in the UK between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003. ... Britains Best Sitcom was a poll conducted in 2003 and 2004 by the BBC to identify the United Kingdoms best situation comedy. ... 1867 edition of Punch, a ground-breaking British magazine of popular humour, including a good deal of satire of the contemporary social and political scene. ... Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. ... John Esmonde (born 1937) and Bob Larbey (born 1934) were a successful British television comedy scriptwriting duo from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating popular situation comedies such as Please Sir! and The Good Life. ... Illustration of the backyards of a surburban neighbourhood Suburbs are inhabited districts located either on the outer rim of a city or outside the official limits of a city (the term varies from country to country), or the outer elements of a conurbation. ... Ever Decreasing Circles was a British sitcom which ran on BBC1 for four series from 1984 to 1987. ... Sci-fi is an abbreviation for science fiction. ... This article is about the British sitcom. ...


The unlikely story of three priests — one vain, one simple, one alcoholic — gave the 1990s one of its biggest hits in Father Ted. Shows such as Birds of a Feather and The Vicar of Dibley also maintained the popularity of the traditional sitcom, and One Foot in the Grave brought black comedy and suburban angst into the mainstream. Father Ted was a popular 1990s television situation comedy set around the lives of three priests on the extremely remote (and completely fictional) Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland. ... Birds Of A Feather is the second track on Phishs 1998 album The Story of the Ghost. ... The Vicar of Dibley is a British sitcom created by Richard Curtis and written for its lead actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit Hesketh-Harvey. ... One Foot in the Grave was a popular BBC television situation comedy series written by David Renwick. ... This article is about the tone of comedy. ... For other uses, see Angst (disambiguation). ...


More unorthodox comedies, including The Royle Family, People Like Us and The League of Gentlemen, managed to breathe new life into the genre while appealing both to "mainstream" audiences and a new generation of viewers. Many of these more innovative series started life on BBC radio, building up a cult following before being remade for television. Other series that began in this way include The Mighty Boosh and The Day Today, the latter a spin-off from the radio series On the Hour. The Royle Family is a popular, BAFTA award-winning[1] television sitcom produced by Granada Television for the BBC, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2000, with a special episode in late 2006. ... For other uses, see People Like Us (disambiguation). ... The League of Gentlemen is a troupe of British comedy performers, and the name of their stage, radio, and latterly television series. ... BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. ... The Mighty Boosh is a British comedy television series and live show about two friends who go on a series of magical adventures. ... The Day Today is a surreal British parody of television current affairs news programmes. ... On The Hour double cassette cover featuring Chris Morris, 1992. ...


The BBC has also begun using its digital channels BBC Three and BBC Four to build a following for off-beat series like The Thick of It. Many of these series have dispensed with the studio audience and canned laughter tracks altogether, in the manner of The Royle Family and The Office. The commercial station Channel 4 has also actively encouraged new writers to produce interesting work. Some of its recent successes include Father Ted, Spaced, Phoenix Nights, Black Books, Green Wing and Peep Show. For the BBC radio station, see BBC Radio 3. ... For the BBC radio station, see BBC Radio 4. ... The Thick of It is a British comedy television series, which satirises the inner workings of modern British government. ... A laugh track or canned laughter is a separate soundtrack with the sound of audience laughter, made to be inserted into TV comedy shows and sitcoms. ... The Royle Family is a popular, BAFTA award-winning[1] television sitcom produced by Granada Television for the BBC, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2000, with a special episode in late 2006. ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ... This article is about the British television station. ... Father Ted was a popular 1990s television situation comedy set around the lives of three priests on the extremely remote (and completely fictional) Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland. ... For the song by the Smashing Pumpkins, see Pisces Iscariot. ... {{Infobox television| show_name=Peter Kays Phoenix Nights| image= | caption=| format=Comedy (sitcom)| runtime=30 minutes (approximate)| creator=Peter Kay Dave Spikey | starring=Peter Kay Dave Spikey [[Neil Fitzmaurice]] Patrick McGuinness [[Steve Edge]] Toby Foster [[Archie Kelly (comedian)|Archie Kelly]] Janice Connolly Bea Kelley Justin Moorhouse [[Daniel Kitson]] Ted Robbins... Black Books is a British sitcom broadcast on Channel 4 starring Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig. ... Green Wing is an award-winning British television comedy set in the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust. ... Peep Show is a BAFTA award-winning British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. ...


Many of the most critically acclaimed sitcoms of recent years have appeared on BBC2 and Channel 4, rather than on the more popular BBC1 and ITV channels. ITV has had very few successful situation comedies since the 1980s, while the only notable success for BBC1 in the last few years is the critically-derided My Family. For the BBC radio station, see BBC Radio 2. ... This article is about the British television station. ... BBC One (or BBC1 as it was formerly styled) is the oldest United Kingdom, and indeed, the world. ... For other uses, see ITV (disambiguation). ... BBC One (or BBC1 as it was formerly styled) is the oldest United Kingdom, and indeed, the world. ... My Family is a British sitcom starring Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker that first aired in 2000. ...


See also British comedy British Comedy, in film, radio and television, is known for its consistently quirky characters, plots and settings, and has produced some of the most famous and memorable comic actors and characters in the last fifty years. ...


British sitcoms overseas

United States

In the United States, British sitcoms are rarely seen on the commercial networks, but are often seen on the Public Broadcasting Service and increasingly on cable television, including BBC America and Comedy Central. PBS redirects here. ... BBC America is an American television network, owned and operated by BBC Worldwide, which was launched on March 29, 1998, available on both cable and satellite. ... Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel in the United States. ...


The most significant impediment to the success of British sitcoms in the USA, apart from differences in humour, is the low production rate of a typical show. Commercial networks expect to run at least 22 episodes in a complete season, although not all 22 are expected to be "in the can" when the season starts. A British sitcom, and indeed any British show, begins with much lower expectations. Runs of as few as 6 episodes per series are common (as with Fawlty Towers) and 13 episodes is generally the maximum. Commercial networks in the USA expect to capture and hold a time slot against the competition, hopefully with follow-on effects for shows in later slots. British sitcoms generally fail in this regard. The "team writing" approach used in the USA is a necessary part of the high production approach. In contrast, writers on British sitcoms are usually limited to one or two and have been known to complain of exhaustion in producing their more limited runs, cases in point being John Cleese of Fawlty Towers and Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous. Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... Cleese redirects here. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... Jennifer Jane Saunders (born July 6, 1958[1] in Sleaford, Lincolnshire) is a BAFTA- and Emmy Award-winning English comedian, writer and actress. ... This article is about the television series. ...


Even in the more limited field of cable networks and syndication, British sitcoms suffer because more commercials are expected to be inserted in the show, compared to the number inserted if they are broadcast on a commercial channel in the UK. This interferes with the rhythm of the plot as interruptions occur at least three times during the show proper, compared to the maximum single break of a half-hour show in the UK.


Despite this, Absolutely Fabulous enjoyed a significant following when it aired on Comedy Central in the 1990s, and The Office won a Golden Globe award in 2004 for "Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy", beating popular American favourites such as HBO's Sex and the City and NBC's Will & Grace. Keeping Up Appearances is also shown on the Public Broadcasting Service. This article is about the television series. ... The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. ... The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and television programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. ... For other uses, see HBO (disambiguation). ... This article is about the television series. ... This article is about the television network. ... Will & Grace is a popular American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on NBC from 1998 to 2006. ... Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom starring Patricia Routledge as social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket. ... PBS redirects here. ...


A few British sitcoms were successfully reworked for U.S. audiences. Four notable examples are Steptoe and Son which became Sanford and Son, Man About the House, which became Three's Company on ABC (along with its spin-offs George and Mildred and Robin's Nest which became The Ropers and Three's a Crowd), Keep It In The Family, which became Too Close For Comfort and Till Death Us Do Part, which became All in the Family on CBS. Other series were not as lucky. Beanes of Boston, an Americanised version of Are You Being Served?, was not picked up in 1979, and remakes of Porridge, Red Dwarf and Dad's Army have all failed to get beyond a pilot episode. Fawlty Towers was made into a shortlived sitcom called Payne. In 1999, the U.S. version of Coupling, a series often compared to Friends, was cancelled shortly after premiering on NBC, but the network's American version of The Office, which debuted in 2005 and features Steve Carell in the lead. Many successful British TV shows (particularly sitcoms) have been remade for the American market. ... Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about two rag and bone men living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherds Bush, London. ... Sanford and Son is an American sitcom that premiered on the NBC television network on January 14, 1972 and was broadcast for six seasons. ... Man About the House was a British sitcom starring Richard OSullivan, Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett that was broadcast for six series on ITV from 1973 to 1976. ... Threes Company is an American sitcom that ran from 1977 to 1984 on ABC. It is a remake of the British sitcom Man About the House. ... The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American television network. ... George and Mildred was a British sitcom produced by Thames Television that aired from 1976 to 1980. ... Robins Nest was a British television sitcom. ... The Ropers was an American sitcom that ran from March 1979 to April 1980. ... Threes a Crowd was a short-lived American television sitcom spinoff of Threes Company. ... Keep It In The Family was an American television game show hosted by Bill Nimmo and Keefe Brasselle, and originally announced, in part, by Johnny Olsen. ... Too Close for Comfort can refer to: Too Close for Comfort, a popular song written by Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd, and Dougie Poynter (McFly) in 2006. ... Keep it in the Family is a British comedy television series. ... This article is about the broadcast network. ... Are You Being Served? was a long-running British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. ... Porridge was a British BBC television sitcom (1974–1977), written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and starring Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. ... This article is about the British sitcom. ... Dad’s Army was a British sitcom about the Home Guard in the Second World War. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... The surname Payne stems from paganus, see pagan. ... Coupling is a British television sitcom written by Steven Moffat that aired on BBC2 from May 2000 to 2004 . ... This article is about the television show. ... This article is about the television network. ... The Office is a television show, broadcast by NBC and co-produced by Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille Productions, in association with NBC Universal Television Studio. ... Steven John Carell (born August 16, 1962[1]) is a Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning American comedian, actor, producer and writer, who rose to fame as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, from 1999 to 2004. ...


Some British series have themselves been based on American examples, including The Upper Hand (a remake of Who's the Boss), and Brighton Belles, an unsuccessful Anglicised version of The Golden Girls. More recently, My Family used a team of writers to mimic American-style sitcoms. The Upper Hand was a sitcom, produced by Central Television and broadcast by ITV from 1990 to 1996. ... Cast of Whos the Boss? Whos the Boss? was a television sitcom starring Tony Danza which aired for eight seasons on ABC from 1984 to 1992. ... Getty as Sophia, McClanahan as Blanche, White as Rose, and Arthur as Dorothy The Golden Girls was a popular sitcom that originally aired Saturday nights in primetime on the NBC network from September 14, 1985 to September 7, 1992. ... For the Hong Kong film, see The Golden Girls (1995 film). ... My Family is a British sitcom starring Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker that first aired in 2000. ...


Australia

Although many British comedies were shown on the three commercial TV networks in Australia in the 1970s and early 80s (e.g. On the Buses, Mind Your Language, Doctor in the House, The Upchat Line, The Upchat Connection, Haggard, Get Some In!, Sink or Swim, My Wife Next Door, The Piglet Files, 'Allo 'Allo, and Me and My Girl) the channels stopped showing them by the late 1980s. One issue was the difficulty of fitting a half-hour BBC sitcom (without adverts) into a 25-minute Australian TV slot with advertising breaks. A television network is a distribution network for television content whereby a central operation provides programming for many television stations. ... On The Buses was a British situation comedy created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney. ... Doctor in the House was a British television comedy series produced by London Weekend Television from 1969 to 1970. ... Get Some In! was a British television series about life in RAF National Service broadcast between 1975 and 1978 by Thames Television. ... Sink or Swim is a TV show from the 80s with Peter Davison as the lead character Brian Webber. ... My Wife Next Door was a BBC sitcom written by Brian Clemens and Richard Waring first aired in 1972. ... The Piglet Files is a British sitcom produced by Granada Television. ... Allo Allo! was a British sitcom that ran on BBC1 from 1984 to 1992. ... Me and My Girl is a popular British stage musical, with book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose and music by Noel Gay. ...


Australian commercial television channels made their own versions of popular British comedies during the 1970s, which featured major stars of the various series having come to Australia for some reason (within the series' storylines). Australian versions of British series, complete with their original British stars, included: Are You Being Served? (with John Inman as "Mr. Humphries"), Father, Dear Father (with Patrick Cargill as "Patrick Glover", and Noël Dyson as "Nanny"), Doctor in the House (with Robin Nedwell as "Dr. Duncan Waring", and Geoffrey Davies as "Dr. Dick Stuart Clark"), Love Thy Neighbour (with Jack Smethurst as "Eddie Booth"), and Up the Convicts (with Frankie Howerd in a Lurcio-style persona). Are You Being Served? was a long-running British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. ... Frederick John Inman (28 June 1935 – 8 March 2007) was an English actor who was best known for his role as Mr. ... Father, Dear Father is a British television sitcom about a novelist Patrick Glover (played by Patrick Cargill), and his two blonde daughters, Karen Glover (played by Ann Holloway) and Anna Glover (played by Natasha Pyne) and Nanny (played by Noël Dyson). ... Patrick Cargill (3 June 1918 – 23 May 1996) was a British actor. ... Doctor in the House was a British television comedy series produced by London Weekend Television from 1969 to 1970. ... Robin Nedwell (27 September 1946 - 1 February 1999) was an English actor. ... Geoffrey Davies (born December 15, 1942 at Yorkshire, England), is a British actor who studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. ... Love Thy Neighbour was a British sitcom that ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1976, made by Thames Television for ITV. It starred Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. ... Jack Smethurst is a British actor. ... Frankie Howerd OBE (born Francis Alick Howard, 6 March 1917 – 19 April 1992), was a distinctive English comedian and comic actor whose career spanned six decades. ... Up Pompeii! was a British television comedy series of the 1970s, starring Frankie Howerd. ...


British programs (including sitcoms) have long been standard fare on the other major channel, ABC. The large majority of major BBC sitcoms aired in Australia have been shown on the ABC, with some of the British sitcoms having been re-aired many times. The station lacks ad breaks, being funded by the Australian Federal Government. With the national sense of humour often akin to the British one, tending to be dry, deadpan, ironic or sarcastic, British sitcoms are popular in Australia, and the major ones are widely available in public libraries and video and DVD shops. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC is Australias national non-profit public broadcaster. ... The Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC is Australias national non-profit public broadcaster. ... Australia is a constitutional monarchy, a federation and a parliamentary democracy. ...


Canada

Since the days of Benny Hill and Fawlty Towers, British series have always fared well and have developed cult status with many Canadians. The sense of humour is somewhat similar and transfers well with Canadians. Similar to Australian TV, Canadian TV's 30 minute programming format is actually more like 20 minutes with 10 minutes of adverts; thus, many British series have to be edited to fit the format. Many Canadians also make up a large part of the audience of nearby American PBS channels, where they are able to view the British series unedited. Alfred Hawthorn Hill (21 January 1924 – 19 April 1992), better known as Benny Hill, was a prolific English comic, actor and singer, best known for his television programme, The Benny Hill Show. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... This article concerns television in Canada, including its history, programming and business. ...


See also

Britains Best Sitcom was a poll conducted in 2003 and 2004 by the BBC to identify the United Kingdoms best situation comedy. ... British Comedy, in film, radio and television, is known for its consistently quirky characters, plots and settings, and has produced some of the most famous and memorable comic actors and characters in the last fifty years. ... British humour is a somewhat general term applied to certain comedic motifs that are often prevalent in comedic acts originating in Great Britain and its current or former colonies. ... Many successful British TV shows (particularly sitcoms) have been remade for the American market. ... A list of comedies by medium and country of origin. ... This article is about a genre of comedy. ... This is a list of British television sitcoms that have been adapted into cinema films, either during their original television run or afterwards. ...

Further reading

  • Lewisohn, Mark (2003) Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy. 2nd Ed. Revised — BBC Consumer Publishing. ISBN 0-563-48755-0

External links

Articles

  • BBC Britain's Best Sitcom
  • Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, June 7, 2005, "Del Boy is top of the class, say sitcom scientists" - scientist develops formula for measuring (British) sitcom success
  • Kettering #1 — an article about 1970s films based on popular British television sitcoms (PDF)

For other uses, see Guardian. ... is the 158th day of the year (159th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... “PDF” redirects here. ...

Lists and guides


  Results from FactBites:
 
Situation comedy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3173 words)
Sitcoms usually consist of recurring characters in a format in which there are one or more humorous story lines centred on a common environment, such as a family home or workplace.
British sitcoms, many from the BBC, are a staple on the government broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian equivalent of the BBC, and traditionally many have also been shown by the Seven Network.
Sitcoms broadcast in South Africa during the apartheid era were often English-language imports from the United States of America.
British sitcom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2302 words)
A British sitcom is a situation comedy (sitcom) produced in the United Kingdom.
Traditional sitcoms continued to prosper, however, with such shows as John Sullivan's Only Fools and Horses, which has dominated the British sitcom scene ever since and was voted "Britain's Best Sitcom" in the 2004 BBC poll of the same name.
In the United States, British sitcoms are rarely seen on the commercial networks, but are often seen on the Public Broadcasting Service and increasingly on cable television, including BBC America and Comedy Central.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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