Best Review - Top 10 Classic British Television Comedies In The USA


he British do make very good television comedies, so good in fact that not only have many of them been shown in the USA, some have been cloned to create an American version of the show as well.

There can't be many people who haven't heard of shows like Benny Hill, Monty Python or Mr. Bean, and some British Television Comedy Classics have been shown on American TV for over 25 years, for example Are You Being Served.

This is a list of the Top Ten Classic British Television Comedies to gain success in the USA. The selection is a personal one, and different people will ovbiously have different favorites. You can find a truly comprehensive list at Classic British Television Comedies.

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Top 1

Fawlty Towers

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One of the most famous British Television comedies of all time, Fawlty Towers is set in a small privately run hotel on the South Coast of England, and stars John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth and Prunella Scales. I don't know anyone who doesn't find this series anything less than highly amusing, and the show has been aired around the world.

Top 2


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The masterpiece from Rowan Atkinson tells the misfortunes of Edmund Blackadder from the 16th century up to the First World War, and if you are a fan of Rowan Atkinson or historical comedies, this is a show not to be missed. With his servant Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and a cast that includes well known names including Tim McInnerny and Hugh Laurie, the bumbling Blackadder invariably comes unstuck while trying to better his fortunes in a devious fashion.

Top 3

The Benny Hill Show

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Benny Hill was a highly talented comic actor, whose show featured comedy sketches that often had adult innuendo and scantily clad women (called Hill's Angels in later series). His ability to appear as many different characters, in different situations, and to create comic songs to accompany sketches, was second to none, and his comedy has withstood the test of time.

Top 4

Absolutely Fabulous

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Starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, Absolutely Fabulous (or "Ab Fab" as it is popularly called), is about a PR Agent (played by Jennifer Saunders) who is divorced, a heavy drinker and drug user, and obsessed with trying to stay young and hip. Absolutely Fablulous has a cult following around the world, and a new series began in the UK on Christmas Day 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of the original series.

Top 5

Are You Being Served

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Nobody who has seen this show can forget the classic "I'm Free" line uttered by the late John Inman who plays a flamboyant gay shop assistant at Grace Brothers, a British depatment store. The show was aired in the UK from 1972-1985 and has been shown in the USA on PBS for many years. Although the scripts and situations were really awful, the show and it's characters really took off, and at one point it was the second most watched show in the UK. The writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft are well known for creating a number of classic comedy shows on British television over the years.

Top 6

Keeping Up Appearances

Once seen who can forget the awful Mrs Bucket ("it's pronounced Bouquet dear") played by Patricia Routledge, who lives in a working class neighborhood and has a working class family, but who has delusions of grandeur.

Top 7

Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors was originally known as "The Good Life" in the UK and tells the story of Tom and Barbara Good and their neighbors Jerry and Margo Leadbetter. When Tom loses his job, he and Barbara decide to try and become self-sufficient by turning the garden of their home over to growing fruit and vegetables, and for raising animals. This goes down like a lead balloon with their friends and neighbors Jerry and Margo, who are not at all happy about the way that the street that they live on is being devalued by this. Great acting by great actors Richard Briers, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

Top 8

Allo Allo

Also written by legendary British comedy creators Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft , Allo Allo takes place in France during WWII and is set in a small hotel that is run by Rene and his wife. The show sees Rene helping the local Resistance movement against the Germans, and has English spies speaking bad English in an even worse French accent, excentric German officers, and some zany plots that include Rene being supposedly killed, so that for the rest of the show he has to pretend to be his identical twin brother. Allo Allo is wonderfully fully and a must see series.

Top 9

The Vicar Of Dibley

Created by Richard Curtis (one of the writers of Blackadder) for Dawn French, this rollickingly funny series shows the effect of the Anglican Church allowing women in the clergy on a small village, when their vicar is replaced by the larger than life Dawn French. The Vicar Of DIbley is well worth a watch from the beginning of the first series, just to see the characters and plots develop. It's a British Television Comedy classic.

Top 10

Monty Python's Flying Circus

When the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was shown on British television in 1969, nobody really quite knew what had hit them. The show allowed it's cast of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and cartoon animator Terry Gilliam to create some of the silliest and most bizarre comedy sketches in the history of mankind, and it probably has more cult followers around the world than any other television comedy show. Who can forget the Dead Parrot Sketch, or Buying A Bed, the famous theme song and show intros, or the show appearing to end in the middle when ending credits of the day would appear. Monty Python's Flying Circus was so off the charts when it came to humor that it changed the way we look at funny things, and the show has influenced many of today's comic actors.

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I hope you enjoyed this review of some of the great British Comedy Classics of the past. Don't forget that you can find a comprehensive list at .

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TinaAtHome's picture

You missed my favorite - Open

You missed my favorite - Open all hours with Ronnie Barker.

EsotericArticles's picture

Don't mention the war.

Don't mention the war.

wahmshelley's picture

Thanks, Poddys!!!...Keeping

Thanks, Poddys!!!...Keeping Up Appearances, is my favorite from your Top list...I've got to check out the others...Unfortunately, I do love a good comedy...My all time favorite is probably Seinfeld...Have you ever seen it???...I love Jerry's dry humor, but Elaine, George, that Krazy Kramer and all the extras round out the cast of characters...

WAHM Shelley... :)

WAHM Shelley blogs at This Crazy Life !!!, The Ultimate WAHM Experience and Best Gift Ideas From Best Sellers and Most Wished For at Amazon ...Pop on over and LIKE my blog and leave a comment with your blog/website so that I can check out your great content!!!...I like to share on Twitter and Facebook...

poddys's picture

Probably the best Fawlty

Probably the best Fawlty Towers episode ever :)

poddys's picture

So many great shows to choose

So many great shows to choose from - and to remember! I loved Open All Hours too, David Jason and Ronnie Barker went to well together.

poddys's picture

Aggghhh how could I miss Open

Aggghhh how could I miss Open All Hours, a classic if there was one. It's on my Squidoo lens though, the link is in the intro.