Great UK Comedies for Americans

Excellent UK tv comedies that American audiences will love.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Fawlty Towers (1975 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Hotel owner Basil Fawlty's incompetence, short fuse, and arrogance form a combination that ensures accidents and trouble are never far away. (30 mins.)
“ Probably the greatest UK tv comedy, with John Cleese as the perpetually angry and put upon Basil Fawlty. Brilliant writing and wonderful supporting cast. The German episode alone makes it a classic. ” - grendelkhan
 
2.
Are You Being Served? (1972 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The misadventures of the staff of a retail floor of a major department store. (28 mins.)
“ A favorite of PBS stations everywhere. The jokes are endlessly recycled and it is hardly politically correct, but the cast is outstanding and the characters fun. ” - grendelkhan
 
3.
The Black Adder (1982 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In the Middle Ages, Prince Edmund the Black Adder constantly schemes and endeavors to seize the crown from his father and brother. (195 mins.)
“ The weaker of the four series, but it gets better as it goes along. Brian Blessed is especially loud here. ” - grendelkhan
 
4.
Black-Adder II (1986 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
In the Tudor court of Elizabeth I, Lord Edmund Blackadder strives to win Her Majesty's favour while attempting to avoid a grisly fate should he offend her. (176 mins.)
“ Probably the best of the 4 series. Stephen Fry and Miranda Richardson enhance the cast and Ben Elton helps push Richard Curtis into much richer comedy territory. ” - grendelkhan
 
5.
Black Adder the Third (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
In the Regency era, Mr E. Blackadder serves as butler to the foppish numskull Prince George amidst the fads and crazes of the time. (180 mins.)
“ Hugh Laurie adds a new dimension as a rather dim Prince Regent. Stephen Fry and Miranda Richardson only manage guest appearances here, but make the most of them. ” - grendelkhan
 
6.
Blackadder Goes Forth (1989 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Stuck in the middle of World War I, Captain Edmund Blackadder does his best to escape the banality of the war. (175 mins.)
“ This one is a bit more serious, given the WW I setting. The laughs still come and Stephen Fry is back in a regular role. The ending is very poignant. ” - grendelkhan
 
7.
Yes Minister (1980 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
The Right Honorable James Hacker has landed the plum job of Cabinet Minister to the Department of Administration. At last he is in a position of power and can carry out some long-needed reforms - or so he thinks. (60 mins.)
“ The ministerial will meets the administrative won't! Excellent political comedy, with brilliant wordplay from Anthony Jay and Johnathan Lynn, plus outstanding performances from Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, and Derek Fowlds. ” - grendelkhan
 
8.
Yes, Prime Minister (1986 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
James Hacker was propelled along the corridors of power to the very pinnacle of politics - No. 10. (30 mins.)
Director: Peter Whitmore
“ Jim Hacker bumbles his way into Number 10, thanks to Sir Humphrey's scheming. This one ups the stakes a bit, with international crises, as well as domestic politics. Hacker gets to win more here and even sides with Sir Humphrey on a couple of occasions. Things run their course a bit quicker here. ” - grendelkhan
 
9.
The Vicar of Dibley (1994 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A boisterous female minister comes to serve in an eccentricly conservative small town's church. (60 mins.)
“ Delightfully oddball cast and a nice bit of heart make for a winning combination. Dawn French gets to shine on her own. ” - grendelkhan
 
10.
The Young Ones (1982 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher's Britain. (410 mins.)
“ Not for the easily offended, but wonderfully anarchic. This groundbreaking series was a two-fingered salute to Thatcher's Britain. Showcase for the alternative comedy world. ” - grendelkhan
 
11.
Red Dwarf (1988 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The adventures of the last human alive and his friends, stranded three million years into deep space on the mining ship Red Dwarf. (30 mins.)
“ The show that proved sci-fi could be funny (though Douglas Adams paved the way), as well as thought provoking. It has decidedly different periods, with early seasons more joke driven, while later ones explored more sci-fi concepts. A nice mix of verbal and visual humor. Later series vary in quality, though every season has memorable episodes. ” - grendelkhan
 
12.
Good Neighbors (1975 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The perils of "escaping the rat race" and dropping out of society - to start a farm in Surbiton (and to drive Margo nuts). (28 mins.)
“ Titled The Good Life in the UK, a charming tale of a couple that decides to be self sufficient, to the horror of their class conscious neighbor. Carried well by the outstanding cast. A favorite of Queen Elizabeth. ” - grendelkhan
 
13.
To the Manor Born (1979 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Audrey fforbes-Hamilton is sad when her husband dies but is shocked when she realises that she has to... (30 mins.)
“ Penelope Keith gets her own series, as the economically fallen but always aristocratic Audrey fforbes Hamilton. A delightful romance slowly builds across the series, with the eternal snob Audrey made likeable by Keith's wonderful performance. Peter Bowles holds his own as the nouveau riche object of Audrey's attention. ” - grendelkhan
 
14.
Keeping Up Appearances (1990 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A snobbish housewife is determined to climb the social ladder, in spite of her family's working class connections and the constant chagrin of her long suffering husband. (60 mins.)
“ Patricia Rutledge is the ultimate social climber. This is the perfect revenge upon every ettiquette guide ever created. ” - grendelkhan
 
15.
Bless Me Father (1978 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
"Bless Me Father" is a 21-episode British sitcom that ran from 1978 to 1981. A gentle and impish look at Catholic life in post-war suburban Britain... (30 mins.)
“ Not quite as rollicking, but it has some great character moments. Well acted by all involved. ” - grendelkhan
 
16.
Rising Damp (1974 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Popular sitcom set in a seedy bedsit lorded over by the mean, vain, boastful, cowardly landlord Rigsby. In each episode, his conceits are debunked by his long suffering tenants. (30 mins.)
“ Leonard Rossiter is the ever disapproving landlord Rigsby, who also is ever lusting after Miss Jones. Don Warrick and Richard Beckinsale (father of Kate) are the two students who are usually at the receiving end of Rigsby's disapproval. ” - grendelkhan
 
17.
'Allo 'Allo! (1982 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In WW2 France, Rene Artois runs a small caf where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene. (45 mins.)
“ Listen to me very carefully, I shall say this only once..... Hilarious farce by the creators of Are You Being Served? The jokes are repetitive, but the characters are fun and the situations absurd. Probably should have ended a series or two sooner than it did. ” - grendelkhan
 
18.
Waiting for God (1990 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When Tom Ballard moves to Bayview Retirement Vilage, he meets Diana Trent, a feisty old woman who complains... (30 mins.)
“ Excellent series, featuring Stephanie Cole and Graham Crowden as residents in a retirement home. Very sharp tongued, but also with an odd, but sweet romance. Definitely strikes a blow at ageism and corporate greed. ” - grendelkhan
 
19.
As Time Goes By (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Korean War and a long lost letter separate the lives of young lovers Jean and Lionel, whose paths cross again by happenstance. (60 mins.)
“ Wonderful romantic comedy about two lovers seperated by the Korean War, who meet again in their autumn years. Unparalleled acting by Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer and a great romance. Frank Middlemass steals every scen he's in as Rocky, Lionel Hardcastle's (Palmer) free spirited father. ” - grendelkhan
 
20.
Absolutely Fabulous (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Edina Monsoon and her best friend Patsy drive Eddie's sensible daughter, Saffron, up the wall with their... (45 mins.)
“ Jennifer Saunders' solo series, alongside Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, and Jane Horrocks. Delightfully unlikeable Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone create chaos wherever they go, while always staying fabulous. ” - grendelkhan
 
21.
The Thin Blue Line (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Various mishaps at a police station in an English town. The main character is the anachronistic, yet charming and funny Inspector Fowler. CID foil to Fowler, Inspector Grim is a bumbling, seething idiot. (41 mins.)
“ Rowan Atkinson stars in this updating of Dad's Army, where he leads a rather dim group of uniformed police constables (apart from WPC Habib). David Haig is the even dimmer head of CID (the detectives). Loads of fun. ” - grendelkhan
 
22.
Father Ted (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Crazy sitcom about 3 priests and their housekeeper who live on Craggy Island, not the peaceful and quiet part of Ireland it seems! (25 mins.)
“ Anarchic fun on Craggy Island, a place of exile for three priests, off the coast of Ireland. Brilliantly funny. ” - grendelkhan
 
23.
Black Books (2000 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Bernard Black runs his own bookshop even though he doesn't much like people who buy books and hates having customers... (25 mins.)
“ Dylan Moran, Tamsin Greig, and Bill Bailey star in this tale of a bookshop owner who is the worst person to be in a service industry. Excellent cast and writing. ” - grendelkhan
 
24.
The IT Crowd (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The comedic adventures of a rag-tag group of technical support workers at a large corporation. (25 mins.)
“ From Graham Linehan comes this workplace comedy. featuring Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry; it sends up corporate environments, geek culture, movies, and more. ” - grendelkhan
 
25.
Spaced (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Friends Tim and Daisy, 20-something North Londoners with uncertain futures, must pretend to be a couple to live in the only apartment they can afford. (25 mins.)
“ From the people who gave us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this tale of roommates and their friends and extended family delights. There are pop culture references galore and brilliant fun. ” - grendelkhan
 
26.
Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge (1994 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A mock of a TV show where the host is rude to many of his guests. (45 mins.)
“ Ahaaaaaaaa! Brilliant send-up of entertainment talk shows, with the world's most inept host. Each show is worse than the last (Alan's talk show, that is), with a huge blowout in the finale. ” - grendelkhan
 
27.
I'm Alan Partridge (1997 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Alan Partridge a failed television presenter whose previous exploits had featured in the chat-show parody Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, and who is now presenting a programed on local radio in Norwich. (29 mins.)
“ Alan Partridge is back, reduced to Radio Norwich and living in a travel hotel. He tries to crawl his way back to the BBC. Very dark, but very fun as well. ” - grendelkhan
 
28.
Saxondale (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Tommy Saxondale is an ex-roadie with anger management issues and his own pest control business in Stevenage... (30 mins.)
“ Steve Coogan is Tommy Saxondale, a man who never quite left the 70s. He was a roadie for several rock n roll bands, but now runs a pest control service, while trying to hang onto the cool of his youth. Another great cast and a brilliant character from Coogan. ” - grendelkhan
 
29.
Doc Martin (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Trials and tribulations of a socially challenged doctor in Cornwall, England (50 mins.)
“ A mixture of comedy and drama, set in a Cornish coastal village. Martin Clunes is a rather anti-social doctor, surrounded by eccentric villagers; however, he quickly falls deeply in love with school teacher Louisa. Very funny, with equal dramatic moments and one of the odder romances on television, on any side of the ocean. ” - grendelkhan
 
30.
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The original surreal sketch comedy showcase for the Monty Python troupe. (30 mins.)
“ The legendary sketch comedy show. Not for everyone, but still one of the funniest creations ever, with both brilliant satire and total absurdity. The fourth series is the weakest of the lot, but has a few moments. ” - grendelkhan
 
31.
A Bit of Fry and Laurie (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Comedy sketches written and performed by renowned duo Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. (30 mins.)
“ Lots of wordplay and silliness from Stephen Fry (Wilde) and Hugh Laurie (House). Like any sketch show, some elements are better than others. ” - grendelkhan
 
32.
French and Saunders (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
This BBC comedy skit show is the brainchild of longtime comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders... (30 mins.)
“ Sketch show featuring the first ladies of British alternative comedy. Lots of movie and tv parodies, somewhat hit and miss. ” - grendelkhan
 
33.
Little Britain (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the creators of this character-comedy sketch show, delight in all that is mad, bad, quirky and generally bonkers about the people and places of Britain. (29 mins.)
“ Sketch comedy show with David Walliams and Matt Lucas, with Tom Baker (Dr Who) providing narrations. Recurring sketches involving the "only gay in the village", a deceptively able disabed man, the aid to the prime minister, a decidedly masculine "lady," an unpleasant and dim young woman, and the diminuitive version of Dennis Waterman. ” - grendelkhan
 
34.
Jeeves and Wooster (1990 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Bertram Wooster, a well-intentioned, wealthy layabout, has a habit of getting himself into trouble and it's up to his brilliant valet, Jeeves, to get him out. (55 mins.)
“ Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie star in this excellent adaptation of the stories of PG Wodehouse. A case of perfect casting and excellent writing. ” - grendelkhan
 
35.
Are You Being Served? Again! (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The staff of the defunct Grace Brothers department store reunite to run a rural hotel. (26 mins.)
“ Known as Grace and Favor in the UK, this series reunites the staff of Grace Brothers Department Store in their retirement. Mr. Grace has past on, leaving a rather run down manor house as the key element of the staff's pension fun. It's nice to see everyone back and the comedy is good, even if the dynamic is a bit different. New additions include the farmer Mr Multurd, his daughter and the cook Mavis, and Miss Jessica Lovelock, the former nurse and companion to Mr. Grace. ” - grendelkhan