In 2004, BBC2 staged a voting poll comprising of 50 of the best loved British sitcoms of all time, hosted by the overrated Jonathan Ross. The general public were then instructed to vote out of the top 10 which one they thought was the best.
Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? Sadly, all the show was was a mish mash of biased remarks from celebrities ( listen to Mina Anwar bashing 'Love Thy Neighbour' ) backed up by out of context clips, as well as a few woeful remarks from the detestable Ross.
Some of the placings beggared belief. For instance, how 'The Office' made Number. 25 ( or how it even made the list to begin with ) was a mystery. I was also disappointed at 'Rab C. Nesbitt' ranking only as Number. 49 ( in my opinion it should have been Number. 1 ). I also fail to see how 'Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights' managed to make it into the top 50 over sitcoms such as 'On The Buses' and 'Bless This House'.
There were some amusing and interesting comments from the contributors though. Nigel Planer told of how his grandmother did not like 'The Young Ones' and berated him for not wearing a suit on set. Gregor Fisher remarked on how if 'Rab C. Nesbitt' was a flat cardboard cut-out of a typical drunken slob, the public would not have taken to him whilst John Inman humorously described 'Are You Being Served?' as 'the dirtiest children's sitcom on television'.
The grand final saw the countdown of the top ten widdle down to the winner. In this order from ten downwards, the top list were 'One Foot In The Grave', 'The Good Life', 'Open All Hours', 'Porridge', 'Yes Minister' ( which I have never cared for ), 'Fawlty Towers', 'Dad's Army', 'The Vicar Of Dibley', 'Blackadder' and, of course, what we all know was the winner - 'Only Fools & Horses'. Each show in the top ten had a celebrity advocate - these were Rowland Rivron, Ulrika Johnson, Clarissa Dickson Wright, Johnny Vaughan, Armando Iannucci, Jack Dee, Phil Jupitus, Carol Voderman, John Sergeant and David Dickinson.
On the whole, 'Britain's Best Sitcom' was an interesting venture, though, churlish as it may sound, I must admit to have been disappointed with some of the rankings.
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