Britain's Best Sitcom
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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. This first round of voting was conducted in 2003, after which the BBC published a list of the top 100 selections. From this list, they produced a 12-episode television series broadcast by BBC Two from January through to March 2004.
|Britain's Best Sitcom|
|Presented by||See list of episodes|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
(180-min. premiere; 90-min. finale)
|Production company/companies||BBC Manchester|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Original release||10 January –|
27 March 2004
The series was a retrospective that examined the history and qualities of the contending programmes. In the first episode, Jonathan Ross summarised the progress of the poll and presented video clips from the 50 sitcoms that received the most votes. Each of the next ten weekly episodes, one hour in length, focused on one sitcom. In each episode, a different celebrity presenter advocated a particular sitcom, delivering 20 reasons why it deserved viewers' votes. The sitcom's writers and actors, as well as celebrity viewers, also shared their own perspectives and memories. In the 90-minute series finale, transmitted live, Jonathan Ross announced the top sitcom to be Only Fools and Horses, with Blackadder in second place and The Vicar of Dibley in third place.
Notably all finalists were BBC productions, with ITV and Channel 4 sitcoms not appearing (Father Ted, the closest non-BBC sitcom, was at number 11).
|No.||Title||Presented by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The Launch"||Jonathan Ross||?||10 January 2004|
|Jonathan Ross recaps the 50 top British sitcoms, as determined by an electronic poll conducted in 2003.|
|2||"Blackadder"||John Sergeant||?||17 January 2004|
|John Sergeant advocates Blackadder, an historical farce that premiered in 1983 on BBC1.|
|3||"Fawlty Towers"||Jack Dee||?||24 January 2004|
|Jack Dee advocates Fawlty Towers, a comedy of errors that premiered on BBC2 in 1975.|
|4||"The Good Life"||Ulrika Jonsson||John Esmonde and Bob Larbey||31 January 2004|
|Ulrika Jonsson advocates The Good Life, a sitcom about a middle-class English couple who make an attempt at farming at their house in the southwest London suburb of Surbiton. It premiered on BBC1 in 1975.|
|5||"Yes Minister"||Armando Iannucci||?||7 February 2004|
|Armando Iannucci advocates Yes Minister, a political satire that premiered on BBC2 in 1980.|
|6||"One Foot in the Grave"||Rowland Rivron||?||14 February 2004|
|Rowland Rivron advocates One Foot in the Grave, a dark comedy about the trials of an elderly curmudgeon and his longsuffering wife. It premiered on BBC1 in 1990.|
|7||"Porridge"||Johnny Vaughan||Johnny Vaughan|
|21 February 2004|
|Johnny Vaughan advocates BBC1's Porridge (1975–1978) and its sequel, Going Straight (1978). The programmes concern different aspects of prison life, including – in Going Straight – acclimatisation to a changed family life and outside world.|
|8||"Only Fools and Horses"||David Dickinson||?||28 February 2004|
|David Dickinson advocates Only Fools and Horses, which centres on an ambitious Cockney market trader called Del Boy. It premiered on BBC1 in 1981.|
|9||"Open All Hours"||Clarissa Dickson Wright||?||6 March 2004|
|Clarissa Dickson Wright advocates Open All Hours, which premiered on BBC2 in 1973. It concerns a South Yorkshire shopkeeper and his wistful nephew.|
|10||"The Vicar of Dibley"||Carol Vorderman||?||13 March 2004|
|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||Jimmy Perry and David Croft||20 March 2004|
|Phill Jupitus advocates Dad's Army, a comparatively long-running comedy that first aired on BBC1 in 1968. Set during the Second World War, it introduces viewers to an unlikely group of Home Guard volunteers on England's south coast.|
|12||"The Live Final"||Jonathan Ross||?||27 March 2004|
|Jonathan Ross announces which British sitcom received the most votes from viewers.|
|No.||Title||Years broadcast||Number of votes|
|1||Only Fools and Horses||1981-2003||342,426|
|3||The Vicar of Dibley||1994-2007||212,927|
|8||Open All Hours||1976-1985||67,237|
|9||The Good Life||1975-1978||40,803|
|10||One Foot in the Grave||1990-2000||31,410|
- "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 8 October 2014.
- "The battle of the sitcoms begins..." (Press release). London: BBC. 10 January 2004. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "Britain's Best Sitcom: The Top 10". bbcattic.org. London: BBC. 2004. Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "Britain's Best Sitcom: Top 11 to 100". bbcattic.org. London: BBC. 2004. Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "The Final Top Ten Sitcoms". bbcattic.org. London: BBC. 2004. Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- Webber, Richard (2000). "A Celebration of The Good Life". Orion Books.
- Croft, Perry, and Webber (2003). "Dad's Army: The Complete Scripts". Orion Books.