One Foot In The Grave
Running throughout the 90s from the BBC, One Foot in the Grave started life in 1989. It concentrated on the situations of 'A Grumpy Old Man' known as Victor Meldrew (Played by Richard Wilson), after he was given forced early retirement from his job at a security firm. Several series were produced between 1990 and 94, during which a young Angus Deayton was also introduced as neighbour. Then after a large gap with only occasional specials, the series was wrapped up with a final short series in 2000.
Keeping Up Appearances
Another 90s sitcom from the BBC. It concentrated on a woman with delusions of grandeur named Hyacinth Bucket (played by Patricia Routledge), who was constantly trying to appear refined and upper-class in the face of her friends. This contrasted with the other regular members of her family, who lived on a run-down council estate, and were more like the 'average person'. The series ran until 1995, before being dropped after Patricia decided she no longer wanted to continue in the lead role.
Steptoe and Son - Black and White
Steptoe and Son is one of the BBC's oldest, and most loved sitcoms running from the 60s and into the 70s. The first 4 series were produced in Black and White. After a short hiatus, filming resumed in colour in 1970, although due to the frequent wiping policy of that era even these episodes only exist in Black and White now (the titles from this episode being an example). The show was based around Albert (the older Steptoe) and his son Harold (The younger Steptoe), both of whom were rag and bone men. Harold would be forever striving for an independent life, but kept finding the family ties to his father were too strong.
Steptoe and Son - Colour
Patricia Routledge - Steptoe and Son
A oddity from an actual episode of Steptoe and Son, in which we see a young Patricia Routledge, who in sitcom terms was later to become famous for her role in Keeping Up Appearances (see above). Just listen to that familiar voice! This episode, Seance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard was the last of the regular episodes produced with only a final Christmas Special to follow.
Another of the older, and thus more well-known sitcoms from the BBC. It concentrated on the activities of the Home-Guard, during World War II, under the command of Captain Mainwaring. The programme started in the late sixties, with the first series being in Black and White, and at first didn't prove popular, with many people unhappy at being reminded about the war. However it soon overcame this to become a classic comedy.
The first of the sitcoms on here that is not by the BBC. Aired on Channel 4 and written by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, the basic premise of the show was about three Irish priests, who have been placed together on Craggy Island either as punishment for something or to separate them from the rest of society. However this simple premise was turned into some of the most ludicrous situations during the 3 series run. The four main characters were the foul mouthed elderly priest Father Jack, played by the late Frank Kelly, Father Dougal, a simple-minded priest played by Ardal O'Hanlon, Mrs Doyle, the long-suffering housekeeper played by Pauline McLynn, and the title character Father Ted, played by the late Dermot Morgan. The show from 1995 to 1998, when shortly after completing filming of the third series, Dermot Morgen, tragically suffered a fatal heart attack.
It may be a stretch to refer to Mr Bean as a sitcom, as there is no situation or central plot to it. It has however been one of ITV's few comedy successes in the 90s, repeated to this day and exported internationally due to its lack of much talking and reliance on mainly visual humour. Produced by Tiger Aspect, episodes were based around a general theme, whereby Mr Bean (Played by Rowan Atkinson), would either be doing something silly, yet funny, or trying to out-do someone else. Although the last episode of the main show was produced in 1995, its popularity particularly internationally has resulted in 2 movies and several animated series, both starring Rowan Atkinson. The character was also to appear in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
Only Fools and Horses
Another of the BBC's highly popular sitcoms. It started in 1980 and ran up until 1996 with ratings for the Christmas 1996 special remaining one of the highest non-soap ratings to present day. An attempt was made to bring it back for a series of additional specials aired from 2001-2003, although they failed to have quite the same impact. The titles remained largely unchanged over the years, with the only real changes being the replacement of Grandad (Lennard Pearce)in the early series after his death with Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield), and updates to the actor photos over the years. Written by the late John Sullivan, the show spawned the spinoffs 'The Green Green Grass', basic around the characters Boycie and Marlene, and Rock and Chips, a prequel to the show covering Del and Rodney in their younger years.
Famous for becoming one of the BBC's best-loved sitcoms despite so few episodes being made - in total only 13. It featured John Cleese in the lead role of Basil Fawlty, a guesthouse owner in Torquay. Of course things couldn't just run smoothly at a guesthouse could they? Constant trouble followed, often due to the short fuse of Basil, or from frictions between him and his wife played by Prunella Scales.
Rising Damp was another one of ITV's successes, although much less recent, running from 1974-1978. Produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV, it has seen repeats across many other stations in more recent years. It followed the adventures in shabby house, ran by the owner Rigsby (played by Leonard Rossiter), his frequent attempts to get closer to Miss Jones (Frances de la Tour), and student Alan (Richard Beckinsale) who lets a room in the house.
Birds of a Feather - Series 1
Birds of a Feather started in 1989, and ran until the late 90s. It followed the events around two sisters Sharon and Tracy (Played by Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson), who were living together after their husbands had both been put in Jail for robbery. This file shows the opening for the very first series. After nearly 2 decades off air, the series was revived by ITV in 2014, with the original cast.
Birds of a Feather - Series 2
Open All Hours
A seventies sitcom from, yes you guessed it, the BBC. The storyline to OAH, was basically the activities of a shop ran by Arkwright (Ronnie Barker) with his hapless assistant Granville (David Jason). This opening is from the first ever episode. Nearly 40 years later, a follow on to the original show entitled Still Open All Hours came to UK screens, with an older David Jason reprising his role as Granville, now owner of the shop.
To The Manor Born
To The Manor Born is another of the BBC's sitcoms from the 70's. The main storyline behind it involves Mrs Fawkes-Hamilton (played by Penelope Kieth) who used to live in the big manor house, before being forced to move due to lack of funds. In her place, DeVere (Played by Peter Bowles) moved in. The series ran for several years, before finally finishing with Hamilton buying back the manor... then marrying DeVere, which had been an often-hinted-at plot throughout the series!
Rab C Nesbitt - Points of View 1990
A short clip from Rab C Nesbitt in 1990. It was shown as part of Points of View (with Anne Robinson!!!), and includes subtitles so that Southerners can understand what is being said. See if you can spot a mistake in the subtitling though! A mistake many people presumably sent letters to the BBC about for their next episode of Points of View!
The Vicar Of Dibley
A more recent BBC sitcom on here. It started in 1994, and ran through until 1999. Since then, it has resurfaced in occasional specials up until 2004. The series features Dawn French, as the female Vicar in a small village known as Dibley, with a host of regular actors making up the eclectic mix for the village.
The Goodies - 1980
The Goodies, started in 1970, featured Bill Oddie, Dr Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, who would go anywhere and do anything. The show featured insane and ludicrous plots, often made possible by some clever camera trickery. In total, 76 episodes were made over 9 series, with changes to the music in each sequence. This one, from 1980, features the familiar 'Goody, Goody, Yum, Yum' song. Clip courtesy of Iam Burn.
The Goodies - 1970
Blott on the Landscape - 1985
From the mid-80s, this show which only ran to one series on BBC2 was based around the novel of the same name by Tom Sharpe. Starring George Cole, Simon Cadell, Julia McKenzie, David Suchet and Geraldine James. A farcicle tale involving plans to build a motorway through the grounds of a an expensive hall. Clip courtesy of Iam Burn.
Smith and Jones - 1992
Last of The Summer Wine - 1991
Last of the Summer Wine gained the coveted reputation of being the longest running sitcom on British Television, lasting from 1973 right through until 2010. Filmed around Holmfirth in Yorkshire, the overall plot to the show was fairly simple - a bunch of gentlemen of an older generation, proving they can still get up to fun and larks.