Whatever happened to the great British sitcom?

From the 1970’s to the 2000’s our TV schedules were jam packed with brilliant British sitcoms, suitable for the whole family to watch.

But fast forward a few years and we are scarily scarce of good old fashioned sitcoms.

We have just had the return of the classic ‘Birds Of A Feather’ and we have the traditional Christmas special of the funny ‘Not Going Out’, but that’s about our lot of family sitcoms.

Britain is famous for it’s rich history of comedy and sitcoms but over the years these have died out and have now been replaced by a flood of period dramas.

The 1970’s saw the slapstick ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’ burst onto to our TV’s and after more than forty years the show which gained more than 25 million viewers at the height of it’s three season run, is still one of our most favourite sitcoms.

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And in 2015 the BBC confirmed that they are looking into bringing the show back soon, with both Michael Crawford (Frank Spencer) and Michele Dotrice (Betty) repricing their roles. Shooting for the new series is rumoured to be taking place early this year.

The 1980’s saw the birth of Britain’s most successful and most treasured sitcom.

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‘Only Fools And Horses’ ran from 1981 to 2003 on and off. The show is still one of the most talked about comedy’s and at it’s height of it’s success gained over 30 million viewers weekly.

David Jason (Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter’ created TV’s most famous and loved character of British TV history.

The 1990’s saw the peak of British TV sitcoms with a whole array of TV gold hitting the channels.

From 1990 to 2000, Britain couldn’t get enough of comedy.

The classic hits, being viewed in their millions included:

‘Keeping Up Appearances’

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The hit sitcom ran for five successful seasons, and is set for a return to our screens shortly.

A prequel of the comedy, showing a young Hyacinth, is set to air in the next year or so.

‘One Foot In The Grave’ also appeared on our TV screens this year.

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Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson) is still one of the most famous TV characters and his catchphrase ‘I Don’t Believe It’ remains a favourite amongst comedy fans.

The show ran for six seasons and is the only sitcom to ever beat ‘Only Fools And Horses’ in the ratings battle. It did so in 1993 with it’s ‘One Foot In The Algarve’ special.

‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ saw  Nicholas Lyndhurst who played Rodney Trotter in ‘Only Fools And Horses’ return to comedy.

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Although the sitcom failed to hit the heights of ‘Only Fools’, the time travelling comedy was still a massive hit and ran for six successful series.

‘The Vicar Of Dibley’, In 1994 this classic sitcom hit our screens.

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The show created by Richard Curtis, ran for five seasons and has become a cult classic in Britain.

The lovable vicar Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) was comedy gold and the sitcom was an instant success with viewers.

The hit show regularly pulled in more than 10 million viewers and returned for a comedy special skit in 2013 and 2015 for Comic Relief’.

‘The Royle Family’ first aired back in 1998 and struck a cord with families all across the UK.

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The show was an instant hit with viewers and despite only running for three successful seasons, the show is still one of the most loved sitcoms.

The series has made a series of specials since 2006 but most have been hit with a backlash from fans, as the writing did not live up to the three seasons of the comedy.

Despite this, the ‘Royle’s’ are still one of sitcoms most loved families.

The 2000’s Kicked off with the comedy ‘My Hero’.

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The sitcom followed the antics of the dim-witted superhero ‘Thermoman’ (Ardal O’Hanlon’.

The show ran for six seasons from 2000-2006 and is one of the UK’s favourite shows.

2006 saw the classic sitcom ‘My Family’ appearing on our screens.

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The hit show followed the everyday life of Ben Harper (Robert Lindsay) a grumpy dentist who easily gets annoyed by the pressures of modern life.

The series ran for eleven successful years and in 2004 was the most watched sitcom on British TV. And is one of only 12 shows to pass the 100 episode mark.

So why is it, after all these shows, The BBC and ITV seem to have shut up shop on creating new family sitcoms?.

The last proper sitcom to air was the brilliant family show ‘Outnumbered’ the comedy ran from 2007-2014 and was a massive hit with viewers as it struck a chord with parents and children alike.

It’s about time that family sitcoms were brought back to TV and not just re-makes of old classics but new fresh ideas.

At the moment our best source of a laugh is watching re-runs on UKTV Gold.

What do you think of TV sitcoms? Would you like to see more on our screens? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix or leave a comment below. 




Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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