"I endeavor to give satisfaction, sir."
February 5, 2011 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Your best British comedy suggestions, please.

Examples of shows I like: Fawlty Towers, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves & Wooster, Are You Being Served. I seem to enjoy shows from that time period -- 70s, 80s, early 90s -- I guess.

A lot of people have suggested Blackadder, Monty Python, and Allo Allo to me, so those are already on my to-watch list.

I'd like suggestions of other really good British TV comedies.

Radio show suggestions would be great too, since I'd like to find something funny to listen to while working/washing dishes/crafting. They don't necessarily have to be old shows, however.

Thanks very much!!
posted by joyeuxamelie to Media & Arts (79 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. frikkin Bean
posted by Redhush at 9:16 PM on February 5, 2011

Spaced 100 times over.
posted by sanka at 9:16 PM on February 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you like sketch shows, I'd recommend both Not the Nine O'Clock News and The Fast Show. You've already mentioned Black Adder but I want to emphasize it with a bullet. It's just sooooooooo good.

Not to everybody's taste but I really enjoyed The Vicar of Dibley.
posted by kmz at 9:19 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, for more modern, definitely Spaced and maybe Black Books.
posted by kmz at 9:20 PM on February 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

The Young Ones.
posted by pdb at 9:20 PM on February 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well, not to be completely obvious, but... The Office.

Some of the funniest TV writing and acting in history, and it's a story arc with a conclusion.
posted by torticat at 9:23 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just for laughs is just like candid camera just 10000x better where they can get away with doing crazy shit with brits and not get sued for it. I can waste hours Youtubing that stuff. :)

Otherwise, my all time favorite would have to be Mr. Bean. :)
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2011

I always enjoyed listening to Ricky Gervais's podcasts when I got ready for work.
posted by spec80 at 9:29 PM on February 5, 2011

Masters of comedy: Spaced (Simon Pegg), Black Adder (Rowan Atkinson), Fawlty Towers (John Cleese).
posted by lhall at 9:29 PM on February 5, 2011

Keeping Up Appearances
posted by fifilaru at 9:31 PM on February 5, 2011

My Hero
posted by jnaps at 9:40 PM on February 5, 2011

Father Ted
IT Crowd
One Foot in the Grave
posted by infinitewindow at 9:42 PM on February 5, 2011

You know, I really loved "Coupling."

Thought they did things on that show that really bent what could have been a straight-up sit com.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:42 PM on February 5, 2011 [7 favorites]

If you like Ricky Gervais and his style of comedy, I am a fan of Extras. He and Stephen Merchant did the show following their success with The Office.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 9:45 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mr. Bean suffered badly from diminishing returns; the first few were very good, after that so-so, and the movies are downright terribly.

Blackadder yes, but start at season 2 -- the first season is very different in style and most people don't find it anywhere near as funny.

Red Dwarf -- the first season is a bit shaky, it really finds its legs in season 2 and 3. Loses its way again in series 7, but the middle years were truly golden.

If you want to go back further: The Two Ronnies was very good at sketch comedy -- some of it is horribly dated ("The Worm That Turned" was never funny even in its day) but they were awfully good at wordplay. Ronnie Barker is also very good in Porridge (prison comedy series) and Open All Hours (shop comedy, with David Jason). David Jason also in Only Fools And Horses, which is incredibly well-loved although I never really liked it that much.

Further back, and often surprisingly dark: Steptoe And Son (which I think became the US Sanford And Son, but don't hold that against it).

Radio: The Goon Show is the quintessential classic radio comedy -- basically surreal character comedy -- although I could never get on with it. Around The Horne got away with being surprisingly filthy by cloaking it in camp. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue likewise with double-innuendo.

The TV version of Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy is okay but suffers a bit from cheap special effects -- although the animation for the Guide is glorious; the radio version is fantastic.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:45 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Big Train, the Fast Show, Human Remains, I'm Alan Partridge.
posted by elizardbits at 9:50 PM on February 5, 2011

Seconding, "The Young Ones" (I have the full set), "Coupling" (I need to buy the full set) and you might give "As Time Goes By" (I have the full set also) a look as well.

"ATGB" is definitely the odd man out in those, but I really like it.

Thank god for PBS in the US!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:51 PM on February 5, 2011

i came in to suggest the young ones (maybe not for everyone) and father ted.

also, if you're a fry & laurie fan, you should be watching QI - it's a comedy quiz panel show quizmastered by steven fry.
posted by nadawi at 9:52 PM on February 5, 2011

More Modern, but I love Little Britain.
posted by effigy at 9:52 PM on February 5, 2011

I'm Alan Partridge.

Back of the net.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:52 PM on February 5, 2011


ITIM double-ententre. Oh for the edit window.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:57 PM on February 5, 2011

Peep Show
One of the best ever.

posted by Flashman at 9:57 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Keeping Up Appearances, Are you Being Served Again, Chef! and I love As Time Goes By although that is a mix of mostly comedy and some drama.
posted by Polgara at 9:58 PM on February 5, 2011

Oh! and To the Manor Born is good too.
posted by Polgara at 9:59 PM on February 5, 2011

The Good Life.
posted by SPrintF at 10:00 PM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, if you can find the Ricky Gervais Show podcasts that were put out by the Guardian a few years ago - just him, Stephen Merchant & Karl Pilkington talking shit - they are just side-splittingly funny.
posted by Flashman at 10:01 PM on February 5, 2011

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:03 PM on February 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

And just one more, since you mention radio shows. Radio 4 for a couple of years had a hilarious, spot-on spoof of unhinged call-in shows called Down The Line.
posted by Flashman at 10:09 PM on February 5, 2011

OK, these are on my "someday perhaps" wishlist so I don't know that they're available, but they are magnificent (as I recall):

"The Kenny Everett Show"
"Dave Allen at Large"
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:17 PM on February 5, 2011

If you like Are You Being Served? you will probably like On the Buses. It's a bit "naughtier" and very politically incorrect by today's standards. One of my favourite shows...I have seen every episode at least twice. Have a look at Youtube and see if you fancy a bit then!

Now get that bus out!!
posted by humpy at 10:24 PM on February 5, 2011

Nthing I'm Alan Partridge and Little Britain. Both will seem pretty odd at first, but stick with it, they will grow on you. In the same vein, but even weirder, is League of Gentlemen.
posted by Joh at 10:26 PM on February 5, 2011

More votes for Blackadder (has Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie in it, but for the love of FSM, don't start with Season 1!!!), The Vicar of Dibley (1/2 the writing team of Blackadder), Red Dwarf (also better at season 2 although not quite so important), the IT Crowd, Coupling, Chef!, As Time Goes By, Waiting for God, and Little Britain (lots of very broad humor, which may or may not be your thing), pretty much in that order. And if you can find it, the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway?

For a good dose of British drama, check out Jeckyll.
posted by smirkette at 10:27 PM on February 5, 2011

smirkette: "Waiting for God"

Yes! Another great one. Great call!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:31 PM on February 5, 2011

For radio comedy, if you are willing to listen to streams, you should check out BBC Radio 7. Some of the shows are the "classics" from the 50s and 60s, but there's a lot of later stuff too.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:33 PM on February 5, 2011

There are some episodes of French and Saunders that are truly genius. Dawn French is especially magical in just about everything, though.

Similarly, I very much enjoyed her (now ex) husband Lenny Henry's show from the mid 90's called Chef!.

I often tivo The Graham Norton Show on BBC. I hate talk shows generally, but the format of this show lends itself to many genuine and spontaneous laughs.

The HBO special (netflix it!) from Eddie Izzard called Dressed To Kill is my all time fav stand up EVER. (note: I was recently informed that Izzard's riff "Cake or Death?" was stolen from - or a homage to - Monty Python. This info ruins nothing!)
posted by jbenben at 10:35 PM on February 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

N-thing IT crowd, Red Dwarf, Little Britain (I wasn't so fond of Little Britain but it was for the same reasons I'm not fond of Fawlty Towers, so it may be more your style). Not explicitly comedy but the newer Doctor Whos are often very funny.

And Monty Python did several comedy albums. Not a radio show but I think it's still the kind of thing you're looking for.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:37 PM on February 5, 2011

Ignore everyone else (other than the fellow who mentioned Peep Show) and watch That Mitchell and Webb Look, you can see every episode on Youtube.. Start HERE.
posted by dobie at 10:42 PM on February 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

I see Yes Minster (and Yes Prime Minister) only got one recommendation, which is terrible. Yes Minister and Jeeves and Wooster are probably my two favorite things created for television.

You won't regret checking it out.
posted by pseudonick at 10:43 PM on February 5, 2011

I'm seconding dobie, you should watch That Mitchell and Webb Look. It's fantastic.
posted by lexicakes at 11:03 PM on February 5, 2011

I can't believe I'm the first person to recommend The Green Wing. Very off beat and very funny. Only 2 seasons, but that means the quality is high.

For radio - The Bugle podcast is consistently funny.
posted by arcticseal at 11:12 PM on February 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Only Fools and Horses. And if it's old school you're after: The Two Ronnies. Old school still works: The Blackberry Sketch.
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 PM on February 5, 2011

Standard rules apply: you like slightly whimsical old-school sitcoms with non-domestic locations, slightly offbeat (but not too offbeat) sketch comedy, and wry comedy drama.

PlusDistance has already hit the spot, and I'll try to add a few. Are You Being Served? is Croft/Lloyd, so Allo! Allo! is a smart recommendation, and Dad's Army (Croft/Perry) follows from that. (Though not It Ain't Half Hot, Mum, because its stereotypes were uncomfortable at the time, and really don't go down well in 2011.)

I'm going to rattle some cages here, and suggest that you might like the classic era of Last of the Summer Wine. By that, I mean the Compo-Clegg-Foggy years, late 70s to early 80s.

More, though more domestic: Rising Damp. The Good Life. One Foot In The Grave, which is modern with an old-school sensibility (Renwick worked on The Two Ronnies, among others) and perhaps Jonathan Creek or even Lovejoy for the 'dramedy' side.

Thought they did things on that show [Coupling]that really bent what could have been a straight-up sit com.

Steven Moffatt has been doing that his entire career: Press Gang remains beloved among those who watched it growing up, in part because of its refusal to abide by the conventions of children's television. It's fantastic.
posted by holgate at 11:35 PM on February 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Old school still works: The Blackberry Sketch.

Though I think a better modern reflection on that strand of 70s sketch comedy is Stewart Lee's apple shop sketch, which came at the end of his Comedy Vehicle episode on... comedy. (Explanation here.)
posted by holgate at 11:51 PM on February 5, 2011

Just for laughs is just like candid camera just 10000x better where they can get away with doing crazy shit with brits and not get sued for it. I can waste hours Youtubing that stuff. :)

1. It's terrible. (Sorry. It just is.)
2. It's from Montreal.

I would definitely recommend Extras, That Mitchell & Webb Look (That Mitchell & Webb Sound is the radio show, which is also great), Peep Show, Ripping Yarns, The Young Ones, Absolutely Fabulous, Red Dwarf, One Foot in the Grave, and the first few series of French & Saunders. So, yeah, what they all said. Oh, and The Comic Strip.

Also, The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts have been made into a cartoon (called, funnily enough, The Ricky Gervais Show), and it is awesome.

I personally don't care for Little Britain. It's hit and miss to begin with, and while even the misses are funny enough the first time around, the fact that they go and repeat all the hits and all the misses (albeit with slight variations) about a hundred times apiece makes it all wear really thin really quickly. Not to mention that their Jam Tasting sketch (the first of many unfunny old-lady-vomiting sketches) is a cheap knockoff of The Kids in the Hall's Jam Contest sketch. (Of course, Mitchell & Webb's "Turner" sketch seems to rip off a KITH sketch even more blatantly, so...huh.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 PM on February 5, 2011

As someone who was raised on Jeeves and Wooster and owns the complete DVD set, I am seconding (or thirding, fourthing, etc.) That Mitchell and Webb Look (sketch comedy), Absolutely Fabulous, Spaced, Father Ted, Yes, Minister and To The Manor Born. And if you have any interest in panel shows, QI with Stephen Fry is excellent, and I also must admit to enjoying Would I Lie To You--both have a whole host of assorted British TV personalities on them, so you can also get a sense of what their style is and explore what shows they are on as a jumping off point for other things you might enjoy. Good panel show participants don't always do great shows, but it has really upped my exposure to programs I never would have stumbled across otherwise.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 12:18 AM on February 6, 2011

Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister = some of the best comedy ever.

Robin's Nest and Man About the House from the era you asked for.

For more modern ones, try Dinner Ladies, Smack the Pony, Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42.
posted by girlgenius at 1:11 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love Smack the Pony and the Fast Show as sketch, Yes Minister and House of Cards as wry political stuff, and Peep Show for the megalulz. Father Ted is a great show too, but I think it possibly hit more of a chord with my Irish Catholic housemates.

The Royle Family for the pathos and People Like Us for the wordplay. Both of those shows deserve a wider audience.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 1:22 AM on February 6, 2011

Politics usually aren't my thing, but I love The Thick of It. All of my other favourites seem to be mentioned at least once, but if you're counting recommendations, here goes: IT Crowd, Blackadder, Smack The Pony, Little Britain, Coupling, Fast Show, Peep Show, Ab Fab, QI. And of course Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Jeeves & Wooster.

Don't know what's wrong with me, but I don't like The Office or Mr Bean.
posted by kaarne at 1:39 AM on February 6, 2011

Nobody has mentioned Men Behaving Badly yet? Greatest British sitcom from the 90s.
posted by trialex at 2:00 AM on February 6, 2011

For some more Fry/Laurie antics I recommend the radio show "Saturday Night Fry." You can find all of it on Youtube, it's very surreal and very Radio 4.

Nobody has mentioned "The Day Today" which was a great satire on the news, and heavily influenced by Saturday Night Fry.

"Look Around You" was on just a few years ago but it's a spoof science show circa the 80s. VERY surreal.

I will also recommend That Mitchell and Webb Look, Peep Show and Green Wing.
posted by teraspawn at 2:23 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Previously: Includes Science Fiction, should be clear which are which, though.
posted by Coaticass at 2:41 AM on February 6, 2011

As Time Goes Bye with Judy Dench and Goeffrey Palmer is sweet with out being the least sacharine--harmless, endearing and classic understated British comedy. The final episode of Extras may be one of the best television shows ever produced. Outrageous and alternately funny, touching, embarrassing and climaxes with one of the most poignant soliloquies on entertainment, entertainers, ego and the human condition I have seen on TV. I watched it three times
posted by rmhsinc at 2:42 AM on February 6, 2011

Armstrong, Miller, Mitchell and Webb - WW2 skits are great. And seconding "The Day Today" and "Brassed Off" and Extras. Extras is particularly good fun.

It's probably the wrong era, but pantswettingly crude mirth can be had with The Inbetweeners

Comedy from Eddie Izzard [Dressed to Kill also my favourite, jbenben!] Stewart Lee and Jack Dee give me a lotta laughs.
posted by honey-barbara at 3:40 AM on February 6, 2011

And seconding "The Day Today" and "Brassed Off" and Extras.

"Brassed Off" is a fine movie, but perhaps you meant the coruscatingly brilliant "Brass Eye"? If not, I will add the suggestion.
posted by Decani at 4:41 AM on February 6, 2011

My favourite is probably the League of Gentlemen, very dark and surreal featuring some of the greatest characters.
A few sketches on youtube: attatchments dating agency, the charity shop, or Tubbs and Edward.

Two of the makers of this show have a new series out right now: Psychoville, also featuring French Saunders.
posted by ts;dr at 5:08 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Green Wing
Black Books
The Day Today
Brass Eye
The IT Crowd
The Office
Smith and Jones
Young Ones
Filthy, Rich and Catflap
Absolutely Fabulous
Men Behaving Badly
Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
Father Ted (although Irish)
One Foot in the Grave
The Fast Show
Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister
The Thick of It
Look Around You
Mitchell and Webb
Peep Show
French and Saunders
Red Dwarf
Doctor Who
The In-betweeners
Blott on the Landscape

That'll keep you out of trouble.
posted by gonzo_ID at 5:12 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Peep Show is hilarious! Recent (if not current) and around five seasons of fun.
posted by brynnwood at 6:10 AM on February 6, 2011

The Thin Blue Line, though I have a hard time explaining why I watched all of it. Stars Rowan Atkinson -- there's one explanation, I suppose.
posted by kmennie at 6:29 AM on February 6, 2011

Benny Hill?
posted by patnok at 6:59 AM on February 6, 2011

The Smoking Room?
posted by Lucinda at 7:09 AM on February 6, 2011

Man Stroke Woman!!!
posted by honeybee413 at 7:35 AM on February 6, 2011

Phoenix Nights - Peter Kay (He's done other series, but this is the only one I've seen. I liked it)

Wild West - Dawn French and Catherine Tate (though I don't fancy Catherine's sketch show at all)

Q - Spike Milligan (any of this series will be hard to find, but worth it - the Pythons cribbed loads from him and The Goons in general)

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps - not my cuppa, but it's just finished its' tenth series, so take that as you will.

The Goodies (1970-1982) - Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor, friends and uni buddies of the Cambridge group of Pythons, and co-stars in various pre-Python projects back in the day. Before and since, these fellows have done radio; try the radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (1964-1973, with Cleese) and the current "antidote to panel games," I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue. "Clue" has been on the air since 1972, and every taping in whatever theater in they happen to be in sells out in minutes.

They're super old, but if you can find any of The Frost Report, Do Not Adjust Your Set or At Last the 1948 Show on DVD, you will see very young versions of your favourite Pythons. Mikey's especially adorable. It is a goddamn shame that so many of episodes of these programmes were wiped. :/

Also, nthing all of what gonzo_ID said. I daresay I liked the first series of Black Adder despite the change in tone for the second series. I'm a Peter Cook fan and he stars in the very first episode.
posted by droplet at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2011

Chef!, starring Lenny Henry. Series 1 and 2 are great. 3 is just ok.
posted by hammurderer at 8:35 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Classic British Comedy (fairly arbitrary list):

The Goon Show (Radio) - 1950–1960
Written by Spike Milligan (almost always - sometimes by or with Eric Sykes or others, as Milligan was severely bipolar, possibly not unconnected with war-related shell-shock, which could affect his productivity), starring Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers. The original British rock and roll: culturally it had the same impact on my parents' generation and their relationship with their parents as rock, punk etc would later on. Also a huge influence on The Beatles. And Monty Python. And Prince Charles, but don't let that put you off.

Very, very silly, almost totally nonsensical. 1 2 3 4 5

Hancock's Half Hour (Radio and TV) 1950s and 1960s
Written by Galton and Simpson (who went on to write Steptoe and Son). Starring Tony Hancock and (variously, diminishing in number over the years) Sid James, Dick Bentley, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Williams

Centres around the down-at-heel, lugubrious persona of Hancock, a failed actor. It actually reminds me of Seinfeld - it is a classic "show about nothing", the most celebrated episodes revolving around situations (like the old British Sunday), where there's nothing to do, and everyone is bored and fractious - except with George in the lead. 1 2 3 4 5

Beyond the Fringe (Stage Review) 1959
Sketch troupe, made up of Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. Kicked off a run of great comic writers and performers who came out of Oxford and Cambridge - Monty Python and The Goodies among the most famous (members of those groups worked in various configurations during the 1960s). Cook was a comic genius, led a strangely inconclusive life, punctuated by moments of glory - 1 2 3 4 5. During the 1960s, Cook and Moore were a double-act: 1 2 3, their finest moment possibly being the movie Bedazzled (recommended by my R.E. teacher as a better than Paradise Lost on the psychology of Satan, or at least funnier). Bennett has become a national treasure, which is possibly more a curse than a blessing for him. 1 2 3 4 5 Miller isn't, nor ever has he been, terribly funny; hence no links.

I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (Radio - 1964–73)
The second wave of Oxbridge comedians, including Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. Mostly just very silly, lots of puns. 1 2 3 4

Obscure stuff:

Chance in a Million - early 1980s
Starring Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn - Tom Chance is a man to whom ridiculous coincidences happen all the time. One of my favourite sit-coms of all time. Actually completely meta (putting the coincidence that farce is predicated on totally upfront) without being obvious about it. 1 2 3

Whoops Apocalypse 1982
The TV series, not the movie. Cold War parody, from a time when it seemed like the end of the world was just around the corner. Probably the only place you'll ever see Geoffrey Palmer dressed as Hawkman. 1 2 3 4

Absolutely 1980s
Scottish sketch comedy, wonderfully silly. All the links I can find seem to be from 4OD, which I suspect aren't available outside the UK, which is a shame. Here, though.

(I seem to be avoiding work, again. Can you tell?)

Though I wouldn't want to go on record defending It Ain't Half Hot, Mum too much, when I was watching it in the 70s, it did seem like it was at least a bit aware of the fact that it was about imperialism, even if it was indulgent of it. The British Empire was shown as actually a bit stupid, the Indians were basically waiting for it to go away. I clearly remember one episode in which a Rajah (after having been patronised by the British), rounds on them and points out that there was civilisation in India when the British were "running around painting themselves blue", which had a strong effect on me at the time (I was very young). As with Love Thy Neighbour, what happened in the show was a bit different from the reputation that the show acquired.
posted by Grangousier at 8:36 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

As people have said above:

QI is both funny and educational, in the very best way. It's what I always watch when I'm feeling down, because it's guaranteed to make me feel better. Plus, it'll introduce you to a whole range of british comedians, and you can seek out comedies or stand-ups or panel shows featuring the ones you especially like. I suggest this episode to start.

Peep Show is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, but people either love it or hate it. It's on Hulu.

That Mitchell and Webb Look is absolutely amazing (suggested sketches: Nazis, Explorers, Avocado Bathroom, Medieval Inventor, How Cheese Is Made, Heroin Addict Christmas, Victorians).

David Mitchell's pretty funny (and insightful) on his own, too. He decries the use of the phrase "rape and pillage," deals with a mouse in his house, asks how anyone can ever give flowers, gets snippy about Gallic, and signs some boobs. And on panel shows, he often rants hilariously.

Oops, also, Coupling is in fact fantastic (oh Hulu). The creator, Stephen Moffat, also did Jekyl, the new Sherlock Holmes, and this (wonderful) season of Doctor Who.
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:47 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

Anything from Bill Bailey!
posted by MrFish at 10:03 AM on February 6, 2011

Some may argue that it's a blatant rip of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I would like to recommend Jack Dee's Lead Balloon. The humour is very understated, and by the time you get to the third series (IMHO the best) the running gags really begin to start paying off big time. Series 4 is supposed to be airing soon too.

Also, though not a sitcom as such, I found Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle to be one of the funniest shows I'd seen in a long time.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 10:06 AM on February 6, 2011

posted by martinrebas at 10:11 AM on February 6, 2011

Ooh, MrFish reminds me - Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra!
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:12 AM on February 6, 2011

The British Empire was shown as actually a bit stupid, the Indians were basically waiting for it to go away.

True, that. I think it was Andy Zaltzman who recently pointed out (in a Test Match Sofa stint) that IAHH,M! is set in a very short timeframe -- the three months between VE and VJ Day -- but lasted eight years on the BBC. And I'm mindful of Perry's defence of the stereotypes -- not just Indian, but the "bunch of poofs" in the company -- as true to his own experiences in WW2. It's just a difficult one to introduce to new viewers, even those who've seen Are You Being Served? in constant rotation on PBS for decades.
posted by holgate at 11:20 AM on February 6, 2011

Response by poster: oh my goodness~~ thank you all for so many suggestions! I'll be watching dvds/youtube forever!

If it wouldn't look ridiculous I'd mark ALL of your answers as best answers, if only for being super helpful.

Thanks again!!
posted by joyeuxamelie at 5:04 PM on February 6, 2011

A newer one from Stephen Fry: Absolute Power.

A newer one that started out as a radio show: Mighty Boosh.

Other ones that haven't been mentioned: Jam and Jerusalem, Nathan Barley, Hyperdrive, No Heroics.
posted by stinker at 7:30 PM on February 6, 2011

Hamish and Dougal is daft but it may grow on you.
posted by pracowity at 4:06 AM on February 7, 2011

Bear with...bear with.....bear with......Nobody mentioned Miranda yet?

Its very recent but with a big nod to the 70s, complete with 'you have been watching', credits.
posted by Ness at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2011

The Day Today
Nathan Barley

All the work of Chris Morris, one of the best writers we have. Jam is the one of the darkest comedies you will ever watch, and the next two are both spoofs of the news and media hype. Nathan Barley is a show about new media idiot types.
posted by tumples at 5:10 PM on February 7, 2011

Another one...Dad's Army.

How could anyone miss that? Maybe because they don't like it up em sir!
posted by humpy at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2011

Nthing "The I.T. Crowd." It's "The Office" set in Tech Support with a little dose of Seinfeld. And the first few seasons are (or were) on Netflix streaming.
posted by adverb at 7:46 AM on February 10, 2011

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