If you don’t know by now, I watch a lot of television. A couple of years ago I went through a phase where I was only watching British comedies and period dramas. I became a bit of an anglophile and learned to love and appreciate the TV industry in the UK. Today I wanted to list some of my favorite British comedies in hopes of introducing you to a show that you may have heard of but haven’t checked out yet!
Without further ado and in no particular order, these are my five favorite British comedies…
1. Spaced (1999-2001)
Alright, I’m going to be honest with you. I know I said in no particular order, however, Spaced might be one of my favorite shows of all time, so it was the first one I wrote down. It’s only two seasons (or series as they say in the UK) and it features a young Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who you may recognize from the Cornetto Trilogy and stars Jessica Hynes who is absolutely amazing and hilarious in her role as Daisy. Also, every episode is directed by Edgar Wright who is well known for the Cornetto Trilogy, Scott Pilgrim, and Baby Driver. The show is about Tim and Daisy who find themselves living together and getting through life while being surrounded by the quirkiest group of people. The show has some great nerdy references too, including Star Wars, so it’s definitely my jam.
2. The Thick of It (2005-2012)
All hail Malcolm Tucker! The Thick of It was created by Armando Iannucci who is also responsible for HBO’s Veep (a favorite of mine). This show is the British equivalent to Veep and it’s just as hilarious and amazing. I didn’t think I’d care for a British comedy about government but the show is pure satire and the characters and jokes are what make it so GREAT. Peter Capaldi stars as Malcolm Tucker who is the Director of Communications for the government and is a crazy, vulgar man who is feared by all. It’s a really fantastic show that may teach you a few things about modern British government or how to tell someone off using the most perfect of British insults.
3. The Office (2001-2003)
Classic. If you are a fan of the US version of The Office then at one point in your life you have been told to check out the original UK version of The Office created by Ricky Gervais. I’ll admit it took me a few episodes to get into but once I fell in love with the characters I couldn’t stop watching and binged the entire show in one night.
4. The Mighty Boosh (2004-2007)
THE MIGHTY BOOSH. This show is weird and surreal and comical. I had seen sketches from The Mighty Boosh on YouTube but had never seen the show until I watched it on a streaming service. The show features Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt as Vince Noir and Howard Moon respectively, two failing musicians trying to pursue fame. I will say it’s not for everyone. If you are into sketch comedies like Portlandia or The Kids in the Hall, or maybe if you’re into talking Gorillas, this might be your thing.
5. Black Books (2000-2004)
Black Books is another really great series that is often considered a sister show to Spaced. It’s about Bernard Black who runs a little book shop and hates all of his customers. Bernard is accompanied by his shop assistant Manny and his friend Fran who try and get Bernard to be more social. There are several actors from Spaced who make appearances throughout the show’s run, which is pretty cool. I will say Black Books does have a laugh track and it can be bothersome at times, but I’ve learned to accept laugh tracks from older shows because they’re still funny and great at the end of the day.