After receiving some great Alan Partridge DVDs as gifts this Christmas, it reminded me of how great the British situation and sketch show comedy character actually is. Although, the type of character and their appeal appears to have dwindled in the past few years, as like music and film, TV suffers from writers and actors portraying the same types and using the same lines to exhaustion.
But is there any better sight than recounting great comedic moments including Manuel and Basil Fawlty dealing with a dead body in the 1970s BBC comedy, Fawlty Towers, watching Alan Partridge accidentally shooting one of his guests on Knowing Me, Knowing You, or cringing at Boycie's ridiculous laugh on Only Fools & Horses.
Personally, it seems that the type of character has declined in the past few years, despite the odd exceptions. Whilst sketch shows have almost replaced the comedy format, with Alistair McGowan, John Culshaw, Harry Enfield and Bremner, Bird & Fortune offering admirable attempts, the simple format of slapstick and intellectual character interaction has only resulted in a few noteworthy comedys including BBC's The Office, Channel 4's Black Books, Phoenix Nights/Max & Paddy and Peep Show really presenting admirable and inspirational comic genius.
So is the great British comedy really dead? Or will it be revived with refreshing and invigorating writing? There is hope with comedies including The IT Crowd and Lead Balloon continuing to produce plentiful chuckles. But is it true that people prefer watching Fletcher (portrayed by the superbÂ Ronnie Barker, who died in 2005) make an obnoxious comment at Mr Mackay in Porridge or Frank Spencer producing thatÂ hilarious grin at an unsuspecting victim in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em?
Although with superb comedic writers including Jack Dee, Dylan Moran and Peter Kay providing in-depth ability of how to make an audience laugh, there may just be hope yet of replicating the legendary British comedies which existed during the '70s, '80s and '90s.
Who are your favourite comedy characters? What is your favourite comedy? Do writers and programs need to be funnier? Do you have a favourite series of a particular comedy?
MY TOP 20 SITUATION COMEDIES
2. Black Books
3. Peep Show
12. The Royle Family
14. The Office (UK)
15. Red DwarfÂ
20.Â Lead Balloon
* The IT Crowd just missed the Top 20, but as the show is recent, once it has shown more episodes it may move up the list.
Notable exceptions: Allo Allo,Â Two Pint Of Lager & A Packet Of Crisps,Â Are You Being Served?, As Time Goes By, Dad's Army, Extras, Fast Show, Goodnight Sweetheart, Jeeves & Wooster,Â Last Of The Summer Wine, Nighty Night,Â Open All Hours, On The Buses, The Good Life andÂ YesÂ Minister.
MY TOP FIVE SKETCH SHOWS:
1. Dead Ringers