My top ten British sitcoms – number ten

17 Jan

Working in postgraduate accommodation at my university, I often get asked to recommend different aspects of British culture. One of the first things I will recommend is British comedy. To my constant dismay however, most of the international students have only ever heard of American comedies like Friends. Whilst I enjoy these too, I think there is something unique and special about British sitcoms. For this reason, I wanted to share with you my top ten British sitcoms. I will list one every Monday (starting with my tenth favourite) for the next ten weeks.

Number ten – The Vicar of Dibley

I kick off this list at number ten with a programme I have known and watched for many many years. The Vicar of Dibley is set in a traditional rural village. In the first episode, the vicar of the church dies in the middle of the service. This leads to the recruitment of a new vicar, Geraldine Granger.

Upon her arrival, the councillor of the village, David Horton, is outraged that they have been assigned a woman as their vicar. Traditionally, The Church of England only appointed men as vicars. This sets the tone for the constant struggle between these two characters. This conflict is heightened by Geraldine’s fun-loving attitude to being a vicar which clashes with David’s traditional conservative values.

What really makes the programme special however is the wide assortment of crazy characters that inhabit the village, from Letitia “parsnip brownies” Cropley to Owen “flatulence” Newitt. It is this mix of characters that make the regular parish meetings one of the highlights of the show. Despite the characters’ rather annoying habits, Geraldine does her best to help them out… often to her own detriment. In my favourite episode ‘The Christmas Lunch Incident’ she accepts three different Christmas lunch invitations due to not having the heart to reject anyone.

The Vicar of Dibley is a great feel good comedy suitable for just about anyone. I think however, that because of this, it can lack the cutting edge that prevents it being higher on my top ten list.

You can purchase every episode ever made for under £15 from Amazon.co.uk.

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13 Responses to “My top ten British sitcoms – number ten”

  1. Sandra Bell Kirchman January 17, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    Yayyy, sounds like a great topic, Michael. I have some British comedies that I love. I never saw the Vicar of Dibley, but now that you have described it so well, I am going to see if I can pick it up. One of my big favorites is Are You Being Served? I am disappointed that I can’t get it anymore, but in our household we have adopted some of the funnier catch phrases, such as Mrs. Slocombe saying, “In that I am unanimous,” when she meant unmovable. I can hardly wait to see your other 9 selections 🙂

    Sandra
    Wizards and Ogres and Elves…oh my!

    • stickinsect January 21, 2011 at 1:34 am #

      I’m sure you will not be disappointed with the others.

  2. ccbowden January 17, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    The Vicar of Dibley is actually #1 on my list! The show is so well written – coming from Richard Curtis who wrote Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually, as well as the other British sitcoms Blackadder and Mr. Bean. When you have well written scripts and fantastic timing of the actors you have an automatic success! I’m looking forward to seeing what else is on your list!

    • stickinsect January 21, 2011 at 1:35 am #

      Blackadder is amazing too… will it make the top 9 ???? ha ha.

  3. sterlingsop January 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I can’t wait for the rest of this list and to see how it compares to my own taste. I love the Vicar of Dibley and your description is spot on. My own favourite episode is the Christmas special where they put on the nativity – “one of the greatest stories ever told….” but the bits with Clive Mantle as brother Simon are CLASSIC!

    • stickinsect January 21, 2011 at 1:32 am #

      ah, fond memories of that one too. Writing this post has made me want to buy the boxed set.

  4. BabyBird January 18, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I had actually never heard of this show until recently when I saw it available on my Netflix in Canada! I’m intrigued now… will have to check it out 🙂

  5. BabyBird January 18, 2011 at 3:11 am #

    Oh! And I’m only familiar with a few British comedies, but I do enjoy them.. Been catching up on Coupling, and I love A Bit of Fry & Laurie 🙂

    • stickinsect January 21, 2011 at 1:31 am #

      Well stay tuned to hear about my other 9 choices 😉

  6. teacupandcake January 18, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Ahhh, the Vicar of Dibley. Love it. We used to sing the title music (Psalm 23 aka The Lord is my Shepherd) at my school choir. Went to a Catholic school 🙂 Look forward to your countdown.

    One point to make – I also think it was a hit because it showed a woman vicar (albeit in a comedic role), two years after women were ordained into the Church of England.

    And I agree, I love British comedy. I think because it can be understated and not so ‘in-yer-face’.

    • stickinsect January 21, 2011 at 1:30 am #

      Good point. I would have been a bit too young at the time to appreciate this myself though. I love the theme song too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My top ten British sitcoms – number nine | Michael's Blog - January 25, 2011

    […] week, I started off my list counting down my top ten British sitcoms with The Vicar of Dibley. Today, I continue the list with another religious themed […]

  2. My top ten British sitcoms « Michael's Blog - May 9, 2011

    […] The Vicar of Dibley – The traditional English village of Dibley is assigned a woman […]

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