Was there a golden period of UK sitcoms?

edited February 2017 in General Movies & TV Posts: 4,541
I am deep in debate with some friends regarding this. IMHO, the 70s represented a high point in the art form (Porridge, Perrin, Dads Army, Steptoe etc) and even though we have seen other classics since then (Black Adder , Only Fools), the 70s represents a high point.
But is this just rose coloured specs ? or were they "easy wins" as there were only 3 channels?
Grateful for points either side....


  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,138
    I think you maybe right. I wouldn't say they're easy wins as they're still hilarious by today's standards. That's not always an easy to achieve. Only fools and horses is my all time favourite sitcom
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,140
    To be fair yes there were only three channels at the time but that in its own way meant that the quality of the television which was broadcast was higher as there was no room in the schedules for just so programming
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,536
    It's more down to the writers. Galton & Simpson (Hancock, Steptoe & Son), Perry & Croft, (Dad's Army) Le Frenais & Clement (Porridge, The Likely Lads) & John Sullivan (Citizen Smith, Only Fools & Horses) etc were writers, not performers trying to indulge themselves with self made vehicles (Honourable exception to John Cleese for Fawlty Towers).

    In the 60s and 70s they fine tuned their skills and as a result it was difficult for performers like Tony Hancock, Harry H Corbett, James Bolam, Ronnie Barker etc to go wrong. The material was just so strong.

    These days if someone tries to make a family friendly sitcom of the old variety - Miranda Hart for example - she gets slated for being too whimsical and old fashioned, but it was the point of the show.

    So, if Miranda doesn't suit the critics what are we left with? Mrs Brown's Boys? The Inbetweeners?
  • Posts: 4,325
    The Office and the Royle Family were the 2 last great British sitcoms.
  • Posts: 4,541
    Obviously , there have been some great sit-coms since the 70s and they are 2 perfect examples. But the 70s seemed to be packed with classics that had long term appeal. The is something timeless IMHO about Dads Army or Porridge
  • Only Fools and Horses the best sitcom of all times
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,198
    Peep Show is my favorite UK Sitcom. :D
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited February 2017 Posts: 23,883
    Mind Your Language was great. Also Rising Damp & Only When I Laugh.
  • NSGWNSGW London
    Posts: 299
    Peep Show and The Office are my favourites of this century. From before then I'm a big fan of Only Fools, Fawlty Towers, Hancock's Half Hour and Blackadder.
  • edited February 2017 Posts: 4,541
    I have been trying to find hard evidence of the "golden era" to further my point. Rather like music and movies, personal taste does not really help.
    I watched a TV programme called "Four Rooms" a couple of days ago where a hand written script from Dads Army was sold for £1900.
    Can anyone imagine that happening to a script from Mirranda or Mrs Brown's Boys in 50 years time?
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,855
    Fools and Horses was a brilliant sitcom. But then fatally went on for too long.

    The 'post millionaires' episodes are appalling. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
  • Posts: 320
    Yes, the 70s definitely the golden age. Every decade has classic sitcoms, but none as many as the 70s.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 2,984
    Let us not forget The Good Life, one of my family's favourites from the era. So popular that people still go and check out the house where it was filmed.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 16,568
    Yes, I would say the 1970s too, though there were some good ones in the 1990s as well.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,716
    I think objectively you'd have to say the 70s. For sheer volume and talent.

    For me personally I wasn't a huge fan of the 70s shows (other than Fawlty Towers). Probably because of my age and sensibilities - I preferred sitcoms from the 80s like Young Ones, Blackadder (my favourite!) and Red Dwarf. From the 90s like Alan Partridge, Bottom (as well as satires like The Day Today and Brasseye) and the 2000s The League of Gentleman, Peep Show, The Office.

    But I think 70s is widely accepted as the classic era for the British sitcom. I think the sketch comedy shows in the 80s were very strong though as well.
  • stagstag In the thick of it!
    Posts: 1,053
    I'm a great fan of the classic British sitcom, and I extend this into the 1990s. (I can't forget the Royale Family and a few other exceptions which Major_Boothroyd mentions). I have many box sets of classics, from Hancock to The Office, my latest acquisition being the wholly politically incorrect 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'
  • stagstag In the thick of it!
    Posts: 1,053
    Fools and Horses was a brilliant sitcom. But then fatally went on for too long.

    The 'post millionaires' episodes are appalling. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

    I've got to agree with you there. Then there was the time when Rodney dated the Dukes(?) daughter. I thought it a great episode, but was angry to learn that it had been edited almost into oblivion in the box set.

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