British Sitcom: 60 Years of Laughing at Ourselves

British Sitcom: 60 Years of Laughing at Ourselves


“What sitcom’s brilliant at,” Josh Widdicombe says here, “is identifying a social movement or type and skewering it.” He’s talking about the fashion types parodied in Ab Fab, but the rest of the programme charts how sitcoms from Hancock’s Half Hour onwards have rejoiced in mocking our attitudes to class, race, gender and anything else involving taboos.

Mostly that means we canter through the fondly familiar – Till Death Us Do Part, The Young Ones, The Vicar of Dibley and so on. But there is the odd surprise, such as clips from Curry and Chips featuring Spike Milligan playing an Asian-Irish factory worker, or Agony – probably the first sitcom to feature gay men who weren’t loudly camp.


A journey through the history of the British TV sitcom, from Hancock's Half Hour in the 1950s to present day shows, revealing the inspiration behind some of the most enduring characters and how comedy has reflected changing attitudes in society. Narrated by Rebecca Front, and featuring contributions from writers and actors including Steve Coogan, Richard Curtis, James Corden, Graham Linehan, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Rebecca Front
Contributor Steve Coogan
Contributor James Corden
Contributor Michael Grade
Contributor Richard Curtis
Contributor Dick Clement
Contributor Ian La Frenais
Contributor Graham Linehan
Contributor Josh Widdicombe
Contributor Jack Dee
Contributor Hugh Dennis
Contributor Beryl Vertue
Contributor Jonathan Harvey
Contributor Lee Mack
Contributor Nerys Hughes
Contributor Anna Raeburn
Contributor Trix Worrell
Contributor Adil Ray
Contributor John Plowman
Director Breid McLoone
Executive Producer Steven Canny
Producer Breid McLoone
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