BritBox: Gavin and Stacey and The Office to Fawlty Towers and Porridge – classic comedy box sets to watch time and time again

Rewatch all your favourite classic British comedies and discover some new ones, as BritBox is filled with the very best British sitcoms, sketch shows and comedy characters of all time.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 17 September 2020 - 1.04pm
BBC

From Basil Fawlty, Norman Stanley Fletcher and Del Boy to David Brent, Mark and Jeremy and Smithy and Nessa, BritBox has got all the comedy characters you love in one place.

Indulge yourself in hours of entertainment with unforgettable comedy moments from the 70s, 80s and 90s alongside some modern classics.

Check out our guide to the unmissable comedy box sets that you will love watching over and over again…

Gavin and Stacey

Gavin and Stacey Christmas special BBC

James Corden and Ruth Jones' sitcom about a romance between an Essex boy and a Welsh girl became the biggest British sitcom since Only Fools and Horses thanks to its mix of heartwarming humour and unforgettable characters.

Managing to balance the surreal and silly with the human and relatable, Gavin and Stacey is endlessly quotable, beautifully written and still delivers belly laughs no matter how many times you’ve watched it.

Peep Show

Peep Show Channel 4

David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s flatshare sitcom ran for nine series and was never anything less than exceptional.

Writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain were masters of cringe-comedy as they managed to dig the hapless Jeremy and Mark into bigger and deeper holes with every series as they went from directionless graduates to directonless middle-aged men. It also features an early performance from future Oscar winner Olivia Colman.

The Inbetweeners

The Inbetweeners movie

Crude, lewd and filled with some of the greatest cringe-comedy moments of all time, The Inbetweeers became a bona fide phenomenon when it first aired in 2008.

Spawning two smash hit films and a barrel-load of new insults and slang, the series captured the emotions, embarrassing failings and pathetic nature of young adults in a way nobody has before.

The Royle Family

Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash’s game-changing sitcom was like nothing we’d seen before when it arrived in 1998.

Plonking us in the frontroom of Jim, Barb, Denise and Antony as they watched TV, smoked, scratched their bums and bickered, Aherne and Cash captured an authenticity that millions of viewers recognised.

Able to make you switch from full-on belly laughs to floods of tears in a single scene, The Royle Family was arguably the best new sitcom of the 90s.

Dinnerladies

Running for two series between 1998 and 2000, Victoria Wood’s sitcom about a group of women in a factory canteen in Greater Manchester, was never anything less than exceptional.

Joining Wood in the cast were Anne Reid, Thelma Barlow, Maxine Peake, Shobna Gulati, Celia Imrie and a wild scene-stealing Julie Walters.

The razor-sharp scripts, quick-fire gags and romantic subplots haven’t aged a jot in this endearing and cosy classic.

Yes Minister / Yes, Prime Minister

BritBox has every episode of the original and best political satire from writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.

Paul Eddington plays Minister Jim Hacker, while Nigel Hawthorne co-stars as his cunningly unhelpful Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby and Derek Fowlds completes the trio as Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley.

After three series focusing on the machinations within the fictional Department for Administrative Affairs, Hacker is unexpectedly elevated to the role of Prime Minster, taking us through the door of Number 10 for two further seasons.

Even 40 years on from when it first aired, the show is still having clips shared on social media because it’s maddening look at how the world of politics works (or generally doesn’t) hasn’t really moved on.

Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses BBC

As big a British institution as fish and chips, the antics of Del Boy and Rodney remain the most-watched and most-loved sitcom of all time.

From the Jolly Boys’ Outing, Trigger’s broom and Peckham Springs to the Batman and Robin 1996 Christmas special and the emotional birth of Damien Trotter, the show provided endless classic moments that we’ll never tire of watching over and over again.

The Office

The Office BBC

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant re-drew the TV comedy landscape with this mockumentary about paper merchants Wernham Hogg and its cringe-inducing manager David Brent.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, it’s the perfect time for a return visit to the home of everyone’s favourite “chilled out entertainer”.

Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous BBC

Desperate fashionistas Eddy and Patsy became known worldwide thanks to the comedy genius of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

With Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks in supporting roles, the series poked fun at the world of fashion, PR and journalism and found great humour in the strained relationships of modern mothers and daughters.

Blackadder

Blackadder BBC

The historical comedy series brought together the incredible young talents of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tim McInnerny, Tony Robinson, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton and, of course, Rowan Atkinson, for four series that taught an entire generation more about British history than they ever learnt in school.

Every series and period setting has its own unique selling point, but it's Blackadder Goes Forth that remains the most popular and enduring due to its moving conclusion to Blackadder’s time on the Western Front.

The Detectorists

Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook’s sitcom about metal detecting enthusiasts Andy and Lance is a modern classic.

Running for three perfect series, the show magnified the ordinary in almost poetic fashion and with joyous results.

Porridge

Ronnie Barker’s 70s sitcom about the trials and tribulations of Norman Fletcher and Lennie Godber (Richard Beckinsale), cellmates in the fictional Slade Prison, is a timeless masterpiece.

Still ranked among the greatest British comedies ever made, the series was written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and the scripts and performances of Barker and Beckinsale feel as fresh today as they did 45 years ago.

The Good Life

The Good Life BBC

First airing on the BBC in 1975, The Good Life brought together the comic talents of Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington in a classic British sitcom format of neighbourly tension.

Tom and Barbara Good’s attempts to become self-sufficient and escape the trappings of modern life still feel relevant, and the comedy gold that comes from Margo Leadbetter’s disapproval of her neighbours' new lifestyle is as funny as it ever was.

Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum Channel 4

Before I May Destroy You turned Michaela Coel into a global star, she was picking up awards and critical acclaim for her sitcom Chewing Gum.

Playing the motormouth Tracey Gordon, Coel delivers an incredible performance which earned her two Baftas.

Gordon is a young shop assistant growing up on a London council estate, who is trying to learn about sex and the world within a restricted and religious household.