If there’s one thing we’ll never be able to take away from British television, it’s the undisputed heavyweight belt it proudly carries as the home to the world’s finest comedy programmes.
From universally adored big-hitters such as Dad’s Army, Hancock’s Half Hour and Ab Fab through to maybe-you-missed-it cult classics like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, the UK is home to the cream of the crop. The big dogs. The muscle-flexing, iron-pumping, shirt-ripping behemoths of the Giggle Gymnasium, with their veins bulging from their temples and pores seeping out pure protein shake.
And the following list only goes to prove it.
One hundred comedians, including Alexei Sayle, Ricky Tomlinson, Reece Shearsmith, Alexei Sayle, James Acaster and David Baddiel, have banged their heads together to compile a rundown that’s likely to send many into fits of laughter as they reminisce on some of the finest comic moments from TV history, and others into fits of rage when they realise their favourites have been left out. Polled by TV channel Gold (to the celebrate the launch of the channel’s new show We Have Been Watching, which starts on Wednesday 4th January at 8pm), they’ve shortlisted the 15 greatest British comedy one-liners of all time. And although we’re pretty impressed and mostly nodding in unison here in the office, it’s a job we’re glad didn’t fall onto our shoulders because you can never please everyone can you no no no you can not.
Get that finger a-scrolling through the fifteen now, and tell us exactly how WOT NO MONTY PYTHON FFS THIS IS BOLLOX you are on Twitter...
15. “I’m only not smoking in front of baby David until he's old enough to get up and walk out of the room, then it's his choice.”
– The Royle Family, and the scene where Denise explains how Baby David’s arrival will alter her smoking habits
14. “If it's a girl they're calling her Sigourney after an actress, and if it's a boy they're naming him Rodney. After Dave.”
– Only Fools and Horses
13. “I’m going nowhere, Lynn...”
– I’m Alan Partridge
12. “I felt muscular and compact, like corned beef.”
– Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and Dr. Rick’s description of the way he feels whilst running
11. “I was pissing by the door...”
– ‘Allo ‘Allo!
10. “You were expecting a bloke: beard, Bible and bad breath. Instead you've got a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.”
– The Vicar of Dibley introduces herself
9. ”I’ve got a plan, and it’s as hot as my pants!”
– Blackadder, as yelled by Lord Flashheart
8. “They’re only the band The Beatles could have been.”
– I’m Alan Partridge, and an assessment of the band Wings
7. “I suppose I’ve created an atmosphere where I’m a friend first, and a boss second. Probably an entertainer third.”
– David Brent boasts of his reputation in The Office
6. “One more facelift on this one, and she’ll have a beard.”
– Absolutely Fabulous and Patsy’s scathing comments during a celeb magazine flick-through
5. “Monkey tennis?”
– I’m Alan Partridge
4. “I know nothing!”
– Fawlty Towers
3. “These are small. But the ones out there are far away. Small… far away.”
– Father Ted
2. “That’s very nearly an armful!”
– Hancock’s Half Hour
1. “Don’t tell him, Pike!”
– Dad’s Army
Furious that your favourite didn’t make the cut? C’mon mate, let some steam off and have a rant with us on Twitter @Shortlist