Welcome, one and all, to a festive themed posting! That’s right, today I’m talking about my Top 5 UK Comedy Series With Great Christmas Specials! We don’t really need any more of an intro than that, so … let’s get to it! In no particular order:
Father Ted – A Christmassy Ted (1996)
The sitcom about three Catholic priests living on the secluded Craggy Island was a consistently great show. Lovable characters, great gags, and a wonderful cast all helped make Graham Lineham’s scripts come alive. This Christmas Special was a real highpoint for the show though. Here, Father Ted’s quick thinking helps prevent a scandal when he successful helps a group of lost priests escape the largest lingerie department in all of Ireland. His reward? The Golden Cleric award. And so begins a tale of thievery and hilarity.
Bottom – Holy (1992)
While not as smart as The Young Ones, Bottom did help keep Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in the hearts and minds of British audiences. This Christmas tale sees the hopeless pair getting ready for some festive fun with their pals Spudgun and Dave Hedgehog. In the midst of the slapstick shenanigans, a mysterious baby is left outside their door. Could this be the second coming?
The Office – Final Parts 1 & 2 (2003)
Before the US version of The Office came Ricky Gervais’s mockumentary series set in Slough. A wonderful send up of office culture, the show was perhaps best suited to those that had worked in that environment. This two part special caught up with the characters after the first two seasons had brought them fame. Full of the same humour that made the show popular, they tie up the loose ends and give us a strong finale for a much loved series.
Outnumbered – The Robbers (2009), The Broken Santa (2011), The Sick Party (2012), Christmas Special (2016)
Sometimes, parents aren’t perfect. Sometimes, kids can be a bit mad. And so forms the setting of the part-scripted, part-improvised show about a mum, a dad, and their three kids. The show itself is great fun, but the specials were highlights every time that they aired.
Desmond’s – O Little Town Of Peckham (1994)
Desmond’s was not the first predominantly black British sitcom, but it was the first to be set in the workplace. It also provided a different view of black family life than the shows that had come before it. Also notable was the fact that the characters all had aspirations and were socially mobile. Catchy theme song aside, it was a funny show, so when we got a Christmas special based around the titular barber and his family, it was met with much praise.
Of course, there are plenty of other great series that I’ve missed here. Mrs Brown’s Boys, One Foot In The Grave, Peep Show, Mr Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, Only Fools And Horse … not to mention the panel shows like Mock The Week and QI. The main message here is that we’ve been lucky with comedy in the UK. Whatever your taste, there’s bound to be something for you.