Auntie Beeb has announced the interim results of its Britain’s Best Sitcom vote. Phase One is over, and a shortlist of fifty shows has been made. These will be counted down in a three-hour special on BBC TWO on Saturday, January 10th, which will be hosted by Jonathan Ross. Then, the top ten programmes will each be given their own little documentary, and the public will use this to decide on their vote for the best sit-com of all time.

You know the deal. It’s like Great Britons and The Big Read. But with sit-coms. It’s either a fascinating and memory-jogging televisual debate, or an excuse to fill up a load of Saturday nights with rather cheap telly. You can guarantee that there’ll be something annoying said about every programme featurred, and one of the celebrity documentarians is David pissing Dickinson.

The Top 50 list is not yet on BBCi, for some reason, so here it is:

  • Absolutely Fabulous
  • ‘Allo ‘Allo
  • Are You Being Served?
  • As Time Goes By
  • Birds Of A Feather
  • Blackadder
  • Bottom
  • Bread
  • The Brittas Empire
  • Butterflies
  • Dad’s Army
  • Dinnerladies
  • Drop The Dead Donkey
  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
  • Father Ted
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Gimme Gimme Gimme
  • The Good Life
  • Goodnight Sweetheart
  • Hancock’s Half Hour
  • Hi-De-Hi!
  • I’m Alan Partridge
  • It Ain’t Half Hot Mum
  • Just Good Friends
  • Keeping Up Appearances
  • Last Of The Summer Wine
  • The League Of Gentlemen
  • The Likely Lads (and Whatever Happened to…)
  • Men Behaving Badly
  • My Family
  • The Office
  • One Foot In The Grave
  • Only Fools and Horses
  • Open All Hours
  • Phoenix Nights
  • Porridge
  • Rab C Nesbitt
  • Red Dwarf
  • Rising Damp
  • The Royle Family
  • Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
  • Steptoe and Son
  • The Thin Blue Line
  • Till Death Us Do Part
  • To The Manor Born
  • 2 Point 4 Children
  • The Vicar Of Dibley
  • Waiting For God
  • Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister
  • The Young Ones

My Family? Fuck off. If you’re after more Dwarfy connections, we could mention that Chris Barrie has been in Blackadder and The Young Ones (as has Norman Lovett), Robert Llewellyn was in an episode of Bottom, and Ab Fab‘s Jane Horrocks played Nirvana Crane in Holoship. And I’m sure there’s a shitload more connections, feel free to point them out below. Quite why Waiting For God has got it’s own entry is beyond me; it’s just a Series I episode.

It was fairly inevitable, and rather pleasing, that Red Dwarf has made it to the Top 50, but don’t hold out much hope of it being in the Top Ten. It’s rather a culty show, after all, and I can’t see the type of people who vote on these types of things choosing it over Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Dad’s Army, Blackadder and, sigh, The Office. Although, riddle me this… The last two episodes of The Office were watched by 6.5 million people and 5.5 million people respectively. However, both Series VII and VIII of Red Dwarf kicked off with over eight million viewers, despite being on the supposed minority channel BBC TWO, and without a quarter of the advertising and hype given to The Office. YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH FACTS.

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