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Best British TV Comedies of the 60s

What were some of the best British TV comedies of the 1960s? If you are a TV fan then you will know that Britain is responsible for a number of well-loved comedy programs.

Name a decade and most people can choose their favourite British comedy show from that time. Fawlty Towers, Steptoe and Son, The Young Ones; the list goes on and on.

Many of the best British TV comedies in the 60s poked fun at the British establishment and class society. Satirizing the somewhat old fashioned social expectations of the time.

See if you remember some of these 1960s best British Comedies. 

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Steptoe and Son 1962 – 1974

best british tv comedies

Possibly one of the most enduring British comedies ever written was Steptoe and Son. Wilfred Brambell and Harold H. Corbett portrayed Albert Steptoe and his son Harold.

The program followed the escapades of the rag-n-bone father and son team with Albert being the stereotypical ‘dirty old man’ and Harold ever aspiring to rise through the ranks of society to a better place in the world. 

Dad’s Army 1968 – 1977

dads army best british tv comedies

Dad’s Army is a comedy set in Wartime Britain that follows the antics of the Walmington on Sea home guard. Running a total of 80 episodes and 9 series this was one of the best-loved British comedies of the decade.

The group was a band of misfits that were exempt from serving in the Armed Services due to their age or medical reasons. They were led by the rather pompous Captain Mannering. A bank manager by day who was not quite as clever as he believed himself to be.

Dad’s Army has twice been made into a major motion picture. The first time in 1971, simply titled Dad’s Army and the second more recently in 2016, also titled Dad’s Army.

Hancock’s Half Hour 1954 – 1961

hancocks half hour tony hancock comedy

Just scraping on to the Best British TV comedies of the 60s list is Hancocks Half Hour. It finished its run in 1961 but is one of the British comedies that is still loved and remembered today. 

It started out as a radio show before hitting the television screens and featured Tony Hancock and a guest list of well-known people including Sid James of Carry On Films fame.

At the time Hancock’s format was somewhat new to the public. The half-hour show ran over a weekly storyline interspersed with various related sketches. It was this underlying theme that gave the British TV comedy its title of Hancock’s Half Hour

The Likely Lads 1964 – 1966

likely lads best british comedies

This short running British TV comedy was set in the North of England. It followed the adventures and struggles of Bob Ferris (Rodney Bewes) and Terry Collier (James Bolam). 

The Likely Lads humour was built around the differences between the two main characters. Terry, a somewhat cynical and down to earth working man, and Bob, who had ambitions of elevating his station to the middle class.

This much remembered of British comedies depicted life as a working-class man in a Northern town. Much of the out of work entertainment revolving around women, football, and beer. 

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Till Death Us Do Part 1965 – 1975

british comedy tv show

One of the most successful and best British comedies to hit the TV screens in the 1960s was undoubtedly, Till Death Do Us Part. The program’s success was largely due to Warren Mitchell’s portrayal of Alf Garnett. A politically incorrect racist, sexist and generally bigoted older man. 

The sitcom addressed many racial and political issues of the time, and Alf Garnett became a part of the British culture. Alf Garnett a traditionalist with conservative views frequently battled with his left-leaning son in law.  

Till Death Us Do Part neatly reflected the generation gap that was growing at the time. It showed the changing views of the younger generation towards love, marriage, race, politics and many other topics. 

Please Sir! 1968 -1972

comedy program Britain 1960

The British comedy Please Sir! ran for 55 episodes from 1968 to 1972. The sitcom featured John Alderton as Bernard Hedges, a newly qualified secondary school teacher.

Character actors like Mollie Sugden and Barbara Mitchell formed a weekly guest list. The show became compulsive viewing for the British Public who tuned in to follow the teacher’s weekly challenges. 

In 1971 a film version of Please Sir! was released and featured most of the original television cast. 

Summary

No matter what your situation or your social views of the time one of these British TV comedies was bound to reflect them. Many of them are still regulalry screened today and enjoyed by new audiences which means that much of the humour is still relevant and capable of crossing generational boundaries. 

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