The Writer's Premieres (who created the top 12 British Sitcoms)

by plwimsett | created - 03 Jan 2015 | updated - 03 Jan 2015 | Public

In 2004 a list of the top British sitcoms was created. But what makes a great sitcom writer? Maybe this list which shows each writer's first credit, gives a clue?

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1. Citizen Smith (1977–1980)

30 min | Comedy

Wolfie Smith is an unemployed dreamer from Tooting, London, a self-proclaimed urban guerrilla who aspires to be like his hero Che Guevara. He leads a small group called the Tooting Popular ... See full summary »

Stars: Robert Lindsay, Mike Grady, Hilda Braid, Tony Millan

Votes: 776

John Sullivan's first writing credit. Later to write Only Fools and Horses.

2. Canned Laughter (1979 TV Short)

30 min | Comedy, Short

Mr Bean trying to fall asleep

Director: Geoffrey Sax | Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Sue Holderness, Joan Scott, John J. Carney

Votes: 144

Rowan Atkinson's first writing credit, which shows the importance of showcases. He wrote the first series of Blackadder.

3. Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979–1982)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy

British sketch comedy starring the likes of Rowan Atkinson and Mel Smith.

Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson, Griff Rhys Jones

Votes: 2,064

Richard Curtis's first writing credit. He wrote the first series of Blackadder (no 2 in the list). He also co-wrote Vicar of Dibley (no 3 in the list)

Ben Elton' s first writing credit. He wrote the last three series of Blackadder.

5. Spitting Image (1984–1996)

25 min | Comedy

A satire show using puppets that are charicatures of major public figures.

Stars: Steve Nallon, Kate Robbins, Chris Barrie, Jon Glover

Votes: 1,880

Paul Mayhew-Archer's first writing credit. Later would write for Vicar of Dibley.

David Croft's first writing credit. He would later write Dad's Army.

7. Dad's Army (1968–1977)

30 min | Comedy, War

A ragtag group of Home Guard volunteers prepare for an imminent German invasion during World War II.

Stars: Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie

Votes: 5,241

Jimmy Perry's first writing credit-the first writer so far to have a top British sitcom as his first credit.

8. That Was the Week That Was (1962–1963)

50 min | Comedy

Satirical sketch show. The first such show in the UK. It ran for two seasons before being pulled just before the 1964 general election.

Stars: David Frost, Millicent Martin, William Rushton, Roy Kinnear

Votes: 67

John Cleese's first writing credit. He would later write Fawlty Towers.

Antony Jay's first writing credit. He would later write Yes Minister.

9. David Frost Presents (1968– )
Episode: How to Irritate People (1969)

TV-PG | 68 min | Talk-Show

In this mock-documentary, John Cleese narrates a series of sketches on irritation -- types and techniques. Included are parents irritating their children, old ladies irritating movie-goers ... See full summary »

Director: Ian Fordyce | Stars: John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin

Votes: 1,974

Connie Booth's first writing credit, a baptism of fire apparently. Later she would write and star in Fawlty Towers with her husband, John Cleese.

10. Doctor at Large (1971– )

30 min | Comedy

Following his student misadventures in Doctor in the House (1969), Michael Upton (Barry Evans) starts out on an equally fun-filled but disaster-prone solo career. He moves through a variety... See full summary »

Stars: Barry Evans, George Layton, Geoffrey Davies, Richard O'Sullivan

Votes: 193

Jonathan Lynn's first writing credit. He would later write Yes Minister.

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais's first writing credit. They would later write Porridge.

12. Mogul (1965–1972)

50 min | Drama

Adventure drama series based around the fictitious Mogul Oil Company and the exploits of its chief "troubleshooter", Peter Thornton (Ray Barrett).

Stars: Geoffrey Keen, Philip Latham, Ray Barrett, Robert Hardy

Votes: 38

Roy Clarke's first writing credit. He will later write Open All Hours and its sequel Still Open All Hours.

John Esmonde and Bob Larbey's first writing credit. They will later write The Good Life.

David Renwick's first writing credit. He will later write One Foot in The Grave.

15. Alas Smith & Jones (1984–1998)

30 min | Comedy

Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones present a series of short (often tasteless, always scathing) sketches about modern life and the stupidity and gullibility of those who believe in it.

Stars: Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Sarah Alexander

Votes: 1,402

Arthur Matthews and Graham Lineham's first writing credit. They would later write Father Ted.

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