British sitcom

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A Britcom is a neologism coined to describe situation comedy produced in the United Kingdom – a word used only outside of the islands, as internally, they are naturally simply known as sitcoms. Like sitcoms in most other countries, they tend to be based on a family, workplace or other institution where a group of contrasting characters are brought together each episode. A common factor is the exploration of social mores, often with a mix of satire or pathos. British comedies are typically produced in series of six episodes each.




The most sedately written series repudiate structured jokes altogether and attempt to reproduce an everyday environment with the intention of also reproducing its comedy. The forerunner of this style is probably Hancock's Half Hour on TV and radio in the 1950s. More recent examples of this hyperreal approach include The Royle Family, Early Doors, Gavin & Stacey, The IT Crowd and The Office as well as many British comedy-dramas.

A subset of British comedy consciously avoids traditional situation comedy themes and story lines to branch out into more unusual topics or narrative methods. Such freedom and experimentation has produced such series as The League of Gentlemen, Marion and Geoff, 15 Storeys High, Spaced and Green Wing.

Novel approaches to the situation can be seen in Blackadder and Yes Minister, moving what is often a domestic or workplace genre into the corridors of power. Another popular development in recent years has been spoof television series, as in KYTV, People Like Us, The Day Today and The Office.

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