Opinion: Top 10 TV Comedies 2014

Inside No 9

Is this a Golden Age of TV Comedy? There may not have been a landmark series such as I’m Alan Partridge or The Office or The Thick of It, but there have been a number of unmissable comedies from old stars and newcomers alike. So, after considerable stress and a lot of laughs, here is Beyond The Joke’s Top Ten TV comedies for 2014. Let the arguments commence…

 

 

1. Inside No. 9

This ingenious six-part series from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton could have taken up six slots in this top ten as every episode was different but brilliant in their own way. BTJ’s favourite remains the first one, Sardines, with Tim Key among the all-star cast, but there were chills and chuckles throughout.

 

2. The Trip To Italy

Delicious-looking and deliciously funny sequel from Coogan/Brydon touring the scenic spots of the Amalfi coast while doing their tastiest Batman take-offs. 

 

3. Brian Pern

They were short runs but Simon Day’s note-perfect rock spoof had two outings in 2014 - first on BBC4 and then on BBC2. A terrific supporting cast of regulars including Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers plus cameos from Freeman, Whitehall and Gabriel made this unmissable.

 

4. Detectorists

Not quite under the radar, but this beautiful slow-burn comedy with a delicate pastoral feel to it written by, directed by and starring MacKenzie Crook and also starring Toby Jones grew stronger week-by-week.

 

5. Toast of London

Boorish, stupid, sexist and very funny, Matt Berry’s hopeless, hapless thespian Steven Toast got into more inappropriate scrapes this year. Yes, we can hear you Clem Fandango.

 

6. House of Fools

Vic and Bob had a crack at the sitcom genre two decades ago with the flawed one-off masterpiece The Weekenders*, but have really got it right this time round, mixing slapstick, surrealism and that man Matt Berry (again).

 

7. Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle

The Dave Allen de nos jours returned with a series which, among other things, nailed Paul Nuttall of the UKIPs. New Year’s wish for 2015? Get Lee on Live at the Apollo. 

 

8. Uncle 

What started out as a bit derivative of About A Boy became a distinctive, irreverent rite of passage comedy in its own right. Series two starts soon and, along with other projects, should make Nick Helm one of the biggest comedy stars of 2015. 

 

9. The Wrong Mans

Corden and Baynton moved the action to Texas this time round but the mix of comedy and thriller stayed the same with a prison break-out plot that glued the spirit of Con Air to double crosses worthy of Hitchcock. 

 

10. Miranda

We haven’t seen the New Year’s Day finale yet, but the Christmas Special was enough to earn Hart a place in our hearts.

*As pointed out to me there was also Catterick – I'd managed to erase that musical misfire from my memory. 

 

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