Yahoo Entertainment is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
Brits are turning to nostalgic TV classics for comfort since the beginning of the isolation period, with retro shows seeing a huge surge in viewing, Now TV has revealed.
The streaming service says views of WW2 comedy Dad’s Army has gone up by 211% and iconic David Jason sitcom Only Fools and Horses has jumped 87%, climbing to the service’s 11th most watched show this week.
In these uncertain times it’s not surprising people are turning to their old favourites as they seek reassurance in the familiar, while the unfamiliar dominates the news.
With that in mind, we’ve trawled through the UK streaming services to choose some of the best retro shows on offer over the coming weeks.
Absolutely Fabulous (Britbox/Netflix)
Relive Eddie and Patsy’s most outrageous adventures, outfits and binges with Jennifer Saunder’s iconic fashion sitcom.
Blackadder (Britbox/Now TV)
Rowan Atkinson stars as the devious Blackadder in four different time periods across four excellent series, created by Atkinson with Richard Curtis, and aided in later series by Ben Elton.
Bo Selecta! (All4/Prime Video)
Remember when Leigh Francis was interesting? Revisit his best sketch series yet and revel in the glorious anarchy of Avid Merrion and his rubber-masked guests including Craig David, Mel B, and Ozzy Osbourne.
Bottom (Now TV)
Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were at the peak of their powers in this nihilistic, grotty slapstick sitcom that ran for three seasons.
Back before the news became more outrageous than comedy could ever have predicted, Chris Morris’ iconic news spoof ruled the roost. Like a fine wine, it continues to get better with age.
Crapston Villas (All4)
From the people that brought us Spitting Image, this stop motion comedy was crude, lewd, and is tailor made for late night binges.
Dad’s Army (Now TV)
Broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977, Jimmy Perry’s WW2 comedy remains the high benchmark for British sitcoms, and despite endless reruns, it remains as funny as the day it was first aired.
Set in a Peckham barbershop, this game-changing comedy ran for six series from 1989-1994 making it Channel 4’s longest-running sitcom.
Dinnerladies (Britbox/Netflix/Now TV)
It’s incredible to think that Victoria Wood’s sitcom only ran for 16 episodes, considering how well-loved it remains. It’s just been added to Netflix in its entirety, but you can also catch it on Britbox and Now TV too.
Father Ted (All4/Britbox)
The greatest Irish export since Guinness still elicits belly laughs on repeat viewings thanks to a series of killer comedy performances from all involved, least of all the late, great Dermot Morgan as the eponymous Father Ted Crilly.
Fawlty Towers (Now TV)
John Cleese struck comedy gold with his iconic sitcom, perhaps one of the greatest ever made, in which he wrote and starred as irascible hotelier Basil Fawlty.
French and Saunders (iPlayer/Britbox)
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders’ sketch show is one of the all-time greats, particularly their film and music video spoofs that remain hilarious as ever.
Game On (Now TV)
Although the series never quite recovered from the departure of lead Ben Chaplin for Hollywood, this sitcom about a trio of twenty-somethings (Samantha Janus, Matthew Cottle, and Chaplin’s replacement Neil Stuke) in a flat share is well worth revisiting.
Goodness Gracious Me (iPlayer)
Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal and Anil Gupta’s sketch show explored British Asian culture in a way never seen before on UK TV and it remains riotously entertaining and ripe for a revisit.
The Good Life (Britbox)
Starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal, this classic 70s sitcom saw a a middle-aged couple adopting a self-sustainable lifestyle much to the horror of their neighbours Margot and Jerry. It’s still brilliant.
Harry Enfield & Chums/Harry Enfield Presents (Britbox)
Name a more quotable sketch show. Little Britain doesn’t count. Enfield’s peak of creativity birthed Smashie and Nicey, the Scousers, the Old Gits, Kevin and Perry, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, Tim Nice-But-Dim, and many more.
Only Fools and Horses (Now TV/Britbox)
The British sitcom to end all British sitcoms. The adventures of Del Boy, Rodney, Granddad and later Uncle Albert, remains the most instantly recognisable show on UK TV.
Open All Hours (Now TV)
David Jason’s other indelible sitcom stars Ronnie Barker as a crotchety but kind-hearted shopkeeper, and is as comforting as a warm blanket and a mug of Horlicks.
Porridge (iPlayer/Britbox/Now TV)
Continuing on a Ronnie Barker tip is his prison-set sitcom created and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. It ran for just three series, but its cultural impact continues to be felt. Spend some time in lock down locked up.
Queer As Folk (All4/Britbox)
Aidan Gillen, Craig Kelly and Charlie Hunnam star in Russell T Davies’ 1999-2000 comedy drama that broke down barriers for LGBTQ+ representation on TV forever.
The Thin Blue Line (Prime Video)
Ben Elton’s cop sitcom starred Rowan Atkinson as Inspector Fowler, a uniformed officer who often clashed with David Haig’s ambitious Detective Inspector Derek Grim. It was short lived, but has aged well.
Top of the Pops (iPlayer)
BBC iPlayer has a wide selection of classic TOTP to choose from and they’ve helpfully excised all traces of Jimmy Savile, so you enjoy some classic pop and rock performances entirely unproblematically.
The Two Ronnies (Britbox)
Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett were a match made in comedy heaven and aided by some of the greatest comedy writers in UK TV history, they crafted an indelible sketch series that is well worth repeat viewings.
The Vicar of Dibley (Netflix/Britbox/Now TV)
Dawn French’s rural sitcom written by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer about a fictional village and its newly-assigned female vicar has just been added to Netflix, praise be.
Vic Reeves Big Night Out (All4)
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s cult show changed British comedy forever, and remains as gleefully anarchic and unmatched to this day.