diamond geezer

 Thursday, March 25, 2004

London's best sitcom

This Saturday the BBC will be announcing the results of their three month quest to uncover Britain's Best Sitcom (or the BBC's Best Sitcom, as it's turned out). I've cast a geographical eye over the Top 10 shortlist to investigate any possible spatial connections. Three of the supposed favourite sitcoms were located along the south coast of England (Torquay, Bournemouth-ish and Walmington-on-Sea), one in a Buckinghamshire village, one in Doncaster and one in a Cumbrian prison. But the other four were very definitely London-based, as indeed have been rather a lot of other TV sitcoms over the past fifty years. A suspiciously large number of these have been based in South, West and Southwest London too, not a million miles from BBC TV Centre and Thames's Teddington Studios. I guess at least this saved on the licence fee.

I've delved back into my memory, and deep into the internet, in an attempt to produce the definitive (clickable) postcode-by-postcode guide to London's sitcoms. And here's my first updated version:

Central London: Blackadder II and III (Westminster SW1), Black Books (Bloomsbury WC1), Life With The Lyons (Marble Arch W1), Yes Minister (Westminster SW1), Are You Being Served (inspired by Piccadilly W1), Down The 'Gate (City EC3)
North London: Spaced (Tufnell Park N19), Babes In The Wood (St John's Wood NW8), Gimme Gimme Gimme (Kentish Town NW5), Father Dear Father (Hampstead NW3), Agony (Golders Green NW11), Going Straight (Muswell Hill N10)
Northeast London (1 mile outside): Birds Of A Feather (Chigwell IG7)
East London: Drop The Dead Donkey (Wapping E1), Til Death Us Do Part (Wapping E1), Goodnight Sweetheart (East End, E1), Shine On Harvey Moon (Hackney E8), Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (Romford RM1)
Southeast London: Desmond's (Peckham SE15), Only Fools And Horses (Peckham SE15), Up The Elephant And Round The Castle (Elephant & Castle SE1)
South London: Game On (Battersea SW11), Not In Front Of The Children (Battersea SW11), 15 Storeys High (Kennington SE11), Terry And Julian (Streatham SW16), Citizen Smith (Tooting SW17), The Gnomes Of Dulwich (Dulwich SE21), Hancock (East Cheam SM2), Terry And June (Purley CR8), Please Sir
Southwest London: Fresh Fields (Barnes, SW13), Bless This House (Putney SW15), The Good Life (Surbiton KT6), Brush Strokes (Motspur Park KT3), George and Mildred (Hampton Wick TW12), The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (17 minutes late, points failure at Effingham Junction)
West London: Man About The House (Earl's Court SW5), Home James! (Chelsea SW3), Girls On Top (Kensington W8), Robin's Nest (Fulham SW6), Steptoe and Son (Shepherd's Bush W12), Absolutely Fabulous (Holland Park W11), Bottom (Hammersmith W6), Sykes (East Acton W3), Men Behaving Badly (Ealing, W5), 2 Point 4 Children (Ealing W5)
Northwest London: The Kumars at No 42 (Wembley HA9), May To December (Pinner HA5), My Hero (Northolt HA4)

Now, I reckon with your help I can improve this list. Firstly there are some sitcoms I've listed but without an exact location. Can anybody pinpoint these a bit more precisely? Secondly there are sitcoms like Comrade Dad and Butterflies(?) that I haven't managed to locate within London at all. Where were they exactly? And thirdly, and most importantly, there'll be other London-based sitcoms that I've completely failed to remember. What were they, and where? Do tell me. Just for a laugh.

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