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A look back at the best sitcoms of the 70s

Though viewers might not have realised it back then, the 70s were a golden age for British comedy – the most popular sitcoms of the time pushed the boundaries and helped earn it a reputation as some of the best in the world – many are still syndicated and have been exported to markets across Europe and North America.

  • Steptoe and Son

A simple concept – an old man and his daydreaming son – made for an exciting situation comedy that is still beloved by fans everywhere. The story follows their rag-and–bone business and the struggle between a son who wants to better himself and a father whose bad habits always seem to get in the way.

  • Fawlty Towers

Manic hotel manager Basil Fawlty, his wife Sybil and waiter Manuel make up the core cast of this hilarious sitcom that follows the life of a family trying to keep their business. A steady stream of guests only add to the chaos in a sitcom that’s often referred to as short, but perfectly formed.

  • Dad’s Army

This hit sitcom was so popular it spanned nine years, a radio series, full length feature film and stage show. Set in the small fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea during the Second World War, Dad’s Army follows the misadventures of a group of men who set up the town’s Local Defence Volunteers. Full of slapstick humour characters like Mainwaring, Sargent Wilson, Frazer and Godfrey, Dad’s Army has stood the test of time.

  • Porridge

Even with life behind bars can be funny with Norman Stanley Fletcher. When the show first aired in 1974 it was met with outrage, making tabloid headlines around the country. It wasn’t long however before audiences were won over as they watched Fletcher and his new cellmate Lennie Godber.

  • Are You Being Served?

Are You Being Served follows the misadventures of the staff on the retail floor of Grace Brothers Department Store after two different departments – Gentlemen’s Ready to Wear and Ladies’ Separates and Underwear were forced to share the same floor. Characters like Captain Peacock, head of ladies fashion Mrs Slocombe and senior menswear assistant Mr Humphries helped make this sitcom a firm favourite and kept it on the air for more than 10 years.

Watching again

When it comes to old TV shows, the Internet is an excellent resource, and thanks to things like online streaming services and specialty vendors it’s possible to watch old clips, full episodes and even purchase box sets to watch at home. Amazon is a great place to start – DVD box sets are often very affordable and the range of choice is enormous.

Popular channels like ITV, BBC and Dave are all known to show reruns of popular sitcoms, and many will do specials over the holidays, so it’s always worth browsing your local listing. GOLD is another specialty channel that is devoted to showing the best British comedies reruns, including the likes of Faulty Towers, Porridge and Steptoe and Son. From their website you can also watch clips, read profiles of the actors and learn more about what made these classic sitcoms so special.

What are your favourite sitcoms from the 70s?

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Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ... Sally

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shrew1742
7th Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Lots and lots of super sitcoms about in that era. Does 'The Likely Lads' qualify for the 70's ??
cherryt
21st Oct 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Definitely Porridge for me
jacacc1210
13th Oct 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
So many classic comedy from that time to choose from and for me it would have to be Some Mother's Do Ave Them. It was funny then and still makes me laugh now when I watch Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer, such a talented actor/comedian & singer.
Shaznkeith
16th Sep 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
I love Dad's Army! In fact I'm watching it now, the one with the Lighthouse! Still so funny after all these years! xXx
Jo Kingham
26th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Love Thy Neighbour - hilarious- although wouldn't go down too well today!! Also absolutely loved The Liver Birds, and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, such classics. My teenage daughter recently watched Fawlty Towers for the first time and thought it was great - she watched the whole series in a couple of days - surprised me how few episodes of them were actually made. Good times, great programmes, they simply don't make them like that anymore.
Kobyhodge
25th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Till death us do part was my favourite, which pushed all the boundaries, although it spanned 60's and 70's. Dad's Army was and still is another of my favourites.
neilp1973
25th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Fawlty Towers never failed to make me laugh. Basil Fawlty hitting the car is one one of the greatest examples of comic genius
thefilthycripple
9th Oct 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
For me Fawlty Towers the quality never varied and the amount of content in each episode was unsurpassed .I look upon Steptoe asa 60's comedy
Kes
3rd Jul 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
Stand out show for me is Porridge! Ronnie Barker was a one off. Impeccable timing and comedic genius.
Treehugger1
17th Jul 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes I agree Kes, absolutely brilliant show
britishtea
2nd Nov 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
I like am from the states and I like Dallas
JohnV1
17th May 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Does any one remember "A Sharp intake of Breath". One of David Jason's earlier efforts. Never seems to get a mentions when articles regading David appear.
thefilthycripple
4th Dec 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
Fawlty Towers beyond brilliance ,such wonderful characters !
MargaretW8
4th Dec 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
some mothers do ave them?
Judy
21st Sep 2014
1
Thanks for voting!
I loved them all and watched them in what was Rhodesia. Perhaps some of the only laughs in the dark days of Rhodesian history.
Donna17
27th Jan 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
I live in the US not UK need to correct my profile
1
Thanks for voting!
If you are logged in Donna17, you can just click on Edit Profile and make any changes you wish .. don't forget to save your changes 😉

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