If you find yourself wishing you could revisit some of your favourite sitcom characters from previous decades, look no further than BBC iPlayer.
The digital and catch-up service from the BBC can offer three complete box sets of British comedy:
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
The 1970s comedy, following hapless but well-meaning clown Frank Spencer, ran for three series. With 23 episodes spanning 1973 to 1978, including 3 Christmas specials, the show is available in full on BBC iPlayer. The box set also includes the 2023 conversation between series stars Michael Crawford and Michelle Dotrice, in which they discuss the making of the programme in celebration of Some Mothers So ‘Ave ‘Em‘s 50th anniversary.
To The Manor Born
Beginning in 1979, To The Manor Born starred Penelope Keith as upper class Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton, who is forced to downgrade from the manor house to the lodge house after her husband’s death. Confronted daily by the activity of the new occupant of the hall, nouveau-riche Richard DeVere (Peter Bowles), one of Audrey’s only comforts is the solace and sometime-comradeship of her old friend Marjory (Angela Thorne).
To The Manor Born ran for three series, all of which are available to
binge watch in full on BBC iPlayer.
The Young Ones
A slightly less cosy offering here, but one that deserves a place here as it somewhat follows on from the comfortable and familiar of Manor and Some Mothers.
The Young Ones ushered in a new era of comedy, trampling knowingly and deliberately over much that its audience’s parents would have held dear. The series follows a rather hopeless group of youngsters who share a house, annoying each other and getting into endless mishaps and adventures through apathy, ineptitude and attempted anarchy. It starred Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan and Alexei Sayle.
The Young Ones only ran for two series, but these are both available in full on BBC iPlayer, to be enjoyed again, perhaps by a whole new audience.
There are also many other sporadic episodes, including Christmas specials, of classic British comedy, available on iPlayer. These range from Steptoe and Son to Yes, Minister and Morecambe and Wise, however Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, To The Manor Born and The Young Ones are the three which fit Old Time Review‘s remit of pre-1985 content, and are available to
binge view in full currently on iPlayer.