The Sitcoms That Truly Reflect Working Class Britain

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29 May 19

The Sitcoms That Truly Reflect Working Class Britain

Television is often rather elitist. It stereotypes, glamorises and quite often takes advantage of people in the most grotesque way, highlighted more recently by the axing of the Jeremy Kyle Show.

However, at its best it can often create relatable, loveable characters that represent a community of people accurately and favourably. None more so than the working class sitcom.

But what are the best sitcoms to truly reflect working class Britain?

We take a look at some of our favourites…

Only Fools & Horses

Only Fools and Horses is regularly voted one of the greatest sitcoms in history, following brothers Del and Rodney who work their socks off to make ends meet.

At the heart of it, throughout all the trials and tribulations, is brotherly love. Family is who Del works for, looking out for his younger brother like a father.

There’s marriage, separation, pregnancy, miscarriage, death all dealt with sensitively and with humour. It’s why it recorded 24.3 million viewers in its final episode as the Trotters eventually did become millionaires.

Eyes Down

The bingo hall is still a huge part of working class life and the rise of online bingo site playing is seeing a new generation of player.

It’s a classic part of British holidays and the bingo night midweek is still treated as a night out for many.

Eyes Down was a sitcom based in a bingo hall and ran for two series in the early 2000s. It won’t be hugely remembered for its quality, but it was a good reflection of a working class night out.

Set in Liverpool, it starred Paul O’Grady as Ray Temple, a bingo caller and had all manner of bizarre situations in which Ray has to deal with. It was working class humour with slapstick humour.

Benidorm

Derren Litten is also working on a working class pass time sitcom over the coming months and years, but it is Benidorm that he’s really made his name.

Running for 10 series it saw the same faces returning to the same Benidorm resort each year for karaoke, sunshine and to get stuck in to the all-inclusive bar.

The storylines border on the absurd, but the characters are entirely relatable whether it be those who visit year in year out, or those who really regret their hotel choice for the year.

Royle Family

The Royle Family really is a jewel in the British sitcom crown. It broke convention by essentially being about nothing. Simply a family sat around the television, chatting about life is something we all do and what Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash got so, so right.

They became characters we love and the moment Nanna dies is perhaps one of the most poignant moment in sitcom history.

It covered topics and issues that every family face but did so in a way that every family deals with them, in the home and around the dinner table.

The return of the sitcom in 2006 was a real bonus and showed the pair of writers were still in touch with working class people. Aherne sadly died back in 2016, but the gift she gave to British television will be forever in our hearts.