Streaming

16 Hilarious British Comedies On Netflix

From Ab Fab to Chewing Gum and Peep Show, these shows never get old.

BBC Worldwide
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

After a year of more downs than ups, let’s be honest, a good dose of British comedy on Netflix has never been more appealing. Thankfully, there’s always a thriving crop of the genre to stream. In fact, British comedies on Netflix are probably top of my most-watched list.

From classic sitcoms like Absolutely Fabulous, to sketch shows like Monty Python, and newer favourites, including Derry Girls and Sex Education, Netflix has selected some of the best British comedies that have ever been made for its streaming platform.

In need of something familiar to switch off to? Looking for a few guaranteed laughs? For those times when a good British rom-com just won’t cut it (although there are plenty of those to choose from on the platform, too) – Netflix has curated quite the British comedy library for your amusement.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, I’m pretty well versed in the best British comedies on Netflix. So, pour yourself a cuppa, sit down, and indulge in some highly therapeutic comedy viewing.

1

Absolutely Fabulous

A sitcom filled with addiction and self-destruction sounds like it might be light on the jokes, but when you throw Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley into the mix, it’s downright hilarious. PR agent Eddy (played by Saunders), and magazine fashion director Patsy (Lumley), relish in their fashion industry success just a tad too much, often blowing their money on alcohol in an attempt to relive their glory days.

They end up in dire situation after dire situation, accompanied by ludicrous consequences, which are guaranteed lift your spirits. British comedy at it’s best.

Watch on Netflix

2

After Life

Dark comedy more your thing? After Life is the perfect series for you. Created by Ricky Gervais, After Life follows newspaper writer Tony who is dealing with the recent death of his wife to breast cancer. To cope, he decides to take on “a gruff new persona in an effort to push those away trying to help”, by saying and doing what he wants without thinking about the consequences. Wit and emotion in equal measure.

Watch on Netflix

3

The IT Crowd

The beauty of British comedy is its intrinsic relationship with the nation. The IT Crowd is a perfect example, where one phrase — “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” — is relatable no matter where you live in the UK. Yes, we’ve all spent nights marathoning the show to oblivion on All 4. But, it’s still just as good every watch. Who knew a group of ITV nerds – including Chris O’Dowd, Noel Fielding, and Richard Ayoade – would steal our hearts so successfully?

Watch on Netflix

4

Chewing Gum

Written by and starring the brilliant Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum follows the Beyoncé-obsessed 24-year-old Tracey Gordon as she leaves her strict religious past behind and enters womanhood.

Consistently breaking the fourth wall, and seriously demonstrating Coel’s writing and comedic chops, Chewing Gum is a must-see for those who appreciated her work in the BBC drama I May Destroy You.

Watch on Netflix

5

Sex Education

Everyone loves a teen comedy, and Sex Education delivers on that front. It’s also a show that successfully traverses the awkward sexual awakening all teens experience, and the problems they’d much rather keep to themselves (in a very British way, ofc).

While Sex Education “finds the sweetness in the awkward and under-discussed parts of human sexuality”, and has its fair share of drama, it’s an absolute delight to watch — and is thankfully returning for a third series in the near future.

Watch on Netflix

6

Derry Girls

Derry Girls has been on the top of my British comedy list since it first debuted. From it’s stellar female cast to the hilariously unique writing and setting, it’s hard to put the humour of Derry Girls into words. It’s one of those series you just have to see for yourself – writing down the lines that these girls come out with doesn’t do them justice.

Watch on Netflix

7

Man Like Mobeen

One British comedian you should totally be following is Guz Khan. The dude has me in hysterics whenever he does stand-up, and the same goes for his sitcom Man Like Mobeen. While the third series isn’t available on Netflix at the moment (it’s on BBC iPlayer, though), the first two are ready and waiting for you to enjoy.

Watch on Netflix

8

The Duchess

Comedian Katherine Ryan might be Canadian, but her British comedy is on point. In this comedy-drama she plays a single mum navigating raising a tween daughter while also focusing on a career. Oh, and the fact that she’s considering whether it’s a good idea to have another child with her daughter’s father, a.k.a. her insufferable ex-boyfriend. Trust me, it plays out hilariously.

Watch on Netflix

9

Fresh Meat

The perfect follow-up to Bad Education, Fresh Meat focuses on a group of freshers navigating the complexities of uni life. You remember the drill: partying, making friends, maintaining relationships, and trying not to succumb to the pressures of endless essays and exams. It stars Jack Whitehall as lead, aka one of the best British comedians around (see his Brit Awards 2021 hosting skills for evidence of how he’s progressed since).

Watch on Netflix

10

Flowers

We know Olivia Colman does surreal comedy well, and Flowers demonstrates her talent perfectly, through the misadventures of a rather eccentric family. Starring alongside Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), writer and creator Will Sharpe combines British and Japanese dark humour seamlessly. I’d argue it’s one of the most unique British comedies on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix

11

Monty Python's Flying Circus

When Netflix announced it would be uploading the entire Monty Python collection to stream in 2018 I, for one, rejoiced. The British comedy collective is probably best known among millennials for its films The Holy Grail, and The Life of Brian – but the group’s foray into television with Monty Python's Flying Circus is definitely some of their best work. If you want to laugh until your sides hurt, half an hour of Flying Circus will certainly do the trick.

Watch on Netflix

12

Friday Night Dinner

The late Paul Ritter steals every scene in this sitcom as the loveable patriarch of the Goodman family, who convene every Friday night for a family dinner. The series also features Episodes’ Tamsin Greig as Martin’s wife Jackie, joined by The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird and Plebs’ Tom Rosenthal as their two sons.

Friday Night Dinner has dozens of memorable moments that interrupt said occasion, whether that’s Martin trying to hide a dead fox in a freezer, or the brothers constantly fighting even though they’re in their early twenties.

Watch on Netflix

13

The End of the F***ing World

There’s a reason why everyone raves about this show, it’s just so cool. From the American road trip aesthetics to the pretty messed up storyline, everything about The End of the F***ing World screams good television. It’ll have you in stitches one minute, and in tears by the next.

It’s the perfect companion show to Sex Education in terms of setting. Both are definitely based in England, but the settings look so otherworldly that it’s become part of the charm of these shows.

Watch on Netflix

14

Motherland

Loosely based on the true experiences of creator and writer Sharon Horgan’s at the school gates, Motherland is an unabridged insight into what it’s really like to have kids.

Cue the chaos of organising a young family, maintaining social commitments, working from home in the school holidays, and all the additional dramas that come with becoming a parent. Quintessential British comedy that’s very IRL – you just have to laugh.

Watch on Netflix

15

The Office (UK)

There might be what feels like a never ending argument about which The Office is better, the UK or US version, but one thing’s for sure: both are strong and hilarious in their own right.

Whether you’re an old fan returning for reruns or new to the British comedy version, the ease of having it on Netflix means you can soak up all of those classic moments time and time again.

Watch on Netflix

16

Peep Show

Long before Olivia Colman was heading for Oscar-winning success (or maybe we knew it all along), she played Sophie in Peep Show. The cringe-worthy British comedy follows the dysfunctional lives of Mark and Jeremy, through point-of-view shots that give the series its name.

The cult favourite became Channel 4’s longest running comedy after nine seasons, all of which are available on Netflix. So buckle up, and get ready for the awkwardness to sink in.

Watch on Netflix