25. Not Going Out (2006-)Channel:
BBC1 Starring: Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Sally Bretton, Katy Wix, Miranda Hart, Megan Dodds, Simon Dutton. Many sitcoms are limited by their setting workplace comedies, for instance, have to place many of their scenes within said workplace, which may limit what can be played for laughs. Such is not the case for Not Going Out, the Lee Mack comedy vehicle that has been a regular fixture on our screens since 2006, barring a brief stint in which the show was announced to be cancelled before the decision was reversed. Described by its creator as a show that is not really about anything, the writing team can place the characters in a wide variety of situations, with subjects of humour ranging from driving lessons to insurance fraud. With two experienced stand-ups in the lead roles in the form of Mack and Tim Vine, the show is well-cast, even if the two are essentially playing themselves. Their differing comedy backgrounds (Mack being a satirist/observational comedian and Vine being known for quickfire puns and one-liners) complement each other superbly, and Vine will be missed as the show heads into its sixth series this year, having announced his departure.
24. Twenty Twelve (2011-12)Channel
BBC4/BBC2 Starring Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes, Amelia Bullmore, Olivia Colman, Vincent Franklin, Karl Theobold, Morven Christie, Samuel Barnett. The mockumentary is underrated as a format, utilised sparingly in cinema (where it has spawned greats such as This Is Spinal Tap), and even more rarely on the small screen. Twenty Twelve utilises it to great effect, centring on the Olympic Deliverance Comission (ODC), a fictional representation of the London Organising Committee Of The Olympic Games (LOCOG) tasked with the smooth organisation of the London 2012 Olympics. The result is, naturally, a comedy of errors, as hapless characters struggle to handle tasks such as the logistics, PR and legacy of the games. Played by an assortment of television regulars, the clueless individuals provide much in the way of laughs, whilst also providing insight (however unrealistic it may or may not be) into a topic that most of the public will be unfamiliar with the extensive behind-the-scenes preparation that goes into ensuring that the Olympics lives up to its title as The Greatest Show On Earth Twenty Twelve benefitted from the timeliness of its airing, with its first episode coinciding with the 500 day countdown to the games and the final episode airing just three days before the opening ceremony, helping to get the UK in the mood for what would ultimately be one of the finest sporting events of all time.