Radio Times poll names greatest sitcom Christmas special ever

Three heavyweights of British comedy made the top three.

Press Association
Last updated: 11 December 2019 - 12.10am

The finale of The Office is the greatest sitcom Christmas special ever, according to a poll conducted by the Radio Times.

Only Fools And Horses’s Christmas trilogy finished a narrow second while Gavin & Stacey’s 2008 festive edition came third, according to a poll of more than 3,000 readers.

First broadcast on BBC One over two nights from Boxing Day 2003, The Office’s two-part Christmas special saw former receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis) and office worker Tim (Martin Freeman) finally kiss after two series of will-they won’t-they.

Ricky Gervais
The Office, co-created by Ricky Gervais, has been named the greatest sitcom Christmas special ever by a Radio Times poll (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Only Fools And Horses’s three Christmas episodes included Heroes And Villains, where Del Boy and Rodney memorably arrived at a wake dressed as Batman and Robin.

The third episode in the trilogy, Time On Our Hands, finally saw the brothers achieve their goal of becoming millionaires.

It was watched by 24.3 million viewers, a UK record for a comedy.

Gavin & Stacey’s 2008 special saw the Welsh contingent decamp to Essex for Christmas.

Other shows to make the top 10 include The Vicar Of Dibley, The Royle Family and The Good Life.

Responding to the poll, The Office co-creator Ricky Gervais told “The Office Christmas Specials allowed me to repay the viewing public for sitting through the bleakness and tragedy of the previous six hours of David Brent.

Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem Premiere – London
Sir David Jason starred in Only Fools And Horses, which has been named as having one of the best Christmas specials of any sitcom (Ian West/PA)

“I always intended to give him a little hope by the end and I always knew Tim and Dawn would get together.

“I was blown away at the time by how it resonated with audiences and I’m over the moon that it’s still regarded with such affection today. ‘A good idea is a good idea forever’.

“Thanks again to Radio Times readers. Merry Christmas, and live fast, die old.”

Tim Glanfield, editorial director said: “A great Christmas sitcom lives long in the memory, as our list demonstrates the best have an equal measure of humour and emotion to keep the audience thoroughly entertained, tugging on the heart-strings and providing belly-laughs.

“The Office brought these factors together in equal measure – and Gervais and (Stephen) Merchant’s brilliant work is a very worthy winner of our poll.”

The greatest Christmas sitcoms ever, according to a poll:

1. The Office Christmas Special
2. Only Fools And Horses Christmas Trilogy
3. Gavin And Stacey Christmas Special
4. The Vicar Of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident
5. The Royle Family Christmas Special
6. The Good Life: Silly but it’s Fun
7. Father Ted: A Christmassy Ted
8. The League Of Gentlemen: Yule Never Leave
9. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
10. Dinnerladies: Christmas And Minnellium
11. Merry Christmas, Mr Bean
12. Miranda: I Do But To Who?/The Final Curtain
13. Peep Show: Seasonal Beatings
14. Mrs Brown’s Boys: Mammy Christmas/The Virgin Mammy
15. Steptoe And Son: A Perfect Christmas
16. Porridge: The Desperate Hours
17. Dad’s Army: My Brother And I
18. Knowing Me, Knowing Yule — With Alan Partridge
19. Last Of The Summer Wine: Getting Sam Home
20. Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em: Jessica’s First Christmas
21. Outnumbered: The Robbers

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