Best BBC comedies — all the funniest shows to stream now on iPlayer

Best BBC comedies includes The Vicar of Dibley.
The best BBC comedies to stream on iPlayer includes the iconic Vicar of Dibley. (Image credit: Getty)

If you're in need of a good laugh, then look no further than the best BBC comedies currently streaming on BBC iPlayer

Whether you're a fan of standup, enjoy hilarious sketch shows, or if comedy drama is more your thing, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Here is our round up of the best BBC comedies available, how many series there are and how long each episode lasts. 

Also, don't miss our best BBC dramas, best CBBC shows for kids, best BBC podcasts  and best BBC documentaries guides as well! 

What are the best BBC comedies available to stream on BBC iPlayer right now?

Inside No.9

Inside No 9

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are the series creators behind comedy Inside No.9.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Inside No.9 is an anthology of dark and twisted stand-alone comedy stories written by series creators Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith. Each episode features an array of familiar faces from our TV screens and sees a hugely funny story unfolding, each taking place behind a door marked 'number 9'. Season 6  just finished airing on BBC One.

Number of seasons: 6

Number of episodes: 37

Average episode length: 29 minutes 

The Royle Family 

The Royle Family cast including Caroline Aherne.

The Royle Family is still as popular now as when it started back in 1998.  (Image credit: BBC)

This brilliant sitcom follows the lives of TV-fixated, Manchester-based family, the Royles, as they go about their every day lives. The show, which is mainly based in the family's living room, ran for three series between 1998 and 2000 and earned a huge following of fans. 

The Royle Family stars Ricky Tomlinson as lazy Jim, Sue Johnson as his long-suffering wife, Barbara, and Ralf Little as their son Antony. Their daughter Denise is played by the late Caroline Aherne, and her husband, David, is played by Craig Cash. 

Number of seasons: 3

Number of episodes: 26

Average episode length: 29 minutes 

Not Going Out 

Not Going Out man cast from series 11.

Not Going Out is so popular it has run for 11 series on the BBC.  (Image credit: BBC)

Not Going Out has been a top comedy-drama on BBC2 since it launched in 2006 and is now in its eleventh successful series. The series focuses on all the comedy mishaps and challenges that suburban life throws at them. 

Series one centres on Lee Mack, with the comedian playing a fictionalised version of himself. Lee is an unambitious man in his late 30s living as a lodger in a flat in London's Docklands region. 

Fast forward to series 11 and Lee is now married to Lucy, played by Sally Bretton, and the couple now live in Walton-on-Thames with their three children, Charlie, Benji and Molly. It's a classic family

Number of seasons: 11

Number of episodes: 86

Average episode length: 29 minutes 


Imagine if one day you're just working in your usual office job, when suddenly you find a magical amulet which magically transports you to a parallel universe when you put it on. That's what happens to Brian, but that's just the start of his troubles when he then discovers he can't find a way to get home from Munty, the fantasy realm he finds himself in. 

Inbetweeners' star James Buckley stars in this brilliantly refreshing comedy-drama, now in its third series. 

Number of seasons: 3

Number of episodes: 15

Average episode length: 30 minutes 

The Vicar of Dibley 

The Vicar of Dibley has become one of the crown jewels in the BBC comedy line-up and has been a firm favourite since it arrived back in 1994.

The first episode sees the bonkers residents of a little village called Dibley welcoming a new vicar, who to their surprise, happens to be a woman. Despite their hostility, Geraldine Granger, played by the brilliant Dawn French, manages to befriend each and every one of them, often getting them out of scrapes at eventful parish council meetings. 

The show has seen some very famous faces making guest appearances over the years including Kylie Minogue, Terry Wogan, Sean Bean, Hugh Bonneville, Mel Giedroyc, and Alistair McGowan.

With Christmas specials and a series of lockdown mini-episodes from 2020, there's plenty on iPlayer for Vicar of Dibley fans!

Number of seasons: 3, plus various Christmas specials 

Number of episodes: 24

Average episode length: 29 minutes

Live from the BBC

Live from the BBC showcases some of the best new talent emerging on the comedy circuit, with each episode featuring two fresh faces from the world of standup. The three series all are filmed in the iconic Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House, and each episode introduces viewers to some of best stand-up comics in the business right now!

Number of seasons: 3

Number of episodes: 18

Average episode length: 28 minutes

Mrs Brown's Boys

Mrs Brown's Boys star Agnes.

Mrs Brown's Boys has become a national favourite.  (Image credit: Getty)

There is no escaping the runaway success of Mrs Brown's Boys. Not only have there been three hugely successful series of the comedy, starring Brendan O'Carroll as loud-mouthed Irish matriarch Agnes Brown, but there are also Christmas and New Year specials dating back to 2012. Expect slapstick comedy and hilarious antics from Agnes as she meddles in the lives of her six children. 

Number of seasons: 3, plus various festive specials

Number of episodes: 38

Average episode length: 29 minutes

Gavin and Stacey 

Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones from Gavin and Stacey.

Gavin and Stacey has become one of the UK's best-loved comedy series.  (Image credit: Getty)

When Essex boy Gavin falls in love with Welsh-born Stacey, their worlds are turned upside down as they try to make their budding long-distance relationship work. Watch as the pair embark on a new chapter in their lives and bring their hilarious friends and families along for the ride. 

Starring Matthew Horne as Gavin, Joanna Page as Stacey, and a star-studded supporting cast including James Corden, Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon and Alison Steadman. 

Number of seasons: 3

Number of episodes: 21

Average episode length: 29 minutes

How to watch the best BBC comedies online anywhere in the world

There is a handy way to watch your favourite TV shows from wherever you are in the world, and it is called VPN.

This lets you get around the usual digital barriers by changing your IP address, meaning you can watch your favourite TV shows even if you’re away from home.

But which VPN will suit your needs best?

Our favourite is ExpressVPN, which lets you change your IP address on whichever device you want to watch your new favourite TV show on.

From laptops to a Smart TV, Amazon Fire Stick and games consoles to a mobile phone, you can change the address to make your device think it is in a different location.

ExpressVPN is one of the best out there. Not only because it is straightforward and easy to use, but it also has great security and, best of all, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

This is the number one rated VPN in the world right now and as well as trying it out for free for a month, if you sign up for an annual plan you can get 3 months absolutely free!


This outrageously funny, award-winning show written by Phoebe Walter-Bridge is based on her one-woman stage show and sees her playing the titular role. 

Fleabag is a free-spirited, angry, outspoken and confused young woman who lives in London, but the genius of the comedy-drama comes when she launches into her internal monologues. These little speeches give us so much insight into what's going on inside her head as she wrestles with crushes and family problems. Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman also star.

Number of seasons: 2

Number of episodes: 12

Average episode length: 26 minutes


Ghosts main characters.

Ghosts is like Horrible Histories for grown ups.  (Image credit: BBC)

Ghosts, which has been a huge hit on the BBC, follows young couple Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike as they try and live in a grand house packed full of troublesome ghosts. 

The cash-strapped pair inherits a rundown country mansion that's full of needy ghosts that only Alison can see, and the silly spirits do their best not to get in the way of the living couple as they try to transform their new home. Created by the team behind Horrible Histories, this is a comedy not to be missed. 

Number of seasons: 2, and a Christmas special

Number of episodes: 13

Average episode length: 29 minutes


Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Staged.

David and Michael came up with the concept of Staged during lockdown in spring 2020. (Image credit: BBC)

This comedy genius, created in lockdown, comes from David Tennant and Michael Sheen, who star as exaggerated versions of themselves. Each episode sees the two actors bickering online as they try and make a drama out of a crisis and navigate their way through working from home during a pandemic.  Staged is a creative way of making light of lockdown and is an easy watch if you just need a quick laugh!

Number of seasons: 2

Number of episodes: 14

Average episode length: 15 minutes


Famalam main cast.

Famalam is a new addition to the BBC's comedy offerings.  (Image credit: BBC)

Famalam is a new sketch comedy show starring black British talent front and centre. It sees an array of oddball characters get themselves into bonkers situations. From misunderstood superheroes and the Nigerian prince that no one emails back, to Croydon's leading witch-doctor and the rudest version of Midsomer Murders you'll ever watch, this razor-sharp show has it all!

Number of seasons: 3

Number of episodes: 15

Average episode length: 22 minutes


Rose Matafeo in Starstruck

Starstruck is a new milennial comedy series starring Rose Matafeo. (Image credit: BBC)

Stand-up comedian Rose Matafeo wrote and stars in Starstruck, a series that follows 20-something New Zealander Jessie currently living in Hackney. Jessie is juggling jobs in a cinema and as a nanny when her life is changed by the revelation that she slept with an incredibly famous film star on New Year's Eve. It's a refreshing, fast-paced comedy that's not to be missed!

Starstruck was renewed for a second series before the first one aired, and it became the best performing new comedy of the year when it released earlier in 2021!

Number of seasons: 1

Number of episodes: 6

Average episode length: 22 mins

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Will Smith starred in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' a sitcom running six seasons on NBC.

All six seasons of this classic American sitcom are now available on BBC iPlayer. (Image credit: NBC)

That's right, you can re-live this 90s classic on BBC iPlayer! In January, the BBC added every single episode (and the emotional reunion special) of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to their streaming service. 

Will Smith stars as a teenager who gets sent to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle, where he causes chaos for Uncle Phil, Aunt Vivian and his cousins Carlton and Ashley.

When If you fancy watching Will get up to mischief (or just want to listen to that iconic theme song), you know where to go!

Number of seasons: 6

Number of episodes: 148, plus the reunion special

Average episode length: 23 minutes

What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows season 2

What We Do In The Shadows is a wickedly silly comedy series. (Image credit: BBC)

Based on Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's mockumentary of the same name, What We Do in the Shadows is a brilliant comedy series that sees Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Kayvan Novak as three vampires who've been living together in Staten Island in New York City for hundreds of years.

Each episode sees a documentary team following the vampires around as they get up to all kinds of mischief whilst struggling to exist in the modern world and causing problems for other, more powerful vampires from around the world.

Series three is on its way soon, so now's is a perfect time to get your teeth into this vampire comedy!

Number of seasons: 2

Number of episodes: 20

Average episode length: 22 minutes

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.