Three of the funniest characters on British television

Mr. Bean. Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson). Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions

Britain is known for lots of things.

Lousy weather.

Messy politics.

A fervent love for football.

And, of course, comedy.

British humour is highly adaptable because it's diverse. It never relies on a single gimmick to catch and keep an audience's attention.

Our country's brand of comedy appeals to many different demographics. It is replete with satire, sarcasm, black humour, and of course, the ability to poke fun at our own culture.

Below is a round-up of three of the funniest British characters to appear on the box...

Mr Bean

Mr Bean. Rowan Atkinson

Mr Bean is a permanent fixture in British pop culture. His face has also sold tonnes of merchandise. These range from shirts to tumblers, to even jigsaw puzzles found online.

Portrayed by Rowan Atkinson, Bean is one of the most fabulous character creations of all time.

He hardly talks in the show, which was a smart move. This made the character accessible to several different audience ranges. There's no profanity, just good laugh-out-loud fun, which both young and old can enjoy.

The lack of dialogue made Bean a global phenomenon in fact - his slapstick humour can entertain even those who don't understand English.

Basil Fawlty

Fawlty Towers. Basil Fawlty (John Cleese). Copyright: BBC

Fawlty Towers is a series filled with classic British absurdity.

The fictional hotel in the show is set around the "English Riviera" seaside town of Torquay. It plays host to eccentric visitors and is plagued by mishaps, because of how it's managed. This potent combination made for plenty of brilliant situational comedy.

John Cleese steals the show as the clumsy, pompous manager Basil Fawlty. Basil yearns to be of a higher social class. He treats his upper-class guests, such as doctors, with unusually exemplary care.

But his short temper and snobbery are often his downfall. He also reluctantly serves customers he despises with abuse and malice.

David Brent

David Brent: Life On The Road. Image shows from L to R: David Brent (Ricky Gervais), Karen Parashar (Mandeep Dhillon)

The Office arguably started a new sub-genre of comedy. This mockumentary-style series was filmed without a laughter track underneath, something which helped amplify the awkward encounters it showed.

Ricky Gervais as David Brent is the core of all the awkwardness. Brent's overinflated sense of superiority makes him utterly blind to his own social ineptness. This led to him dishing out bad advice, unintentionally insulting his colleagues in the process.

Brent also tried his hand at many different skills. He wrote poetry, composed music, and had a faltering career as a stand-up comedian for a brief period. His charity dance - an attempt to outdo his colleague Neil - is arguably the best/worst example of dad dancing ever.


The three characters above embody British humour. From slapstick jokes to awkward encounters, their antics have stood the test of time and are sure to evoke laughter from generations to come.

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