Follow TV Tropes


Series / Little Britain

Go To

"Britain, Britain, Britain. Land of technological achievement. We've had running water for over ten years, an underground tunnel that links us to Peru, and we invented the cat."

Cult British Sketch Comedy show with an array of bizarre characters. Performed by Matt Lucas and David Walliams, with narration by former Doctor Who star Tom Baker. It began life as a radio series, and the TV version ran between 2003 and 2005. There was also a two-part Christmas special in 2006. A US version began broadcasting on HBO and the BBC in 2008, featuring a number of new characters along with familiar faces from the original show.

Noted for its excessive use of the Catch-Phrase and various stereotypes, most of the humour comes from running gags related to each of its many quirky characters, almost all of which are played by Lucas and Walliams in varying degrees of make-up. See the character sheet for more information.

Best-known sketches:

  • Vicky Pollard, chavvy teenage mother, is visited at home by a social worker and admits that she swapped the baby for a Westlife CD. The horrified social worker exclaims "How could you do such a thing?" and Vicky says "I know. They're rubbish!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Lou and Andy visit a swimming pool.
  • A man discovers that his mail-order Thai bride is in fact a "ladyboy".
  • Sebastian, in love with the Prime Minister of Britain (who is his boss), serenades him in the House of Commons with "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.

Features tropes galore, including:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Type A. Marjorie frequently mangles the names of people in her slimming class - Meera ("Moira", "Mary",) Dave ("Johansen") and Jenny ("Julie"). Andy has occasionally addressed Lou as "Len."
  • Actor Allusion:
    • The Narrator reminded us once that we weren't watching the real Prime Minister, but "that guy out of Buffy."
    • The Narrator also remarks once that "he had a book once. It was called "Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?""
  • Adam Westing: The Narrator occasionally hints at his true identity: "With nothing to watch but repeats on the telly of Doctor Who, Medics and that episode of Blackadder II I'm in..." The Narrator character is something of an exaggeration of Tom Baker's real-life eccentric personality (albeit as "an old fascist," according to the creators).
  • Advertisement:
  • Back for the Finale: All the students Linda insulted (even ones from deleted scenes) show up in the Series 3 finale.
  • Bland-Name Product: The "vomiting ladies" sketches received complaints from the Women's Institute, who did not want their logo associated with a character portrayed as a right-wing bigot (and her put upon friend). From then on, the characters belonged to the fictional "Women's Association".
  • Born in the Wrong Century: The transvestites attempt to dress and act as Victorian "ladies".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The narrator occasionally does this, the most notable moment being when he encourages upset viewers to write down the names on the credits as they play (even pointing out his own) and make obscene phonecalls to them, someone does.
  • British Brevity Three series and a two-part Christmas special, 22 episodes altogether.
  • British Stuffiness
  • Catch-Phrase: By the truckload. "Yeah, but, no, but ...", "I am the only gay in the village," "But I'm a lady!", "I want that one," "What a kerfuffle!", "Computer says no", "Look into my eyes ...", "Write the feem toon, sing the feem toon ...", "Bitty", "Margaret? Margaret?"
  • Camp Gay: Dafydd Thomas is a caricature of this.
  • Christmas Episode: Though it showed all the characters in foreign locations, and made no reference to Christmas.
  • Chubby Chaser: Bubbles DeVere's ex-husband Roman is one. He apparently divorced her because she lost a lot of weight, and when she gets into fights with his current wife Desiree he's often eager to watch from the sidelines.
  • Couch Gag: The Narrator's opening and closing spiels are different in every show (and in the third season, many of the opening spiels quote rap lyrics).
  • Different for Girls: Emily/Eddie Howard.
  • Disaster Dominoes
  • The Dog Bites Back: During the 2015 Comic Relief Sketch, Stephen Hawking gets fed up with two characters mistaking his disability as deafness, so he shape-shifts into a Humongous Mecha and vaporizes them.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Dennis Waterman.
  • Everyone Is Gay: Seemingly the entire population of Llandewi Breffi, much to the chagrin of Daffydd.
  • Expy: Marjorie actually originated as one of Matt Lucas's characters on Shooting Stars - she was George Dawes's mum.
  • Extreme Doormat: Lou.
  • Flanderization
  • Funny Foreigner
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: The Sir Norman Fry MP sketches from series 3 involved the aforementioned Fry meeting a group of journalists outside his house and telling them how he "accidentally" fell into other gentleman.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Dafydd will have to remind you that he's the only gay in the village. He's actually not — see Everyone Is Gay above; his village is quite literally Wales' answer to Provincetown — but don't dare tell him that. It's kind of questionable if he is gay, since he reacts with anger and disgust when men hit on him.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lou and Andy.
  • Hidden Depths: Andy makes some very poetic statements off screen.
  • I Have Brothers: Parodied in an Emily sketch.
  • Jerk Ass: Vicky, Andy, Marjorie, Sebastian and Maggie
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bubbles DeVere is a notorious gambling addict, skips on her bills, and is often enough too eager to get to know a man without any respect for his personal space. Beyond that she's fairly easygoing and amicable around everybody else.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Vicky Pollard plays the chav stereotype for laughs.
  • Manchild: Harvey Pincher, who still insists on being breastfed ('bitty') by his mother, despite being in his twenties or thirties.
  • May–December Romance: Jason and Nan
  • Namesake Gag: According to the narration, transvestism was invented by Dr. Neil Transvestite.
  • Narrator: Links together the otherwise unrelated skits... sort of.
  • Nice Guy: Lou, who is arguably the only truly nice character in the show.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Subverted with Llandewi Breffi, where Everyone Is Gay.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Quite common in the 10 Downing Street sketches, with an stand-in for Tony Blair being the most prominant, stand-ins Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown appearing a few times, and even a stand-in for John Prescott being present in the background of one episode.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Andy.
  • Odd Couple: Lou and Andy.
  • Only Sane Man: Judy, who is horrified whenever Maggie vomits.
  • Overly Long Gag: Later Mr. Mann sketches would drag on and on with the gap between "Margaret? Margaret?" and "Yes?"
  • Recycled Premise: The show has been criticized for ripping off the surreal and grotesque humour found in The League of Gentlemen, of whom Lucas and Walliams are both fans and friends. That said, League of Gentlemen member Mark Gatiss served as one of the co-writers on series 1.
  • Running Gag: Sometimes criticized as Overused Running Gag.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Daffydd simply refuses to acknowledge that Everyone Is Gay in Llandewi Breffi.
  • Shout-Out: Several to classic Doctor Who - one character was named Matthew Waterhouse (after the actor who played Adric), Andy once flew into a rage when some bullies called him Davros, and, naturally, there's a reference or two in Tom Baker's narration.
    • Godzilla and Godzooky, of all things, gets one in series 3.
  • Sound to Screen Adaptation
  • Special Guest: Included Peter Kay, Dawn French, Ruth Madoc, Nigel Havers, Kate Moss and Robbie Williams in roles on the show or in the live stage show. David Soul, Les Mackeown, Mollie Sugden, Elton John, Cat Deeley, Vanessa Feltz, Paul McKenna, George Michael, Ronnie Corbett, Jonathan Ross and Trisha Goddard have all appeared as themselves.
  • Stage Mum: Sandra Patterson, with her son Ralph being the child she wants to make famous at any cost.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sebastian.
  • Stealth Pun: Dennis Waterman's size-related gimmick may seem inexplicable until the remember the old adage: there are no small parts, only small actors - Dennis in a nutshell.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I did not steal your red dress, take it home and wear it while hoovering."
    • A large portion of what Vicky Pollard says.
  • The Unintelligible: Inverted in the Fat Fighters sketches. Meera speaks perfect English with an Indian accent, despite Marjorie pretending not to understand her.
    Marjorie: Do it again?
  • Transvestite: Emily Howard and her friend Florence.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Mr Mann, whose Pirate Memory Game (suitable for ages four to eight) is too pirate-y.
  • Visual Pun
  • The Voice: Margaret.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Maggie, the conservative old woman who vomits whenever she finds out the food she ate was made by someone not white, British, straight or just different in general — much to the horror of her friend, Judy.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In a Lou and Andy sketch.
  • Younger Than They Look: One sketch involves an elderly grandmother discussing with her grandson all the drugs she used to do back in the day, citing "we didn't know it was bad for you!" She's 28 years old.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Dennis Waterman sketches.


Example of: