Shropshire Star

The Big Debate: Who is the greatest sitcom character of all?

Who is the king or queen of sitcom characters? Heather Large and Matt Panter argue it out...

Del Boy (David Jason)

Matt Panter: Del Boy is simply 'triffic'

Plonker. It is among the insults in danger of dying out within a generation, according to a recent survey.

But thanks to the greatest comedy character of all time, Del Boy and his cussing of brother Rodney – you plonker! – it’s unlikely to ever disappear entirely.

Choosing the greatest comedy character takes some doing. Basil Fawlty, Victor Meldrew, Jim and Barbara Royle, David Brent, Brian Potter and Edmund Blackadder would all be in my top ten and that’s before you even consider any US comedies. But David Jason’s Del Boy will always top my personal poll. There are his classic scenes like falling through the bar and he’s ‘triffic’ at delivering one-liners. You can’t help but laugh at his muddled-up French and sayings like ‘He who dares wins’, ‘Cushty’, ‘Lovely Jubbly’ and ‘You know it makes sense’.

He’s the kind of guy you root for – a man with a dream: ‘This time next year, we’ll be millionaires’ and he is surrounded by a tremendous support cast – Rodney, Trigger, Boycie, Marlene, Raquel, Denzel, Cassandra, landlord Mike, Grandad, Uncle Albert etc. Most of all, he’s someone who makes you cry with laughter and sadness, delivering emotion such as the death of Grandad and looking up to the sky to show newborn Damien to his departed mum. That ability to switch from laughter to sadness and back again is something Del Boy is a master at.

Heather Large: Bren gets my vote

Slightly scatterbrained but with a warm heart, Bren in Dinnerladies, played by Victoria Wood, has to be my favourite comedy character. It’s hard not to like a woman who does her best to help her colleagues and friends and always tries to keep everyone’s morale up despite all of the craziness going on around her.

The classic BBC sitcom, written and co-produced by Victoria, was based around the lives of the staff of the canteen at Manchester factory.

Bren, who was deputy manger, would often mix up her words, often coming out with something completely unrelated to the word she was struggling to remember. It was clever and funny.

The whole cast seemed to spark off each other and it wasn’t just Bren creating all the laughs. Jean, played by Anne Reid, also had some great one-liners as did Celia Imrie’s Philippa and Thelma Barlow’s Dolly.

The latter was particularly amusing, after watching her for years in Coronation Street playing quite a different character.

What was great about Dinnerladies was it’s ability to mix comedy and more serious subjects in a sensitive and touching way.

There were many times when serious storylines were handed with much care such as Anita (Shobna Gulati) secretly giving birth and leaving her baby for Bren to take care of before changing her mind.

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