13 British TV comedies that became movies, rated from best to worst

Absolutely Fabulous and The Office are the latest British sitcoms to have made the move from TV to film, with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and David Brent: Life on the Road arriving in cinemas this summer.

Adapting a British TV comedy for the big screen is something that’s been done many times before… with varying degrees of success.

Here’s a rundown of the best and worst since the year 2000…

 

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013)

In this cinematic outing for Steve Coogan’s alter-ego, Alan gets himself into a hostage situation and manages to find a way of using it to boost his career.

Taking such an iconic, long-running character from TV to film was always going to be risky, but Alpha Papa really pulled it off. The action-comedy film received very positive reviews, with particular praise for Coogan’s central performance.

Buy the movie on DVD on Amazon here.

 

In the Loop (2009)

This spin-off of political comedy The Thick Of It, which features many cast members from the original BBC series, centres around the run-up to war in the Middle East and satirises the UK’s relationship with the US.

It was met with well-deserved critical acclaim here, as well as across the pond, and even earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Buy the movie on DVD on Amazon here.

 

Borat (2006)

Sacha Baron Cohen took his Kazakh journalist character from Da Ali G Show to the big screen in this mockumentary, which focuses on Borat trying to understand American culture.

The bigoted, clueless Borat really brings out the worst in the Americans he encounters, who have no idea he’s just a character, to hilarious and often cringeworthy effect. Baron Cohen won several awards for his performance in what is arguably his best film to date.

Buy the movie on DVD on Amazon here.

 

The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse (2005)

In this film outing for The League of Gentlemen, the residents of Royston Vasey discover they are characters in a TV show which its writers are planning to end, so they venture into the real world to track down their creators and beg them to reconsider.

Turning a sketch show into a film was always going to be a challenge, but The League of Gentlemen did a pretty good job of it, with its rather meta premise leading to plenty of laughs (and a fair bit of drama) when its grotesque characters are let loose in the real world.

Buy the movie on DVD on Amazon here.

 

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

Channel 4’s hit sitcom about four tragically uncool teenagers ended up spawning not one but two films. In the first, the boys go on a ‘lads holiday’ to mark the end of their time at school and naturally get themselves into all sorts of embarrassing situations.

The gag-filled film was a worthy successor to the TV show, with plenty of rude humour and, surprisingly, a bit of heart too. Its follow-up The Inbetweeners 2 (2014) didn’t get quite such a positive reaction, but sill managed to serve up a decent number of laughs.

Buy the movie on DVD on Amazon here.

 

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  • Barbara Kirk

    Alpha Papa was my favourite. The Inbetweeners was okay, the Harry Hill Movie was a case of looking for other people in the cast (Julian Barratt, Matt Lucas, Sheridan Smith) that were better than the lead. The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse was all over the place and I could not be bothered with Keith Lemon or Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie! I will also never forgive Harry Enfield for throwing a tantrum because Kevin & Perry Go Large didn’t get nominated in the Oscars when Billy Elliot came away with loads of awards.