23. 'The Fast Show' (1994-1997)
Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson were comedians toiling away in writers' rooms when they hit upon an idea: What if someone put together a sketch show that simply knocked out as many skits and gags as quickly as humanly possible? "We thought, could you make a show that was essentially all highlights?" Higson told The Daily Mail. "The comedy equivalent of a greatest hits album." The result, aptly named The Fast Show, unleashed a rapid-fire succession of recurring characters and catchphrases ("Anyone fancy a pint?", "Does my bum look big in this?") with the Mail claiming that a typical episode averaged roughly a sketch a minute. More importantly, TFS became a bona fide pop phenomenon, unleashing as many zeitgeist-surfing lines as Saturday Night Live in its heyday — just say "Suit you, sir!" to anyone who lived in the U.K. in the mid-Nineties. Radio icon John Peel name-dropped the series on his show ad infinitum and called it "the funniest thing on TV by a mile." Johnny Depp was such a huge fan that he allegedly begged to do a guest appearance, latter saying that scoring a cameo "was absolutely one of my proudest achievements."