Mrs Merton has topped the poll for greatest put down from a British TV comedy show in a survey marking the launch of all four series of Blackadder on UKTV Play. Basil Fawlty, Del Boy and Patsy Stone also placed high up in the poll and Sherlock Holmes, Father Ted and The Inbetweeners also got a nod.
But it was the brazen put-down from Mrs Merton, played by Caroline Aherne, directed at Debbie McGee that won 37% of the vote: “But what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”
Notorious for his disparaging style, naturally Edmund Blackadder received 31% of the vote with: “Your brain, for example, is so minute Baldrick, that if a hungry cannibal cracked your head open, there wouldn’t be enough to cover a small water biscuit.” Patsy Stone’s “I told her the only thing she looked good in was a body bag” won her sixth place.
These cunningly crafted put downs helped cement Blackadder as the king of snubs, securing the show’s character four spots in the top 20. Del Boy (32%), Captain Mainwaring (29%) and Basil Fawlty (28%) also feature highly with their carefully crafted pithy put downs while Ab Fab’s witty wordsmith Patsy Stone came in sixth (26%). One Foot in the Grave’s Margaret Meldrew rounded up the top 10 with a cheeky swipe at her husband Victor taking 21% of the vote.
Top 20 put downs from British TV shows are as follows:
- Mrs Merton, to Debbie McGee (The Mrs Merton Show): “But what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” (37%)
- Del Boy (Only Fools and Horses): “Dear old grandad, bless him. He was about as useful as a pair of sunglasses on a bloke with one ear” (32%)
- Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder): “Your brain, for example, is so minute Baldrick, that if a hungry cannibal cracked your head open, there wouldn’t be enough to cover a small water biscuit.” (31%)
- Captain Mainwaring (Dad’s Army): “You stupid boy!” (29%)
- Basil Fawlty (Fawlty Towers): “Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in youréclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn’t have time to perm your ears?” (28%) – also available on UKTV Play
- Patsy Stone (Absolutely Fabulous): “I told her the only thing she looked good in was a body bag” (26%)
- Del Boy (Only Fools and Horses): “Look at grandad. His brain went years ago, now his legs have gone. There’s only the middle bit of him left!” (24%)
- Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock): “Don’t talk out loud, you lower the IQ of the whole street” (23%)
- Father Ted (Father Ted): “Dougal, is there anything on your mind? Let me rephrase that…” (23%)
- Margaret Meldrew (One Foot in the Grave): [On Victor] “He’s the most sensitive person I’ve ever met, and that’s why I love him and why I constantly want to ram his head through a television screen.” (21%)
- Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder): “The eyes are open, the mouth moves but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn’t he, Percy?” (19%)
- Jim Royle (The Royle Family): Norma: “Is this hat too far forward? Jim: “No, we can still see your face” (17%)
- Patsy Stone (Absolutely Fabulous): “One more facelift on this one and she’ll have a beard” (17%)
- Alan Partridge (I’m Alan Partridge): “Would it be terribly rude to stop listening to you and go and speak to somebody else?” (16%)
- Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder): “Right, now; the sort of person we’re looking for is an aggressive drunken lout with the intelligence of a four year old and the sexual sophistication of a donkey” (13%)
- Violet Crawley (Downton Abbey): [To Lady Cora about her American mother] “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English” (10%)
- Will (The Inbetweeners): “A few years ago I went to see King Kong at the cinema, now I’m on a date with her” (9%)
- Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder): “Even when we were babies, I had to show you which bit of your mother was serving the drinks” (8%)
- Maurice Moss (IT Crowd): “I can see why she’s divorced, she’s very divorceable. As soon as you meet her you can’t wait to take her to court to get rid of her” (8%)
- Victor Meldrew (One Foot in the Grave): “It’s like hiring a man-eating a shark as your children’s swimming instructor” (7%) – also available on UKTV Play
Sixty-six percent of those surveyed thought that sharp tongued one-liners are something Brits have mastered, while 80% also felt that humour was more important than aggression when it comes to crafting the perfect put-down.
To celebrate Blackadder Season on UKTV Play, fans can create their own Blackadder-inspired put downs with the ‘Blackadder Insults Generator’ – www.blackadderinsults.co.uk