Nationwide Vehicle Contracts takes a look at some of the most iconic cars used in UK sitcoms.
Everybody loves watching a sitcom, and here in the UK, we’ve been treated to some of the funniest around. One reason for this is because of the use of iconic extras in these shows, many of which took the form of cars.
From the Reliant Regal driven by the Trotter Brothers or Mr Bean’s Leyland Mini 1000 Mark IV, cars in UK sitcoms were written into the shows brilliantly, leading to some hilarious scenes and the cars becoming fan favourites.
In this blog, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts highlights some of the cars used in UK sitcoms that brought us so much laughter over the years.
Reliant Regal – Only Fools and Horses
When you think of an iconic car to feature in a UK sitcom, the first car that springs to mind is Del Boy’s and Rodney’s Reliant Regal. The focal point of many a gag throughout the show, the three-wheeled Reliant Regal was relatable to many working-class fans who religiously watched Only Fools and Horses.
How could you forget the scene where Del and Rodney sell their watch and celebrate their winnings in the car, or when it breaks down and Batman and Robin have to run to their supposed fancy dress party!
Austin 1100 Countryman – Fawlty Tower’s
If life couldn’t get any more stressful for Basil Fawlty, his unreliable Austin 1100 Countryman always made things worse. Although it didn’t appear all too often, the Austin 1100 Countryman became a fan-favourite when it failed to start and led Basil Fawlty to attack it with a branch!
Again, while it was hilarious for viewers, it was also relatable, with Austin cars developing somewhat of a reputation for unreliability in the 1970s.
Ford Granada – The Sweeney
Although more of a drama than a sitcom, how could we exclude the iconic Ford Granada driven by Jack Regan in The Sweeney? Almost every episode of the show included a car chase, and as always, Regan would always get the better of the bad guys in his Ford Granada.
Imagine being chased in a Ford Granada and hearing the famous words, “You’re nicked, Son”. Iconic!
Peugeot 306 – Gavin and Stacey
How could Gavin balance his long-distance relationship with Stacey without his ever-reliable Peugeot 306? Many a cinematic scene was included in the series, with Gavin driving on the M4 in his Peugeot 306 from Billericay to Barry Island.
The car also represented the growing popularity of small and affordable hatchbacks with young motorists in the mid-2000s. Cars such as the Peugeot 306 took the roads by storm and have been ever-present in Britain ever since.
Also, we have to talk about Smithy’s iconic Volvo 850S Estate. Helping Smithy get from A to B, the car was home to the iconic scene of Gavin and Smithy singing ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, the predecessor to James Cordon’s famous carpool karaoke.
Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii – The Inbetweeners
The Inbetweeners was the go-to sitcom for British teens in the late-2000s, and Simon’s yellow Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii was a hilarious adage to the show. Appearing after Simon passed his driving test, the car was seen throughout the show as the main mode of transport for the group.
From being trashed at Thorpe Park to being clamped in London, and finally being rolled into a lake during the last episode, Simon’s Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii was a great representation of what driving was like when you were 17 years old.
Leyland Mini 1000 Mark IV – Mr. Bean
Everyone who’s watched Mr Bean knows his iconic Leyland Mini 1000 Mark IV. Coming with a yellowy-green paint job, the Mini featured throughout the series helping Mr Bean to get up to all sorts of comedic nonsense.
It’s best known for the hilarious scene when Mr Bean drives the car back from the furniture shop while sitting on his newly bought armchair attached to the roof!
There’s no denying that cars can add so much humour to a sitcom if they're cleverly written into the script. They give the producers a different setting for the cast, meaning they can travel around and are not static to one location.
For the future of cars and sitcoms, I’d expect to see the inclusion of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles. The possibilities would be endless in terms of jokes, allowing the cast to concentrate on other things rather than driving.