Mrs Merton’s quip to Debbie McGee is voted the funniest TV put-down of all time

April 19, 2017
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So when a TV company did a survey of the greatest putdowns from British comedy shows it was no surprise that the most acerbic remarks were also the funniest. 

Top of the list was this classic dig from the late Caroline Aherne on the Mrs Merton Show in the 1990s.

Interviewing Debbie McGee about her husband (who died last year) she asked: “But what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” 

In UKTV Play’s survey of 2,000 viewers it got 37 per cent of the vote. 

Eight out of 10 viewers said humour was more powerful than aggression. 

Here’s the rest of the top 25 put-downs… 

2 “Dear old grandad, bless him. He was about as useful as a pair of sunglasses on a bloke with one ear.” Del Boy (Only Fools And Horses) 

3 “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.” Edmund Blackadder 

4 “You stupid boy!” Captain Mainwaring (Dad’s Army) 

5 “Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your éclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn’t have time to perm your ears?” Basil to Sybil (Fawlty Towers) 

6 “I told her the only thing she looked good in was a body bag.” Patsy (Absolutely Fabulous) 

7 “Look at grandad. His brain went years ago, now his legs have gone. There’s only the middle bit of him left!” Del Boy 

8 “Don’t talk out loud, you lower the IQ of the whole street.” Sherlock Holmes 

9 “Dougal, is there anything on your mind? Let me rephrase that…” Father Ted 

10 “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.” Margaret Meldrew (One Foot In The Grave) 

11 “The eyes are open, the mouth moves but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn’t he, Percy?” Edmund Blackadder 

12 Norma: “Is this hat too far forward?” Jim: “No, we can still see your face.” The Royle Family 

13 “One more facelift on this one and she’ll have a beard.” Patsy (Absolutely Fabulous)

14 “Would it be terribly rude to stop listening to you and go and speak to somebody else?” Alan Partridge (I’m Alan Partridge) 

15 “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.” Edmund Blackadder 

16 “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.” Dowager Countess Crawley to Lady Cora about her American mother (Downton Abbey) 

17 “A few years ago I went to see King Kong at the cinema, now I’m on a date with her.” Will (The Inbetweeners)

18 “Even when we were babies I had to show you which bit of your mother was serving the drinks.” Edmund Blackadder 

19 “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.” Maurice Moss (IT Crowd) 

20 “It’s like hiring a man-eating shark as your children’s swimming instructor.” Victor Meldrew (One Foot In The Grave) 

21 “You know, you’re the classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.” The Doctor (Doctor Who) 

22 “I’d love to stop and chat to you but I’d rather have Type 2 diabetes.” Malcolm Tucker (The Thick Of It) 

23 “I’ve got three words for you: calorie controlled diet.” Nan (The Catherine Tate Show) 

24 “He’s bald. Darling, he’s got a comb-over from a nose hair.”

25 “Lynn’s a good worker but I suppose she’s a bit like Burt Reynolds. Very reliable but she’s got a moustache.” Alan Partridge



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