'Little Britain' enters record books with £3m DVD

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The Independent Online

From the "yeah but no but" of teenage tearaway Vicky Pollard to the insistence of Daffyd Thomas that he is the "only gay in the village", Little Britain has undoubtedly left its mark on the vernacular of the country it claims to portray. Now the cult series has cemented its global reputation after making it into the record books as the best-selling television comedy DVD in the world.

The character sketch show, created by Matt Lucas and David Walliams, appears in the latest 2008 edition of Guinness World Records after selling an unprecedented 645,457 copies of their first two series between March 2006 and March 2007. The DVDs have made an impressive revenue of almost £3m.

The show has previously come under criticism for its stereotyping of the downtrodden in society. Characters such as teenage mum Vicky Pollard, and the gay Welshman, Daffyd Thomas, have provoked outcry and enthusiasm in equal measure.

Next year, the comedy will be crossing the Atlantic, as a new series is filmed to cater to an American audience. Walliams and Lucas have created 10 new characters for the venture but they recently announced they would not be making any more episodes for the British market.

It has been a good year for British comedians, as Ali G creator Sasha Baron Cohen broke the record for highest grossing mockumentary, with his film Borat. The spoof documentary, following the escapades of a fictitious Kazakh reporter was an unexpected hit in the States and grossed $157,470,996 worldwide.

The home-grown classic drama Doctor Who has also been breaking records this year, becoming the longest-running science fiction show on television. Ten doctors have starred in 749 episodes to date, with the Scottish actor David Tennant currently starring as the time traveller.

British film actors were also hits in this year's record book. The Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson obtained the record for the highest box office gross per movie which brought in a staggering average of £143.5m each.

Another Briton, the Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson beat Donald Trump to the title of richest reality TV host. Branson, who regularly appeared on the show The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best, has an estimated wealth of £1.9bn.

While the viewing figures for Branson's reality television show were nowhere as impressive as his bank balance, the American drama Desperate Housewives has cemented its global appeal by making it to the top spot as the best-selling TV drama in the world. In 2005, the series was number one in the UK, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore and Germany, and is now broadcast in 203 countries.

The series has finally ousted Baywatch from the top position as most-licensed drama worldwide, while the most popular television show in terms of viewing figures goes to CSI Miami.

The book includes classic records, such as a new contender for the world's tallest living man, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk, who is 8 ft 5.5ins. The oldest living person has also changed, with the Japanese woman Yone Minagawa taking the top spot aged 114.

The Guinness blockbusters

Little Britain

The Walliams and Lucas show is the best-selling TV comedy series on DVD, after 645,457 copies were sold in a year.

Casino Royale

Daniel Craig's Bond debut defeated all previous incarnations of 007 at the box office, after grossing $587,607,184 worldwide. Craig, pictured, was also the first Bond to receive a best actor nomination at the Oscar ceremony.

Borat

Rather aptly for the gross-out Kazakh reporter, his big screen debut was the highest grossing mockumentary, taking $157,470,996 at the box office.

CSI Miami

The American crime show was top in a survey of 20 countries' total viewing figures, and became the most popular TV show in the world.

Desperate Housewives

The salacious tales of the Wisteria Lane housewives has become the best-selling television drama, after being licensed in 203 different countries. Previously the most licensed drama was the beach-based Baywatch.

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