Hello to you and thanks for joining: the top 10 ‘such fun’ episodes of Miranda

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Well, a hearty good evening to you my dear blog reading chums. Now come along please, settle. That’s it. And let us get you up to speed. Previously in our lives, 10 years ago, in 2009, the news was full of economic doom and gloom, dark intense crime dramas were becoming all the rage, and Susan Boyle mania on that year’s Britain’s Got Talent struck. But something was – good word this – amiss. Amiss. Amiss. We’ve said it too much and it sounds weird.

Chiefly, a sitcom. A proper half an hour what-we-call bucket o’laughs (with actual audience laughter) and characters and situations you could really get invested in. And most importantly, not a sitcom that was ashamed to be a sitcom (here’s looking at you, Ricky Gervais and co). Enter Miranda Hart. Having made her way up the comedic pecking order with cameo or supporting roles on shows like Smack the Pony and Not Going Out, and stints at the Edinburgh Festival, in 2009, her eponymous sitcom called Miranda – funny, that – was commissioned for a six episode series playing a fictionalised version of herself in a joke shop after it had initially been trialled in a shorter radio version for BBC Radio 2.

Debuting – another good word, that – on BBC Two exactly 10 years ago this week, it was an instant smash hit with audiences, and over the next five years, two more series (including a promotion to BBC One), a couple of Comic Relief specials, a sold out stand up arena tour and a host of Royal Television Society and British Comedy Awards came her way, before she bade farewell to us, her little viewing chums, with two finale specials in 2014.

But rejoice! For after five years away from her sitcom roots, Miranda is getting the gang back together – Stevie, Gary, Penny, Tilly, Clive – for a special 10th anniversary celebration show at the London Palladium to be screened on BBC One this Christmas. So we felt the time was right for us to sit down and compile what we feel are the 10 best episodes ever of Miranda to celebrate. So – as the lady herself might say – let’s speak no more of and crack on with the show….

10. WHAT A DOG (Series 1, Episode 6)

The closing episode of the first series, in which we get to witness firsthand the development of Miranda’s sisterly bond – and rivalry – with her Heather Small impersonating joke shop colleague Stevie (Sarah Hadland), as a handsome customer called Robert Husband (‘It’s a sign’) leaves his wallet behind in the shop. Cue them getting disproportionately sized dogs to compete for his affections. Although Miranda’s attention is switched before too long, when her old uni beau and chef at the restaurant next door, Gary (Tom Ellis) announces he’s off to Hong Kong for a few months, leaving her with an important decision to make on her feelings for him…

9. BEFORE I DIE (Series 2, Episode 2)

Aka the ‘Miranda falls in an open grave’ episode to everybody else. When an uncle of Miranda’s dies, and the council suddenly starts sending her Meals on Wheels (‘like little Yorkshire puddings on roller skates’) as the result of a botched council tax form, it gives her the opportunity to reassess the direction her life is heading in so she has the perfect eulogy at its end. But this then leads to her being made godmother to the unborn baby of Chris and Alison, Gary’s OTT friends from the restaurant, and even being caught reading Mein Kampf to children at the library can’t reverse their decision…

8. IN THE MOOD (Series 1, Episode 2)

And speaking of Chris and Alison, this was our first encounter with them, when Gary mentions to Miranda they proposed to each other in Paris after agreeing to be ‘safety husband and wife’. A similar proposal between them is tentatively agreed on for when they’re 40 – which then prompts Miranda to try and pursue a desperate campaign of ‘wooing’ so Gary sees her in a romantic light, only to end up at a French class given by her old school teacher Mr Clayton (guest star Peter Davison), who in turn ends up at her flat in his pants after Stevie pulls him, and then being tangoed out of a dance class by a scary looking teacher…

7. JE REGRET NOTHING (Series 3, Episode 4)

Into the final series we go next. Sofa-bed stricken mum Penny (Patricia Hodge) has been at Miranda’s for four very long days, to the point she’s now at the plotting-her-death stage. Worried that she’s turning into her mum more by the second, she once again contemplates her life regrets before ending up bed bound with the flu herself, whilst Gary goes on about another dance class, boarding school frenemy Tilly (Sally Phillips) becomes a life coach after going to Shropshire for a weekend (even though she doesn’t know where that is), and Stevie attempts a deep clean ritual of the flat…

6. WHAT A SURPRISE (Series 3, Episode 2)

When Miranda and Stevie are dragged out clubbing by Tilly for fear that they spend their Friday nights in their 30s doing some sort of curry exam, and with Gary dating insufferable new girlfriend Rose (recurring guest star Naomi Bentley), Miranda bumps into Mike Jackford (recurring guest star Bo Poraj), the dishy journalist she met the episode before, and they proceed to go on a series of dates initiated by an unfortunately timed series of fancy dress costumes, including a police officer (for which she’s arrested for impersonating in public) and a fairy princess (or ‘Slutty moth’ as Stevie calls it)…

5. LET’S DO IT (Series 2, Episode 3)

Tilly is getting married to army doctor Rupert (‘Oh please, call me the Bear – GRRR!’), who immediately starts hitting on Miranda, as indeed does crisp loving ‘Dreamboat’ Charlie (recurring guest star Adrian Scarborough), as Penny pursues another relentless round of match making against Miranda’s will before Tilly’s big day. And into the mix of all this, she goes on her first proper date with Gary after an intervention from Stevie and catty restaurant owner Clive (James Holmes) – but their attempts to get *mouths quietly* sexual end in disaster…

4. THREE LITTLE WORDS (Series 3, Episode 5)

Not able to bring herself to say ‘I love you’ back to her current boyfriend Mike, Miranda realises more than ever that she is deeply in love with Gary. But attempts to say this to him are constantly thwarted – and certainly not helped by the reappearance of the ‘We don’t know’ customer (recurring guest star Dominic Coleman) whilst Stevie is workshopping as a ‘metaphorical prune’ for Miranda’s ’emotional constipation’. N.B This is also the episode where Penny stalks Raymond Blanc and Miranda ends up snogging actual Gary Barlow to spite Stevie…

3. THE DINNER PARTY (Series 3, Episode 3)

Now officially dating Mike, and following a washing machine breakdown that means she’s reduced to wearing an elasticated culotte with no pants (‘Because I’m a PE teacher from 1987’), Miranda is challenged by a (admittedly jealous) Stevie to host a dinner party, with Bublé on the stereo and cocktail sausages after suggesting she’s not ready to be an adult. But when her salmon terrine ends up being bought from M&S and Mike’s haughty toupee toting dad Valerie turns out to be the osteopath she farted and blew out the candle of, it proves harder going than she first imagined…

2. JUST ACT NORMAL (Series 2, Episode 5)

It was a tough one to decide this. Just missing out on our top spot is Miranda at her comedic peak of potency as a writer and performer, in a ‘bottle’ episode taking place entirely in a therapist’s office, after her and Penny are referred there following a mix up with the police, some school children and an ice cream van. Along the way, she ends up wearing a silk throw as a sarong, drinking from a briefcase, and declaring that her two favourite words are a ‘moist plinth’. Aah lovely…

Some honourable mentions before we reveal our all time favourite episode…

But now without any ado, our all time favourite Miranda episode is…

1. MUM’S THE WORD (Series 1, Episode 4)

For us, no other episode better encapsulates the zany, laugh out loud charm of the series quite like this one. After announcing she’s going to book a spontaneous break to Thailand following external pressure and mocking regarding her ‘wild and reckless’ quotient, Miranda secretly books a break at The Hamilton Lodge – five minutes down the road from her – instead, and from there, a three day adventure begins where she discovers the joys of hotel room coffee sachets and trouser presses, mistakenly books an escort (Clive), and finds herself leading a business seminar with a thick Yorkshire accent…

The complete boxset of Miranda is available for UK viewers to watch on BBC iPlayer or Netflix, and for our international readers on Hulu or BritBox. Miranda’s 10th anniversary special will be broadcast on BBC One this Christmas. Twitter: @mermhart

Are you a fan of Miranda? Do you agree with our choices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or Tweet us using the hashtag #CrazyStupidSuchFun.

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