British TV's greatest double acts

Blog > Flashback
7 Oct • 6 min read

There’s some people you just can’t imagine appearing on telly alone. We know the second you read this blog title your brain will immediately have drifted to your favourite pair.

We wanted to take some time to honour what makes each of these double acts so special and why they’d never achieve the same success working alone. We also took the tough decision to exclude some people who went on to achieve success alone - while Reeves + Mortimer might be your favourite double act, we’d argue Bob Mortimer is now more famous for his solo career and so the pair miss out on our top 5.

Morecambe & Wise

Arguably the UK’s most famous comedy act of all time and certainly the most loved - Morecambe andWise helped define the role of the comic duo in modern entertainment. The secret to their success? On first glance you’d say it’s because both knew their respective roles - Ernie Wise the quintessential straight man and Eric Morecamble the unpredictable genius. But they both had depths beyond this first impression and that’s what made the partnership sing. Ernie was a comic genius in his own right, while Eric was far more savvy than his on-screen persona sometimes suggested. They were a true partnership of equals - able to achieve far more together than they ever could alone.

Patsy & Eddie

Some of you may think this one is a cheat - after all Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are definitely famous in their own right. But you’ll have to forgive us. As a set of comic creations, no one and we mean no one rivals the sheer, glorious hideousness of Patsy & Eddie. And more importantly, they are completely co-dependent - both in the show and as characters - we wouldn’t watch an Ab Fab which only starred one of them and we bet you wouldn’t either. What makes them such a great double act? It’s their ability to relentlessly steal the spotlight from each other, while simultaneously egging their friend onto ever more disastrous decisions. Quite simply, they can’t live without each other.

The Chuckle Brothers

To me. To You. The whole essence of their double act summed up in 4 simple words. Can you ever remember seeing them on telly apart? We can’t. They made us howl with laughter whenever we saw them on screen - from their tandem bike through to their seeming inability to carry out even the simplest task. And like any real life set of brothers they spent as much time arguing as they did getting on - but that only made us love them all the more.

Trinny & Susannah

You know you’re a double act when you share a Wikipedia page - and there’s no TV fashion duo who are more iconic than Trinny & Susannah. Having started their careers as fashion columnists, we know and love them for helping the British public escape fashion faux pas’ in the classic series What Not To Wear. The strength of their pairing comes from the differences - the pair infamously disliked each other when they first met - with words like Eurotrash and stuck-up being bandied around. The dislike may have disappeared over the years, but the honesty never did - who can forget the way they poked and prodded at the bodies of the people they were helping or their blunt honesty when it came to assessing outfits?

Ant & Dec

You thought we’d forgotten them didn’t you? The truth is there’s no way we could leave them off this list - they are without a doubt the most committed double act of the 21st century. From always standing on the same side, to a weird feeling of loss when one of them is absent from our screens, we know this is the double act which will still be referenced in 50 years time as most people’s favourite. Why? Because you simply can’t imagine one without the other - their very personality is built on being one half of a pair.

And there we have it - our favourite TV double acts. All of them brilliant - all of them completely different. Have we got our list spot on or are we missing someone obvious? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or if you have more to say, email us - we'd love to hear from you!