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Boris Johnson up a zip wire, today
Boris Johnson up a zip wire, earlier this year

Note: As with all of our ‘greatest’ lists, the greatness of these videos is not open to debate. They are great on a scale that has yet to be accurately measured by science, even if some of them are a little NSFW. But if you have suggestions for greater British viral videos, do pop them in the comments box for further assessement.

Let’s start with the London Olympics: an especially fertile ground for virals, whether they’re specially-made creations like the first couple here, or simply fantastic news events, like the third:

Sir Patrick Stewart: Ticket Scalper, by Funny Or Die

This went up before Danny Boyle took British cynicism about the Olympics and made it vanish in a puff of magic, but it’s still great.

Brick by Brick: Women’s Fencing Semi-Final. by TheGuardian

A deviously simple idea. Take an emotional sporting event (such as the moment in the épée between South Korea’s Shin Lam and Germany’s Britta Heidemann when, with less than a second left on the clock, Britta suddenly scored the winning hit. A crushed Shin refused to leave the stage) and recreate it in Lego with the original commentary. The stormtrooper helmets are especially inspired.

Boris Johnson’s Zip Wire Adventure, by itnnews

In which the Mayor of London takes a trip, finds himself high and dry, but still comes out smiling.

Simon’s Cat by simonscat

Can you imagine a world in which all the cats on the internet were removed in some kind of overnight cull? Google shares would go down faster than a lead feather. Thankfully the animated adventures of Simon’s Cat are on hand to save the day.

Kristen Stewart Cheating On Robert Pattinson, by purpurdiamond

Laugh all you want, cite “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” and write hurtful comments on her YouTube page, there is not one of you (or, in fact, us) that would not LOVE to feel something as deeply and powerfully as this lady does about the breakup of her favorite cinematic couple. And if we did, there would definitely be someone on hand to tell us we’re idiots for caring as much as we do. That’s simply what the internet is like.

My Very Interesting Ride Home, by Tunde Osundina

Train buskers are, in the main, frustrating travelling companions. This fella is no exception, and sweary with it, but kind of charming too.

My Manor’s Law, by Prince Barrie

A comedic riposte to Plan B’s “Ill Manors,” that can sometimes seem funny, and other times – say, after a budget announcement – not funny at all.

Brighton Christmas Lights, by The Poke

Sadly this isn’t a real thing, but imagining that it is has been one of the first wonders of the festive season.

One Pound Fish, by OnePoundFishManTV

The story goes like this: in a London fish market, a fishmonger invents a song to get the attention of passing customers. This works so well he develops something of a following, and then someone decides to make a video, and then, because of his ethnic origin, they decide to make it a full Bollywood-style production.

But the outright winner, with over 3 million views, is this charming tale of one boy and his obedient doggy pal, uploaded by Julian Burrett:

Naturally there’s a comment underneath it that says “It’s a kid with a dog. Get a grip.”

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By Fraser McAlpine