Fawlty Towers once again named UK's best sitcom

Daily Mail ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 April 2019, 5:27PM
The John Cleese classic Fawlty Towers has topped the poll. (Photo / Supplied)
The John Cleese classic Fawlty Towers has topped the poll. (Photo / Supplied)

There were only 12 episodes but every one was nigh-on perfect.

So much so that Fawlty Towers, the 1970s show that gave us the immortal lines "don't mention the war" and "he's from Barcelona", has been named the greatest British sitcom of all time.

The comedy, starring John Cleese and set in a seaside hotel in Torquay, pipped Father Ted and I'm Alan Partridge to be crowned the winner in a Radio Times showdown.

Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder came in fourth place, while Dad's Army, which ran for 80 episodes completes the top five.

Cleese, 79, who created the comic monster that was Basil Fawlty in the hit show, said: "I was very lucky to be working at the BBC when decisions were taken by people who had actually made programmes."

Of his fellow stars, Prunella Scales who played wife Sybil and Andrew Sachs who created hapless Spanish waiter, Manuel, Cleese said: "What a cast! I'm proud we are up there with Porridge and Only Fools and Ab Fab and Blackadder and The Office and Reggie Perrin and The Thick of It."

Fawlty Towers co-writer Connie Booth said the show was a success because "it allows infantile rage and aggression a field day in a buttoned down, well-mannered English society".

She added: "It's unique in being a farce, with all the plot surprises and precision that the style requires. And it doesn't hurt that the star of the show is a six-foot-five comic genius; if he was shorter I can't imagine how it would have worked."

Fawlty Towers was selected by a panel of experts including Richard Curtis and co-creators and writers of Porridge and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham said: "In our memories, great comedies are pearls that become more burnished and beautiful through the years. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder."


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