Classics take top TV honours

TV CLASSICS like The Morecambe And Wise Show, All Creatures Great And Small and Only Fools And Horses top a list of all-time television favourites, according to a viewers' survey released today.

Bruce Forsyth, who was awarded an OBE earlier this year, was named the nation's top entertainer by the Best In Broadcasting poll.

The survey was organised by the BBC's Radio Times magazine to celebrate its 75th anniversary with readers voting on a short-list compiled by industry experts.

BBC shows dominate the poll, but ITV scores a significant victory in the Best Soap Opera category with viewers opting for Coronation Street rather than EastEnders.

The Best Comedy Show title was taken by Morecambe And Wise whose shows were first aired in 1961 by ATV, but eventually transferred to the BBC in 1968. They headed back to ITV 10 years later, but the partnership was brought to an end by Eric Morecambe's death in 1984.

Only Fools And Horses, which began in 1981 and has regularly dominated Christmas viewing figures, was named Best Television Sitcom.

The Best TV Drama Series title went to All Creatures Great And Small, based on James Herriot's best-selling tales of a country vet practice which ran from 1978 to 1990.

The children's TV success of the 1990s, Teletubbies, was beaten to the Best Pre-School Introduction To TV title by Play School, which was first broadcast in the mid-1960s and ran for 24 years.

And despite the acclaim greeting recent efforts like Middlemarch and Pride And Prejudice, another vintage show took the period drama title - the 1976 dramatisation I, Claudius.

Smoothie sports broadcaster Des Lynam was named Best Host With The Most while Kate Adie was named Best Radio/TV Journalist.

Stars of the top shows feature in a gatefold cover for next week's edition of Radio Times which was taken by Lord Snowdon.

The Queen and Prime Minister Tony Blair have sent letters of congratulation to the magazine which are reproduced among a range of tributes from stars and readers.