Fawlty Towers named best British sitcom of all time, beating Blackadder and Only Fools and Horses

BBC series tops Radio Times magazine's list

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 09 April 2019 07:30 BST
Fawlty Towers 'A room with a view'

Fawlty Towers has been named as the best British sitcom of all time.

The BBC series topped the Radio Times magazine’s list, compiled by a panel of television experts, beating Father Ted, Blackadder, I’m Alan Partridge and Only Fools and Horses.

The judges called John Cleese a “six-foot-five comic genius” who made the show a hit playing the highly-strung Basil Fawlty, proprietor of a sub-par Torquay hotel.

Fawlty Towers ran for just two series of six episodes each in the 1970s.

Co-writer and co-star of Connie Booth told the publication: “Fawlty Towers succeeds, I think, because it allows infantile rage and aggression a field day in a buttoned down, well-mannered English society.

“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.”

Cleese added: “I was very lucky to be working at the BBC when decisions were taken by people who had actually made programmes.

“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.”

Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, penned by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, came second in the list, with I’m Alan Partridge coming third, and Blackadder fourth.

The list was voted for by 42 comedy experts, including lauded writers Mathews, Linehan and Richard Curtis, as well Barry Cryer and Alison Graham.

Graham said: “When we find a comedy that does make us laugh, that brings a quick hit of joy into our lives, and we treasure it for ever.

“In our memories, great comedies are pearls that become more burnished and beautiful through the years. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.”

Click through the below gallery for the full list of best British sitcoms.

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