John Cleese to appear in his first BBC sitcom since Fawlty Towers

'These are the most enjoyable scripts I've been sent in the last 100 years'

Megan Williams
Wednesday 12 April 2017 12:48
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British comedy great John Cleese is making a return to the BBC for the first time since beloved sitcom Fawlty Towers.

The new sitcom, titled Edith, will star Alison Steadman as the title character with Cleese playing her old flame and renewed love interest, Phil. The story follows the duo who are set to marry when Edith’s middle-aged son Roger (Jason Watkins), disrupts their plans.

Cleese and Steadman previously played on-screen partners Brian and Gwenda Stimpson in 1986 film, Clockwise.

Fawlty Towers first aired on the BBC over 40 years ago and remains a bastion of British comedy. In 2000, it topped the BFI list of the best TV programmes of all time, with another Cleese hit - Monty Python’s Flying Circus - coming in at fifth place.

Cleese gradually turned away from British television, and in 2015 he told ShortList that he had no desire to return to television roles: “There’s no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC. I have a nasty feeling a large proportion of the commissioning editors have no idea what they’re doing.”

However, the Edith script found a fan in Cleese, as a statement from the BBC reveals.

“These are the most enjoyable scripts I've been sent in the last 100 years,” he said. “It will also be particularly nice to work with Alison again since we joined forces in Clockwise all that time ago.”

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The series is written by Charles McKeown, and will span six episodes. McKeown has made acting cameos alongside Cleese in both Fawlty Towers and Monty Python and was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing 1985 sci-fi Brazil.

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