'Fawlty Towers' named the best British sitcom of all time

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
Fawlty Towers (Credit: BBC)
Fawlty Towers (Credit: BBC)

John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers has been voted the best British sitcom of all time in a new poll.

It beat the likes of I’m Alan Partridge and Father Ted to the top spot, after a panel of 42 comedy experts cast their votes for the Radio Times.

Among them were Father Ted scribes Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, veteran humorist Barry Cryer, Richard Curtis and Radio Times writer Alison Graham.

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Other than Father Ted, which came in second place, and Peep Show, all the shows on the longlist were produced by and aired on the BBC.

The Office (Credit: BBC)
The Office (Credit: BBC)

Speaking about the poll, Connie Booth, who co-wrote Fawlty Towers with John Cleese and played receptionist Polly, said: “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.”

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

“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.

Here are the poll winners in full:

  1. Fawlty Towers

  2. Father Ted

  3. I’m Alan Partridge

  4. Blackadder

  5. Dad’s Army

  6. Only Fools and Horses

  7. Porridge

  8. The Royle Family

  9. Absolutely Fabulous

  10. Dinnerladies

  11. The Thick of It

  12. The Office

  13. Peep Show

  14. The Vicar of Dibley

  15. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

  16. The Young Ones

  17. Gavin & Stacey

  18. The Good Life

  19. Detectorists

  20. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?

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