In a survey conducted with comedians, comedy actors and writers, it emerged this week that their favourite sitcom of all-time from the British Isles is Fawlty Towers (1975 – 79), the short running comedy series written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, set in a Torquay hotel where calamity reigns.
Scoring a third of the overall vote, beating I’m Alan Partridge and Blackadder in the process, British comedians ultimately settled for nothing less than comedy perfection with Fawlty Towers, which ran for only 12 episodes and 2 series between 1975 – 79.
Dad’s Army was awarded with the best one-liner, perhaps somewhat predictably, ‘Don’t tell him, Pike!’ from ‘The Deadly Attachment’ episode, which sees the hapless Home Guard of Walmington-on-Sea harbour a U-boat crew until relief arrives.
Asked of his name by the U-boat captain, played wonderfully by Philip Madoc, Private Pike isn’t given a chance to speak as the bumbling Captain Mainwaring leaps in with his infamous quote, damning the ‘stupid boy’ to appear on the U-boat captain’s list.
Critic Bruce Dessau, who compiled the survey, said, ‘The art of comedy is almost impossible to define, but many of these characters, lines and sitcoms are brilliant examples of the very best in the history of British TV comedy – many of which can all be enjoyed again in a fresh take on the new series We Have Been Watching, as some of the top comedy folk share their views on the funniest moments telly has to offer.’