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2 September 2014
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Britain's Best Sitcom

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Jack Dee Advocates...
Fawlty Towers

"'Fawlty Towers' is more than just a comedy, it's a work of genius. Not only did writers John Cleese and Connie Booth give the world the most unhinged sitcom hero ever, a brace of unforgettable comedy moments - 'Don't mention the war' anyone? - and a biting portrayal of loveless marriage, but they knew when to stop. There are only 12 episodes… and no afterthought Christmas specials"!

"But don't take my word- the statistics prove it! 'Fawlty Towers' has the most laughs per minute of any British sitcom. It also has the longest scripts and running time. If I were an American I'd say it gave more bang for your buck. But I'm not American".

"Americans didn't do too well out of 'Fawlty Towers', with or without waldorfs. Nor did Germans, dodgy aristocrats, harassed chambermaids, travelling salesmen or incompetent builders. But spare a thought in particular for Spanish waiters and their pet hamsters. They were top of the Fawlty hit list".

"Farce doesn't normally work on television, but somehow in 'Fawlty Towers' it did. Basil attacking his car with a tree, found straddling Manuel in the hotel lobby, being hit on the head by a stuffed moose… all priceless television moments. Even the hotel sign 'Fatty Owls' had a sense of humour, even if it wasn't a perfect anagram".

About the Advocate
Jack Dee is a stand-up comedian, television presenter and actor.
More about this Sitcom See Clip
What You Think

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Never tire of watching Fawlty Towers - one station here had all 12 episodes back to back over the Christmas Holiday. Still hilarious to watch. But there's a few strange choices in the Top Ten - how did Blackadder managed to beat some of the real classics like Mr Bean, Steptoe and Son, Dad's Army, Are You Being Served, Hancock's Half Hour etc.
- Alan C., Canada

Just the funniest sitcom ever. John Cleese's priceless British humor and an incredible cast of characters which ripple through each episode. One sitcom that I can watch again and again and still find it side-splitting on every viewing!
- Simon H., England

The quintessential timeless sitcom of non-PC behaviour, born out of Monty Python excellence.
- Peter S., France

Which comedy is written and acted by the same person? When both writers were going through a divorce? Which comedy goes to places that no one else will like Germans and snobbery? Finally what comedy doesn't have an episode that is not up to standard compared to the rest? The only answer can be Fawlty Towers! I salute you Mr Cleese!
- John Kell, England

Fawlty Towers is the best sitcom. Brilliant writing, excellent acting and just sidesplittingly funny. The first episode I ever saw was the Germans and it was the funniest thing I've ever seen, "I'll do the funny walk!" My No.1 definitely!
- Sarah, England

Fawlty Towers is the greatest British comedy ever because of countless reasons. Its humour flows poetically through each occurrence and most importantly each second of the two sextet series. The length is also a quality as the freshness may have withered with continuation, but I admit definitely more episodes would have brought many viewers and I admire comedies like Only Fools and Horses for their successful longevity.
- Sam, England

Fawlty Towers is the best comedy ever written, it is currently being played on UKTV in Australia at the moment and is a great relief to see decent UK comedy, even though it is over 25 years old, it is still timeless. Also allows me to hear references of Torquay, Devon and Cornwall where I live.
- Darren Bowden, Australia

Well, I must say that Fatty Owls was a a laugh a minute but it lacks the natural beauty one comes to expect in a good sitcom. Like having Felicity Kendal in it. So, give me "The Good Life" or give me death!
- G.W., USA

Whilst Fawlty Towers is certainly one of the top four situation comedies, and Jack Dee presented his views on the programme very well, I am not sure the Fawlty marriage was as 'loveless' as he claims. Recall that Basil confessed to the psychiatrists that he and his wife "managed it two or three times a week". Whether this was true or exaggerated, recall Sybil's jealousy of the attention that she thought Basil was paying to the female Australian guest, or her upset at his 'forgetting' their wedding anniversary. If it was 'loveless', would either of these two latter situations have arisen?
- Peter Hurley, England

Jack Dee got it right: in the final analysis Fawlty Towers is the best sitcom because it is the funniest.
- Steve King, UK

Fawlty Towers is simply in a class of its own. It has become an integral part of popular British culture. Just say, "Don't mention the war" to any Briton, and they know exactly what you mean. This was no oft repeated catchphrase either - it was only used in one episode. I suspect the same is true of the phrases, "Fix me a Waldorf salad", and "You're going to get a damn good thrashing" too. What other sitcom - or programme of any genre - has made such a lasting impact? True genius - and the clear winner without a doubt.
- Andrew Platt, UK

Fawlty Towers has to win it for my money. There's only this and Blackadder who could reasonably claim to be the best, but crucially there were duff episodes of Blackadder and although some of the final ones were truly magnificent at the end of the day there wasn't a single episode of Fawlty Towers that dropped the standard. True genius, and let's not forget Connie Booth's contribution.
- James, UK

Probably the only sitcom that is as funny today as when first broadcast. Simply in a league of its own!
- Paul, UK

Fawlty Towers is by far the best British Sitcom ever written and Jack Dee made a brilliant case for it. The 'British Film Instuite' back in 2000 voted it No.1 in their all time poll of Classic TV programms, which just goes to show how good it is. I am sure it will make it into the top 3.
- Chris Tomlinson, UK

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Other Advocates
John Sergeant - Blackadder
Jack Dee - Fawlty Towers
David Dickinson - Only Fools and Horses
Clarissa Dickson Wright - Open All Hours
Armando Ianucci - Yes Minister
Ulrika Jonsson - The Good Life

Phill Jupitus - Dad's Army
Rowland Rivron - One Foot in the Grave
Johnny Vaughan - Porridge
Carol Vorderman - Vicar of Dibley

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