Wednesday 21 August 2019

Feck: 'Father Ted' is pipped to crown of best ever sitcom

Go on, go on: Ardal O’Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn and Frank Kelly immortalised the denizens of Craggy Island
Go on, go on: Ardal O’Hanlon, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn and Frank Kelly immortalised the denizens of Craggy Island

Nick Bramhill

'Father Ted' has been voted the second greatest sitcom of all-time - after being pipped to the post by 'Fawlty Towers'.

The enduring Irish comedy, starring Dermot Morgan and Ardal O'Hanlon, was described as "nothing short of sitcom magic" in a new 'Radio Times' poll.

One of the publication's 42-strong panel of comedy experts said the much-loved 1990s sitcom "has it all - broad and accessible, but also surreal and utterly bonkers".

And Declan Lowney, who directed 17 episodes of the classic Channel 4 sitcom, said: "Even if I hadn't directed it, this would be one of my favourite TV shows of all time. Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews created something so special and beautiful."

Accolade

The top 10 also included 'I'm Alan Partridge', 'Blackadder', 'Only Fools and Horses' and 'Porridge'.

Towers of fun: John Cleese and Andrew Sachs in ‘Fawlty Towers’. Photo: PA
Towers of fun: John Cleese and Andrew Sachs in ‘Fawlty Towers’. Photo: PA

But it was 'Fawlty Towers', the 1970s BBC classic that was set in a seaside hotel in Torquay that took the accolade as the funniest British sitcom of all-time. John Cleese, who both co-wrote the show with Connie Booth and starred as hotelier Basil Fawlty, said: "I was very lucky to be working at the BBC when decisions were taken by people who had actually made programmes."

Cleese (79) also paid a glowing tribute to his co-stars, including Prunella Scales who played his domineering wife, Sybil, and Andrew Sachs, who starred as clueless waiter Manuel.

Ms Booth, who played Polly in the 12 episodes, added: "'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 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."

20 greatest sitcoms ever

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?

Irish Independent

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