So today I caught a lovely little piece in the i newspaper by Adam Sherwin about a poll of 100 comics on their choice of the best one-liners in British sitcoms. Personally I’d pick one of several lines from Fawlty Towers but maybe my favourite is
(Mr O’Riley the builder)… if the Good Lord…(Basil) is mentioned one more time I’ll move you closer to him!
Anyway enjoy the piece…
Even today’s star comedians admit they can’t top Fawlty Towers. The John Cleese classic was named the best British sitcom of all time in a poll of 100 leading comics.
David Baddiel, Jenny Eclair and Alexei Sayle were among the comedians, writers and performers who chose their favourite shows, one-liners, characters and actors.
Fawlty Towers, which first aired in 1975, scored a third of the comedians’ votes in the sitcom category.
The outcome echoed a 2000 British Film Institute poll of industry professionals which placed Fawlty Towers at the head of a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes.
The comedians’ poll place I’m Alan Partridge, the BBC series starring Alan Partridge and co-written by Armando Iannucci as the second funniest sitcom, with Blackadder following behind. The Office and Father Ted rounded out the top five.
The Partridge series produced the “favourite scene in a British comedy.” The encounter between Coogan’s character and a superfan who has dedicated a room to the DJ, topped the comedians’ poll.
It beat the moment when the mutually infatuated Tim and Dawn finally get together in The Office and the much-repeated scene of Cleese’s Basil Fawlty arguing with German guests and warning his staff “Don’t mention the war!”
Partridge and Patsy Stone from Absolutely Fabulous, played by Joanna Lumley, topped the list of favourite male and female comedy characters.
The famous gag from Dad’s Army, when Pike is asked his name by a German prisoner, was named favourite one-liner.
The comics were polled to mark the launch of We Have Been Watching, a Gold channel series in which comedians and comic actors including Ricky Tomlinson, Larry Lamb, Sally Phillips and Meera Syal watch and comment on clips from classic sitcoms and sketch shows.
Comedy critic Bruce Dessau, who compiled the survey, said: “We are well-known across the world for our ‘British sense of humour’, which is shown at its best in many of our best-loved and timeless comedy classics.
“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.”
Favourite One-liner from a British TV comedy
1. Captain Mainwaring to Pike, when Pike is asked his name by a German prisoner: “Don’t tell him Pike.” (Dad’s Army)
2. Tony Hancock on learning how much blood he has to give during a blood donation:
“A pint? Why that’s very nearly an armful!” (Hancock’s Half Hour)
3. Father Ted explains to Father Dougal the concept of perspective: “These [toy cows] are small. But those [real cows] out there are far away. [Points to toy cow] Small… [Points to real cow] far away.” (Father Ted)
4. Manuel in response to Basil’s plea to confirm he placed a winning bet on a horse: “I know noth-ing.” (Fawlty Towers)
5. Alan Partridge pitches programme ideas to the BBC Commissioning Editor, Tony Hayers. After a string of no’s, he desperately puts forward his last programme idea: “Monkey Tennis?” (I’m Alan Partridge)