Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Are del Boy and Rodney Funnier Than Basil Fawlty? THE NEXT BIG ISSUE FOR THE NATION TO VOTE ON IS THE BEST TV SITCOM OF ALL TIME

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Are del Boy and Rodney Funnier Than Basil Fawlty? THE NEXT BIG ISSUE FOR THE NATION TO VOTE ON IS THE BEST TV SITCOM OF ALL TIME

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDR PAINE

THEIR shows are already comedy classics - but is Basil funnier than Del Boy? Is Patsy more hilariously irritating than David Brent? Or will a cunning plan help Blackadder see them all off ?

The nation has voted for its 50 favourite British sitcoms and soon viewers will be able to decide which is the best one.

After the search for Britain's best-loved book on The Big Read, and for the greatest historic person on Great Britons, the BBC launched a public poll to find our comedy favourites.

Absolutely Fabulous, starring Joanna Lumley as Patsy, is on the shortlist of 50, but it looks likely to be beaten by early favourites including The Office, Only Fools And Horses and Fawlty Towers.

The shortlist compiled from the public vote is shown, right, in alphabetical order. The BBC knows which have made the top 10 but will not unveil them until next month, and then again only alphabetically, to avoid influencing the final vote.

In a three-hour BBC2 special, starting at 9pm on 10 January, Jonathan Ross will count down from 50 to 11 based on the thousands of votes already cast on the BBC's website.

The final 10 will be revealed and the full phone and internet poll will commence to decide which is officially Britain's best sitcom.

Like The Big Read, celebrity advocates will argue the case for each sitcom over 10 weeks. The final will be televised on 27 March.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Everyone has a strong opinion on what they think is the best sitcom and this list shows the strength of British comedy."

A spokesman for Ladbrokes said Only Fools And Horses, starring David Jason as wideboy Del Boy Trotter, was an early favourite. He said: "It has so many years behind it, there's the great tradition of Christmas specials and there has just been a new episode, so it is fresh in people's minds. …

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