Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Monday, 6 June 2005 13:08 UK

Fools tops 'sitcom formula' test

Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses has been broadcast since 1981

Only Fools and Horses is the funniest British sitcom of all time, followed by The Office and Father Ted, according to a scientist's formula.

The recognisable qualities of the main character were multiplied by their delusions of grandeur.

This was added to the verbal wit of the script and the total was multiplied by the number of times somebody fell over.

The research, for digital channel UKTV Gold, was conducted by Dr Helen Pilcher and writer Timandra Harkness.

Dr Pilcher, a member of scientific group The Comedy Research Project, said: "This formula shows why some sitcoms fail to make the grade whilst others are destined to make us laugh time and time again."

Only Fools and Horses scored 696 in the formula, while The Office got 678 and Father Ted managed a score of 564.

What is the funniest UK sitcom?
Only Fools and Horses
The Office
Father Ted
Fawlty Towers
5679 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
The difference in social status between the sitcom's highest and lowest ranking characters was also added and the total was divided by the success of any scheme during the show.

Fawlty Towers was ranked fourth with 557 points while Blackadder was at number five with 374.5 points according to the formula.

Shows that achieved low scores included short-lived ITV sitcom Babes In The Wood, which only scored eight points, and Johnny Vaughan's 2001 BBC series 'Orrible, which came last with 6.5 points.

UKTV Gold controller John Keeling said: "We hope that this formula will provide aspiring future writers with all the tools they need to produce the next generation of classic TV comedy."

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