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Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Fawlty Towers tops TV hits
John Cleese as Basil Fawlty
John Cleese starred as the manic hotelier, Basil Fawlty
Madcap comedy series Fawlty Towers is the UK TV industry's favourite British television programme, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

The poll, conducted by the British Film Institute, asked 1,600 programme-makers, TV critics, writers and executives to give their professional opinions and personal tastes.

Launched by TV interviewer Michael Parkinson, the TV 100 list spans nearly 50 years of television, and includes drama, comedy, variety, documentaries, light entertainment and children's shows.

Jon Pertwee as Dr Who
Jon Pertwee was one of the most popular Dr Who incarnations

Fawlty Towers, which starred John Cleese as a deranged hotelier, was first shown in 1975 and continued to enjoy high ratings during recent re-runs.

BBC successes

The classic comedy series is one of several BBC productions in the top 10, including the 1966 drama Cathy Come Home, the long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who, Monty Python's Flying Circus and perennial children's favourite Blue Peter.

Surprisingly, the hugely popular BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses (1981-1996), which was a guaranteed ratings winner at Christmas for several years, failed to make the top 20.

ITV's only top 10 successes were drama productions The Naked Civil Servant (1975, Thames), and Brideshead Revisited (1981, Granada).

Some of the programmes appeared on both ITV and the BBC, including University Challenge, This Is Your Life and Thunderbirds.

Coronation Street was the only soap opera to make the list, while comedy classics Dad's Army and The Morecambe & Wise Show fared better than modern-day counterparts like Absolutely Fabulous and Blackadder.

Only Fools and Horses
TV industry figures liked Only Fools and Horses less than viewers

Parkinson, whose chat show of the same name featured at number eight, said: "The particular significance of this list of programmes is that it reflects the votes of the television industry - those involved in programme-making - and they can be a tough audience to satisfy."

BFI director John Teckman added: "The BFI TV 100 is a wonderful celebration of quintessentially British programmes which have entertained us over the years. It serves as a timely reminder that we have a television heritage to be proud of."

The Top 20

  1. Fawlty Towers, BBC
  2. Cathy Come Home, BBC
  3. Doctor Who, BBC
  4. The Naked Civil Servant, Thames TV
  5. Monty Python's Flying Circus, BBC
  6. Blue Peter, BBC
  7. Boys From the Blackstuff, BBC
  8. Parkinson, BBC
  9. Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister, BBC
  10. Brideshead Revisited, Granada TV
  11. Abigail's Party, BBC
  12. I, Claudius, BBC
  13. Dad's Army, BBC
  14. The Morecambe & Wise Show, BBC
  15. Edge of Darkness, BBC
  16. Blackadder Goes Forth, BBC
  17. Absolutely Fabulous, BBC
  18. The Wrong Trousers, BBC
  19. The World At War, Thames TV
  20. The Singing Detective, BBC

(The complete top 100 can be found on the BFI's website)

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