Favourite to be favourite

Fawlty is bookies' choice in sitcom race

Fawlty Towers is likely to be dubbed Britain's best sitcom in a high-profile BBC vote, according to bookmakers.

Ladbrokes are quoting odds of 4/6 for John Cleese's comedy to take the honour, closely followed by Only Fools and Horses at 11/10.

The rest of the top ten shortlist, unveiled on BBC2 last night, are considered outsiders - with the next favourites being Dad's Army and Porridge, both at 16/1.

The other shows on the list for Britain's Best Sitcom are Blackadder (25/1), One Foot In The Grave (33/1), Yes Minister (50/1) and Open All Hours, The Good Life and The Vicar of Dibley all coming in at 100/1.

The British public have already voted on their top 50 sitcoms, which were revealed in random order on Saturday.

Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush said: "Our initial view was to make Only Fools and Horses favourite but Fawlty Towers gets the nod.

"We question whether the gloss has come off the John Sullivan classic as the latest Christmas special is regarded as disappointing by many."

The shortlist was compiled from a first round of voting in the Radio Times, on Ceefax and via the web.

Now each show will be championed by a celebrity over the next ten Saturdays, with the winner unveiled at the end. John Sergeant will be making his case for Blackadder next weekend.

BBC2 controller Jane Root said: "The list of top ten sitcoms covers a real range of shows from different eras, and each of the ten documentaries on the top sitcoms are packed with interesting facts, interviews and unseen footage.

"I think it will be really tough for viewers to pick their favourite and it's a credit to British comedy that the competition is so strong."

To vote, visit www.bbc.co.uk/sitcom.

Published: 11 Jan 2004

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