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New Show for John Cleese

  • New Show for John CleeseImage: Schultz-Coulon/

Fawlty Towers star books first BBC comedy in four decades

Veteran comedian John Cleese is returning to the BBC for his first sitcom in nearly 40 years.

The Monty Python icon famously slammed the BBC's commissioning editors in 2015, claiming they had "no idea" what they were doing and vowing to never work for the corporation again.

However, Cleese, who also enjoyed roles on U.S. shows 3rd Rock from the Sun and Will & Grace, appeared to have had a change of heart last year, when he entered negotiations with BBC bosses for a sitcom specially created for him - and now the show is a done deal.

Cleese will return to TV for the six-part comedy series Edith, in which he will reunite with Alison Steadman - his co-star in the 1986 film Clockwise. The actress will portray the titular Edith, a widow who finds love with Cleese's character and agrees to marry him and move abroad, before her son derails their plans to settle down.

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The show, created by Charles McKeown, will mark Cleese's first BBC project since classic comedy Fawlty Towers, which ended in 1979 after just two seasons.

"If you had carte blanche on your fantasy BBC One comedy cast then you'd not be far off the Edith line-up," states Shane Allen, the BBC's head of comedy. "It's also a huge pleasure to welcome John Cleese back to the land of BBC sitcom - his last one did all right."

"These are the most enjoyable scripts I've been sent in the last 100 years," Cleese adds. "It will also be particularly nice to work with Alison again since we joined forces in Clockwise all that time ago."

The Edith cast will also feature Braveheart star James Cosmo and Death at a Funeral's Peter Egan.

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