He vowed never to work at the BBC again – but John Cleese is finally returning to the broadcaster for his first sitcom since Fawlty Towers.
The 77-year-old actor – also known for Monty Python and Clockwise – will star in Edith, playing the lovelorn ex-boyfriend of Alison Steadman, who will take the title role.
The series is expected to air later this year, nearly four decades after Fawlty Towers ended in 1979.
Mr Cleese was effusive about the new project: ‘These are the most enjoyable scripts I’ve been sent in the last 100 years. It will also be particularly nice to work with Alison again since we joined forces in Clockwise all that time ago,’ he said.
The thrice-married actor will play Phil, a romantic who is trying to persuade his old flame Edith to marry him and move to sunnier climes.
She finally relents after months of refusing him, leaving Mr Cleese’s character elated. However, his joy quickly turns to disappointment when Edith’s 50-year-old son Roger turns up, and announces he is moving home after leaving his job and his family.
Mr Cleese may have joined the project because of its writer Charles McKeown, who has previously worked with Mr Cleese’s Monty Python collaborator Terry Gilliam.
Yesterday, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning said: ‘If you had carte blanche on your fantasy BBC1 comedy cast then you’d not be far off the Edith line-up.
It’s also a huge pleasure to welcome John Cleese back to the land of BBC sitcom – his last one did all right.’