Head of BBC comedy chooses Channel 4’s Father Ted as Britain’s greatest ever comedy

Shane Allen picks priest comedy while the Inbetweeners' pair Simon Bird and Joe Allen plump for The Office... and Barry Cryer picks Porridge

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BBC head of comedy Shane Allen has chosen Channel 4’s Father Ted as his all-time favourite comedy and the one that should win Radio Times’ poll to find the best of British TV.

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Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Allen chosen the hit C4 comedy as the one he would go for in Radio Times’ quest for the greatest schedule ever to mark the Radio Times’ 90th anniversary.

Each week leading up to the magazine’s anniversary in September we want you to select your favourite programme from a shortlist voted on by Radio Times staff in six programme categories.

Allen said:  “In terms of a desert island comedy favourite I’d actually go for Father Ted. I can watch that over and over because it’s so brilliantly daft. Imagine the concept as a pitch on a page, it sounds quite rarefied and niche but shows you can do a comedy about anything if you get the right character ingredients.

“Partridge a very close second and Only Fools takes bronze for me.”

The Inbetweeners’ actors Joe Thomas and Simon Bird have both chosen The Office as the comedy that should win.

“The Office should win,” said Bird while Thomas added: “For me, when I saw The Office, I thought: it’s so good and so decent. I used to watch The Office every day on my year off. I did a gap year where I went to Australia for a bit and then came home at Christmas and then did nothing for six months before I went to university. And I used to watch The Office every morning. My basic mindset was: at least there is this. This is my main thing that I value.
 
Bird added:  “The point is it came out at a crucial age for us. It came out when I was 16, 17 – formative years.”

Veteran comedy writer Barry Cryer plumped for Porridge: “Oh dear, that is very difficult. It would have to be one of the heavyweight ones like Till Death Us Do Part, Hancock or Steptoe and Son. Actually, no, the one sitcom I would single out is Porridge. Porridge was just immaculate. Every week it was just full of good characters and brilliantly written. Yes, I’d choose Porridge.”

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