Sitcom stuff, with added teletext disgrace

We visited Richard in Cambridge this weekend.

All of us were interested in the result of the BBC's best sitcom poll, but not wanting to face an hour and a half of Jonathan Wross, we watched something else…

… and managed to miss the end of the programme with the result.

No problem. We can't use the internet – JoJo's asleep trying to not sleep in the room with Richard's PC – but there's always Ceefax, the BBC's teletext service.

Nope. Nothing on the news pages. The entertainment news has a 'story' that Only Fools.. is the bookmaker's favourite and the results will be announced tonight.

That story stays as the 'latest' news until about midnight, when it is shuffled off to another page – this is over half an hour after the result has been declared, remember – and replaced by a page saying that David Bowie had sent a message to the two Radio 1 DJs who were axed had their last programme together… on Friday.

(The Bowie 'story' had been on the news page when we started looking, so in no sense could it be described as the latest news at that point.)

That story, and the 'sitcom poll results will be announced on Saturday night' one are there when we check at 9-something am on Sunday.

So, about ten hours after the results are announced, what was the BBC's premier "news as it happens" service still hasn't got them.

Now I'm home and know the result, what do I think?

Only Fools.. – Well, it's got legs, and as a 'one man writing' sitcom, it's a major achievement, not least as unlike some, half the time is not spent parroting catchphrases. Top ten, certainly. Best ever though? Nah.

Blackadder – At its best (series 2 and 3, plus parts of 4) this soared. But had it been cancelled after the curate's egg of series one, no-one would remember it. Top five.

Vicar of Dibley – There are Soviet-era elections more credible than this coming third. I wouldn't wipe my bum with the scripts.

Dad's Army – Mostly harmless: this has more legs than a platoon of Home Guard, but it's catchphrase time. Certainly worthy of the top ten.

Fawlty Towers – Ahh, sublime. A full farce packed into thirty minutes, by two writers who knew when to stop. Top three.

Yes, [Prime] Minister – A fabulous mix of current affairs and comedy. Listen for the gasp of the audience on the episode of Yes, Prime Minister that deals with a Westland-style affair. Top three.

Porridge – A genuine classic. I was surprised to see how (relatively) few were actually made compared with how long this has been on air. Top twenty, though. Unlike…

Open All Hours – You what?!? Another reason to ponder the sense of humour of the electorate.

The Good Life – The reason most men around my age have a crush on Felicity Kendal. Apart from that, mostly harmless.

One Foot in the Grave – With Andrew Marshall, the writer of this, David Renwick, was responsible for my favourite radio comedy show, the wonderful Burkiss Way. This doesn't match up. It's good, but top twenty stuff.

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