Fleabag? Del Boy? Who's your favourite comedy character? | BBC Radio Solent's Lou Hannan
A controversial subject to bring you this week. No, not should chocolate be kept in the fridge or a cupboard but, who do you think is the best comedy character of all time?
It was the subject of a phone-in I hosted on BBC Radio Solent last week – inspired by the TV channel Gold which pulled together a panel of top comedy actors, writers, and critics, and came up with their favourite.
Ladies and gentlemen, the winner was … Alan Partridge!
Doing the job I do, it’s no wonder I’m a massive fan of Steve Coogan’s radio presenter creation, but would I put him top of the list of great comedy characters? I’m not so sure…
When we opened the phone lines on the subject, the calls came flooding in and it brought up names of comedy characters I’d forgotten all about.
For example, Frank Spencer. I was a massive fan of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Michael Crawford’s portrayal of the hapless Frank as he bumbled his way from catastrophe to catastrophe while watching daughter Jessica do a ‘whoopsie’ in his beret was comedy genius.
We had some more modern suggestions as well. Peter Kay proved a particular favourite, not just alongside Paddy McGuinness in Phoenix Nights, but also as John in the BBC One comedy Car Share.
It got me thinking about how important the sidekicks are to these comedy characters. I mean, would John be as funny without the brilliant Sian Gibson as Kayleigh?
Of course, Del Boy came up as a firm favourite time and time again. But not just David Jason’s character – Rodney, Boycie and Trigger were just as popular.
The perfect comedy writing of John Sullivan proved you can have countless top comedy characters in just one sitcom.
I was surprised to see that one of my favourites, Albert Steptoe, didn’t even make the top 30 (a travesty!) whereas Miranda was on the list, along with Fleabag. It wasn’t just the old classics.
The overwhelming favourite from listeners that morning definitely came down to one man, though.
And I’m delighted to say it’s the same one I’d choose to be top of my list, too.
The one and only Mr Basil Fawlty.
Just don’t mention the war…