The much loved “Fawlty Towers” star will be returning to our screens despite saying in 2015 that there was “no way” he would work at the BBC.
The new comedy sitcom will see Cleese reunite with “Clockwise” co-star Alison Steadman. The pair play old flames that rekindle their romance. Edith, played by Steadman, is a widow but eventually agrees to marry old boyfriend Phil (Cleese) who now lives across the road from her.
The plan to pack everything up and move abroad to get some sunshine. However their fling takes an interesting turn when Steadman’s 50-year-old son moves back home after losing his job and leaving his wife. Jason Watkins plays Edith’s son Roger.
Cleese and Steadman are familiar with working together and acting as a couple. They played husband and wife in Christopher Morahan’s 1986 film “Clockwise”.
Speaking about the new sitcom Cleese said: “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.”
The script was created by Oscar-nominated writer Charles McKeown. He has co-author of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and subsequent films.
Cleese hasn’t worked on a BBC sitcom since “Fawlty Towers”, the comical hotel-set show he co-created with former partner Connie Booth. “Fawlty Towers” has become a comedy classic, it originally ran for just two seasons in 1976 and 1979 but is still regularly shown today.
During an interview with ShortList magazine in 2015 Cleese said: “There’s no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC. I have a nasty feeling a large proportion of the commissioning editors have no idea what they’re doing.”
Edith is a six part series and will also star Jason Watkins, Jessica Hynes, Anne Reid, Rosie Cavaliero, James Cosmo and Peter Egan.
The sitcom was commissioned by Shane Allen, controller and comedy commissioner, and Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content.
Allen said: “If you had carte blanche on your fantasy BBC One 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 alright. This is the cream of British talent giving the BBC One audience the very best comedy on television.”