Comedy legend John Cleese is set to star in his first BBC sitcom in nearly four decades, having once vowed never to work with the British national broadcaster again.

The 77 year old former ‘Monty Python’ star is set to appear alongside Alison Steadman in the upcoming comedy series ‘Edith’, a six-part series that will also feature BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins, the BBC announced in a statement on Tuesday (April 11th).

As such, it will be the first time that Cleese has held down such a prominent role in a Beeb sitcom since the classic ‘Fawlty Towers’ finished in 1979.

John CleeseJohn Cleese is coming back to the BBC

“These are the most enjoyable scripts I’ve been sent in the last 100 years,” Cleese said in reaction to his new role. “It will also be particularly nice to work with Alison again since we joined forces in Clockwise [1987] all that time ago.”

The BBC’s comedy commissioning controller Shane Allen, also noted the star’s return to the network. “It’s also a huge pleasure to welcome John Cleese back to the land of BBC sitcom – his last one did all right.”

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Oscar-nominated writer Charles McKeown wrote the series, which concerns the story of Phil (Cleese) and his love interest Edith (Steadman). After a long romantic pursuit, widowed Edith agrees to marry Phil and they plan to emigrate. However, a spanner gets thrown in the works when Edith’s 50 year old son Roger (Watkins) moves back in after losing his job and leaving his wife.

Cleese has for a long time been vociferously critical of the BBC, telling ShortList magazine two years ago that he wouldn’t consider working for them again, or even for any broadcaster.

“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. I said this the other day, and a younger comic said: ‘No, there’s one at the BBC.’ Just the one.”

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