IT’s no surprise to see Fawlty Towers still sitting in the number one spot in the latest poll to name the best ever British sitcom.

It may be more than 40 years old, but every single episode of that TV comedy is sublime; a perfect marriage of brilliantly realised characters, witty writing and great acting from all concerned. It has quite rightly been at the top spot since it was first transmitted.

Star John Cleese and co-star and writer Connie Booth crafted a flawless comedy show, that has stood the test of time.

People often forget that there was a four-year gap between the first and second series (1974 and 1979) and that only 12 episodes were produced and perhaps the ‘quality, not quantity’ approach is part of what has made it so admired.

The top 20 list featured in the Radio Times this week has been picked by a panel of TV comedy experts.

Although it is hard to argue with some of the choices, there are definitely some glaring omissions.

Second in the list was 1990s show Father Ted, which somewhat surprisingly beat Only Fools and Horses, which came sixth, Blackadder (fourth) and Porridge (seventh).

People’s tastes in TV comedy vary wildly and although I personally think I’m Alan Partridge (third) is a work of genius, I know plenty who can’t stand it. The same goes for Ricky Gervais’s The Office (12th).

Other deserved top 20 places go to Dad’s Army (fifth), The Royle Family (eighth)and The Young Ones (16th).

If I had been compiling the list, Absolutely Fabulous (ninth), The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (15th), Gavin and Stacey (17th) and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (20th), wouldn’t have made the top 20.

The question has to be asked, where is Phoenix Nights?

In my opinion Peter Kay, Dave Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice’s sitcom set in a Farnworth working men’s club is a lot funnier than many of those that made the final cut.

As well as Phoenix Nights’ surprise no-show in the list, I was also surprised that One Foot in the Grave starring Richard Wilson as the grumpy pensioner Victor Meldrew and Rising Damp, starring Leonard Rossiter as stingy landlord Rigsby in what is ITV’s best ever sitcom by a mile, failed to make it into the top 10, never mind the top 20.

Meanwhile, I reckon it is a pretty safe bet that Still Open All Hours, the follow-up to the much-loved 1970s’ show Open All Hours, starring the brilliant Ronnie Barker, won’t be making any ‘best of’ lists compiled by experts in years to come.

Goodness knows how this is repeatedly allowed (five series now!) to infest our TV screens.

Yes, comedy is subjective, but I have yet to find one person who thinks it manages to do the basics of a comedy programme – make them laugh.

It really is a shame that someone as talented as actor David Jason and writer Roy Clarke somehow felt Still Open Hours was of a high enough quality to unleash on the public.

If it wasn’t so sad, that really would be funny.