The programme, which aired from 1975 to 1979, was the top pick for comedians including David Baddiel, Jenny Eclair and Alexei Sayle in the Gold TV Comedy Audit.

Over 100 professional comedians were questioned about their favourite comedic small screen moments in the survey, commissioned to mark the launch of the first full series of We Have Been Watching on Gold, starting on Wednesday night (04Jan17) at 8pm.

FAWLTY TOWERS, set in a hotel and starring John Cleese and the late Andrew Sachs, was named Favourite British Sitcom with 32 per cent of the vote, beating I'm Alan Partridge which came in second with 26 per cent.

Blackadder, The Office and Father Ted completed the top five, while Only Fools And Horses and Absolutely Fabulous also featured in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge topped the list of favourite male comedy character, beating Fawlty Towers’ Basil Fawlty, David Brent of The Office, Del Boy of Only Fools and Horses and The Young Ones’ Rick. Absolutely Fabulous duo Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, played by Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, came out first and second respectively for comics’ favourite female roles, followed by Denise from The Royle Family and Father Ted’s Mrs Doyle.

Comedy critic Bruce Dessau compiled the audit of comedians, and said of the results: "We are well-known across the world for our ‘British sense of humour’, which is shown at its best in many of our best-loved and timeless comedy classics.

"The art of comedy is almost impossible to define, but many of these characters, lines and sitcoms are brilliant examples of the very best in the history of British TV comedy - many of which can all be enjoyed again in a fresh take on the new series We Have Been Watching, as some of the top comedy folk share their views on the funniest moments telly has to offer."