'Sgt. Bilko' named best comedy ever

Sept. 30, 2003 at 10:53 AM

LONDON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A nearly 50-year-old American television comedy, beat out "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" as best situation comedy of all time.

The sitcom rankings by the British Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy was compiled by Mark Lewisohn, a television historian in London who started the guide's million words on TV comedies five years ago.

The highpoint of television sitcoms was given to "Sergeant Bilko," starring Phil Silvers as a U.S. Army sergeant and decorated World War II veteran in charge of a motor pool on an army base in Kansas. It ran for four years beginning in 1955.

"Sergeant Bilko is sitcom's high-water mark," Lewisohn told the London Guardian. "By the year after next it'll be 50 years old and yet it's still hilarious -- with great scripts and magnificent performances week after week by Phil Silvers."

"The crazy thing is, the Bilko has been buried and forgotten in America, while in Britain it is still revered," Lewisohn added. Bilko episodes have regularly been rescreened by the BBC, the Guardian said.

"Seinfeld" ranked second, followed by the British shows "Fawlty Towers" "Porridge" and "Yes, Minister."

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