A founder and mainstay of the revered British comedy troupe Monty Python is headed back to television with a new comedy series. The U.K. publication RadioTimes reports that John Cleese will tackle his first starring role in a British sitcom since “Fawlty Towers” ended in 1979.
Cleese will star alongside Alison Steadman in “Edith,” which has received a six-episode series order from BBC One. Cleese will play Phil, an old boyfriend of the title character (Steadman) who still longs to marry her.
“After months of turning him down, on the happy day Edith finally says yes to his proposal, there’s a knock on the door — and there on the step, with a large suitcase, is her 50-year-old son Roger (‘Line of Duty’ star Jason Watkins) to spoil their plans,” RadioTimes reports.
The show is written by Charles McKeown, who has also collaborated with Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam. Other cast members include Jessica Hynes, Anne Reid and Peter Egan.
Filming is scheduled to start in June for a likely premiere around the end of the year.
Cleese has dabbled in series TV all along, including arcs on “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “Will & Grace” along with a steady voice role narrating “Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” He had a tour-de-force guest appearance as Dr. Simon Finch-Royce on the “Cheers” episode “Simon Says” in 1987, but for the most part Cleese has concentrated on feature films from the 1980s on.
Here’s a CBS interview clip from 2015 in which Cleese explains why he left Monty Python …