Top 19 British comics of all time (plus one Irish one)

FAWLTY Towers actor John Cleese has been named the most influential British comedy star of all time.
John Cleese as Basil FawltyJohn Cleese as Basil Fawlty
John Cleese as Basil Fawlty

The 75-year-old Monty Python star beat competition from a who’s who of comedy greats as well as younger upstarts.

Only Fools And Horses actor Sir David Jason takes second place in the poll, followed by Blackadder and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson.

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The late Ronnie Barker is fourth, while The Office creator Ricky Gervais secures fifth place.

The Vicar Of Dibley star Dawn French is the highest-placed woman in the poll, in sixth position.

Funnyman Peter Kay is seventh in the survey, carried out for TV channel Gold, followed by The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall, who died earlier this year.

Carry On star Kenneth Williams is ninth and Alan Partridge creator Steve Coogan completes the top 10.

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James Corden just missed out on the top 10, with 11th place, while Miranda Hart is the second-highest placed woman, ranking 14th.

Father Ted star, the late Dermot Morgan - who is actually Irish - polled at number 20.

Half of the 2,000 adults polled, to mark the launch on Gold of documentary Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live, felt that modern comedians are not as funny as classic comedy actors.

• Most Influential Comedy Stars

1. John Cleese

2. David Jason

3. Rowan Atkinson

4. Ronnie Barker

5. Ricky Gervais

6. Dawn French

7. Peter Kay

8. Rik Mayall

9. Kenneth Williams

10. Steve Coogan

11. James Corden

12. Harry Enfield

13. Ronnie Corbett

14. Miranda Hart

15. Eddie Izzard

16. David Walliams

17. Michael Palin

18. Arthur Lowe

19. Jennifer Saunders

20. Dermot Morgan

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