Fawlty Towers has come out top of a list of the greatest British TV sitcoms, as compiled by Radio Times.
The listings magazine asked 42 "comedy experts" to help compile the new list.
The star, who co-wrote and played hotel manager Basil in the series, also added a dig at the BBC, commenting: "I was very lucky to be working at the BBC when decisions were taken by people who had actually made programmes."
Connie Booth, Cleese's then-wife with whom he wrote the series, and who starred as Polly, added: "It's unique in being a farce, with all the plot surprises and precision that the style requires. And it doesn't hurt that the star of the show is a six-foot-five comic genius; if he was shorter I can't imagine how it would have worked."
The list in full is:
2. Father Ted
5. Dad's Army
11. The Thick Of It
12. The Office
13. Peep Show
16. The Young Ones
17. Gavin & Stacey
18. The Good Life
Detectorists is the only comedy made recently to feature in the list. Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham says: "In our memories, great comedies are pearls that become more burnished and beautiful through the years. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder."
The panel was comprised as follows: Barry Cryer, Richard Curtis, Kerry Godliman, Milton Jones, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Stefan Golaszewski, Neil Gibbons, Lolly Adefope, Iain Morris, Arthur Mathews, Shane Allen, Declan Lowney, Michael Parkinson, Mark Frith, Doug Naylor, Lisa McGee, Arabella Weir, Pater Baynham, Graham Linehan, Caitlin Moran, Jon Plowman, Andrew Collins, Simon Nye, Kevin Eldon, Vicki Pepperdine, Mathew Baynton, Kerry Howard, Alison Graham, David Butcher, Robert Popper, Sam Bain, Simon Carlyle, Adam Tandy, Jeremy Vine, Simon Day, Paul Mayhew-Archer, Jane Rackham, David Brown, Nicholas Parsons, Nick Helm and John Challis.