“Hold The Sunset” Is The Return Of John Cleese To Situation Comedy

BritBox debuts the return John Cleese to TV and he does not disappoint 

Wednesday exclusively on BritBox a true comic icon returns to weekly television after 43, years as John Cleese star’s in Hold the Sunset. The 78-year-old Cleese will forever be linked to the comedy troupe, Monty Python which he helped to create and of course as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, which he co-wrote with his wife Connie Booth.

Hold the Sunset, in short, is about two retired neighbors, Phil (Cleese) and Edith played by respected British actress Allison Steadman. They are both widowed and have been dating for a while and now they want to take things to the next level.

The duo is talking about getting married, and move somewhere warm where they can enjoy their golden years together, maybe in Spain. Those plans are soon tossed out the window when Edith’s 50-year-old son Roger (Jason Watkins), who has been married for 20 years, moves back into his mother’s house after walking out on his wife and their two teenage children.

The first season of the show aired in the U.K. already on BBC One to mixed reviews.

Frankly, I must di those critics of the show was harsh in large part because for some agree with my British colleagues. They, for some reason, were expecting Cleese character to act more like Basil Fawlty, with his physical style of comedy at age 78.

I have seen the first three episodes and Cleese still has the brilliant timing he always had and this a very charming show that showcases his ability hold the audience despite not always being the center of attention.

No easy trick.

Cleese still is able to be funny while at the same time allowing the other members of the very talented ensemble cast do some of the heavy comedy liftings. I think that audiences in the U.S. will be very pleased with Cleese as Phil and embrace Hold the Sunset for what it is, a cleverly written, well-acted, comedy that many families will be able to relate to.

Hold the Sunset, is very much in the mold of As Time Goes By or The Golden Girls, all funny shows with storylines that were very relatable no matter what your age. By the way, we can give you one bit of news before the debuts – BritBox and BBC has ordered a second season.

Recently, I spoke with Joanna Scanlan who plays Edith’s daughter Sandra. She is my guest for this week’s edition of Stream On Powered by Hello Fresh (Promo Code Streamon60)


Listen to “Guest Joanna Scanlan from the John Cleese new sitcom on BritBox and the BBC – HOLD THE SUNSET” on Spreaker.
Here are a few tidbits from our conversation.

On working with Cleese – “It is like taking a Master Class in comedy. But we have a very talented senior writing team that averages at 75 years old and it would take a warehouse to hold all the awards they have. So, they really help make us young pups stay on our toes.

On having the show air in the U.S. on BritBox – I am proud to be part of BritBox class of 2018. The fact that our shows can air on BBC and ITV in the U.K. and then be seen in the states is just so wonderful.

Be sure to watch Hold the Sunset starting Wednesday on BritBox.


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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.