From (Arts Now section)
Thursday, 21 February 2002

John Cleese, a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe and creator of the critically acclaimed series Fawlty Towers, will be presented this year's Sir Peter Ustinov / Comedy Network Award at the 2002 Banff Television Festival.

"Fawlty Towers comes as close to perfection as any situation comedy ever written," Pat Ferns, president of the Banff Television Foundation, said Wednesday at a special reception in London.

"John Cleese's genius is that he knows life and he knows his audience. His command of all forms of comedy, from physical to verbal, from slapstick to satire, makes him a true master."

In a release, Cleese said he was humbled by the honour. "I feel very,
very humble that I have been chosen to receive this wonderful award in Banff," said Cleese. "Of course, I'm not going to pretend that I don't deserve it. Obviously I do."

Past Winners of the Sir Peter Ustinov Endowment

1992 John Candy
1993 Winston Rekert, Danny Vertue
1994 Eugene Levy
1995 Tantoo Cardinal
1996 Steve Smith
1997 Barry Humphries
1998 Bob Newhart
1999 Martin Short
2000 Tracey Ullman
2001 Kelsey Grammar

"Frankly, it has been some time coming. But let's not get into all that, as it will impinge my humility. I look forward enormously, not only to all the adulation, but also to visiting beautiful Banff again, even if only to check that it is being spelled correctly."

Cleese will accept his award during the Banff Rockie Awards program June 10.

Past winners of the award include Kelsey Grammer, John Candy, Bob Newhart, Martin Short and Tracey Ullman.

The Banff Television Festival runs June 9-14. It attracts hundreds of television broadcasters, program producers and on-line content creators.