PRESS RELEASE published on 16 Aug 2016

John Cleese to receive Rose d’Or Lifetime Achievement award

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is thrilled to be honouring British actor and comedian John Cleese with the Rose d’Or Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 55th annual ceremony to be held in Berlin on September 13.

The award recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to television or radio entertainment throughout their careers. The Rose d’Or Awards, first presented in 1961, are given to the best radio, television and online entertainment programmes from the previous year.

John Cleese, who began his career in the mid-1960s, is renowned for his ground breaking work on television as part of the Monty Python team and for his self-penned sitcom 'Fawlty Towers'. He’s also widely recognised for appearances in films such as 'Clockwise' and 'A Fish Called Wanda' as well as the Harry Potter series.

Cleese is excited to be honoured: “I am delighted by this chance to annoy Terry Gilliam and I’m also very humbled by the offer of an all-expenses-paid holiday in Berlin," he said. 

John Cleese is no stranger to the Rose d’Or Awards. He appeared in the BBC programme 'Frost Over England' which won the Rose d’Or in 1967. 

The EBU’s Media Director Jean Philip De Tender, praised Cleese’s long and successful contribution to the broadcasting industry: “The EBU believes no one is more deserving of the Rose d’Or Lifetime Achievement award than John Cleese. He has been making audiences around the world laugh for 50 years and his writing and instantly recognisable performances have contributed to some of the best and funniest entertainment on television and in film.”

Rose d’Or compère BBC broadcaster Paddy O’Connell added: “John Cleese helped invent TV entertainment – but has never forgotten the producers who put him on the screen.  He knows the business inside out as writer, actor and performer.  He’s a rare public figure in the English-speaking world for learning German as a young man and told “Der Spiegel” he only wished it was his first language.  For these reasons and thousands more, including a dead parrot, he’s the perfect fit to pick up the Rose d’Or Lifetime Achievement award in Berlin.”

John Cleese first shot to fame in the UK with 'The Frost Report' in 1966 and in 1969 co-created 'Monty Python’s Flying Circus'. The team went on to conquer the world with four cult TV series and four hugely successful films, And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974), The Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983). The Pythons reunited for a one-off series of 10 live stage shows in the UK in 2014.

After leaving Python, Cleese moved on to create Basil Fawlty, the hotel manager from hell in 12 episodes of 'Fawlty Towers', one of the BBC’s most successful TV series ever.

In 1988, he starred in and co-wrote 'A Fish Called Wanda'.  He reunited the stars of Wanda in 1996 to make 'Fierce Creatures', a film about a zoo. Cleese has also appeared in both the James Bond, and Harry Potter movie series.

John Cleese also won an Emmy Award for his guest role on the comedy series 'Cheers', and received another Emmy nomination for a guest stint on '3rd Rock From the Sun'.

Less well known is the fact that John Cleese co-wrote (with Robin Skynner) two best-selling books on psychology, Families and How to Survive Them, and Life and How to Survive It. He also started the Secret Policeman’s Ball concerts for Amnesty International, and has continued to do a lot of charity work, much of it, like The Human Face (2001), for the BBC.

The 2016 Rose d’Or Awards will recognise the best in entertainment programming in six categories for television and online video (Reality & Factual Entertainment, Game Show, Comedy, Sitcom, Entertainment and, new for 2016, Drama Series) and five categories covering radio (Comedy, Talk Show, Music Show, Event of the Year and, also new for 2016, Audio Stories). More information on the nominees for each category is available here

Journalists, photographers and programme makers are welcome to attend the Rose d’Or Awards ceremony in Berlin on September 13. Click here for more information.

Contact detail

Dave Goodman
Digital and Communications Manager - Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest

+41 79 634 9097