I’M just old enough to remember Fawlty Towers when it first appeared on TV, in 1975 and 1979.

But you don’t have to be over 50 to have seen it and to love it. It’s been repeated endlessly, not just on the satellite or cable channels dedicated to comedy or repeats, but on BBC1 and BBC2 as well. And when it does, it still tops the audience figures.

It’s not hard to see why. It is probably the funniest sitcom ever made.

I’m not its only dedicated fan. In fact – rather like The Beatles – it seems impossible for anyone not to like at least some of it. However often I watch it, it still makes me laugh out loud.

And I find that if I’m anxious, depressed or just bored, an episode of Fawlty Towers can be guaranteed to lift my spirits. It’s proof that laughter is the best medicine.

But like many fans I’m uneasy about the news that a new series is going to be made.

John Cleese is going to be reprising the role of Basil Fawlty, in a new series created alongside his daughter, Camilla Cleese, also a writer and comedian.

The revival will see Basil and his daughter, who he has just discovered is his, team up to run a boutique hotel on a Caribbean island. The new series will explore how Basil copes with the modern world – badly, we’re bound to expect.

Miss Cleese now says the new show could take between “three months or three years” to make. So we shouldn’t hold our breath.

But fans will be impatient for it, keen to see whether it’s as funny as it once was. And the critics will be sharpening their pencils, ready to denounce it.

Many people share Basil’s own instinct, that everything modern must be bad.

But even those who are more ready to give it a chance will have their doubts.

Sybil Fawlty won’t be there. Neither will Manuel, the butt of so many of the jokes. Another missing ingredient is the waitress Polly, played by Connie Booth, John Cleese’s former wife, who also co-created and co-wrote the original series.

Basil will be, of course, but John Cleese is now 83, and won’t have the same manic energy and speed on his feet he had 50 years ago – nor, perhaps, his ability to do a silly walk. The physicality was a large part of the fun of it.

There will have to be a replacement for Manuel, as almost all sitcoms since the original Fawlty Towers have included a stupid character to laugh at.

So we had Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, Baldrick in Blackadder, Father Dougal in Father Ted, Alice in The Vicar of Dibley and Joey in Friends.

Basil, too, could be comically stupid, but in some ways he was quite an inconsistent character.

He was selfish, a hopelessly unconvincing liar, a terrible snob and extremely bad tempered.

His fawning over the doctors and the con man who claims to be “Lord Melbury” are well remembered examples of the snobbery.

His furious temper is on display in one of the most famous scenes, when his car breaks down and he vents his anger by beating the vehicle with the branch of a tree.

Yet Basil can be dry and wittily cynical too. When one guest says that her son is “rather highly strung”, Fawlty replies: “He should be.”

And when an old woman complains that the view from her window isn’t good enough, he asks: “Well can I ask what you expected to see from a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The hanging gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically?”

In the past John Cleese always said he wasn’t going to make another series of Fawlty Towers, and many agreed that he was wise to quit while ahead.

Other comedy writers did the same. Richard Curtis and Ben Elton stopped Blackadder with the memorable final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, in which all the main characters are killed in the First World War.

Ricky Gervais ended The Office for the same reason, before the series became stale and repetitive.

It’s a shame that approach never occurred to the filmmakers behind Rocky and Police Academy, who seemed happy to make the same movie over and over again – though moderation and restraint are unknown to Americans.

I’m curious to see a Basil Fawlty comeback and I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised. However bad it is, it will be preferable to a threatened tragi-comedy comeback – that of Boris Johnson.