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Cleese explains “embarrassment quota” following AA ads

John Cleese, star of a cringeworthy AA ad devised by McCann London, has castigated British television for being “as bad as it is everywhere else.”

Recalling his childhood Cleese spoke of British telly as the best in the world when he was growing up, but said he now didn’t watch the box at all apart from live sport.

The veteran comedian, who claims to have turned down a £200k offer to appear on a reality TV show, said he was prepared to do embarrassing things on television but only if he was well remunerated - and nobody found out.

The Monty Python star added: “There is always a filter when it comes to accepting work. I call it the EQ – the embarrassment quota.”

That filter did not catch the AA commercials however, because it was “an extraordinarily impressive organisation and has been for decades”, according to Cleese.

The ad, broadcast nationally, is designed to promote the motoring organisations move into boiler repair.

It depicts Cleese wrapped in a sleeping bag after his heating breaks down. A call to the AA soon rectifies the problem, but an incredulous Cleese is unable to unzip himself, ultimately tripping and lying sprawled across the floor.