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Fawlty Towers (BBC-2 1975-1979 with John Cleese and Prunella Scales)

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Sitcom. Manic proprietor Basil Fawlty owner of Torquay hotel Fawlty Towers manages to cause chaos all about him as well as making the life of his Spanish bellboy, Manuel, a misery.

Often sited as one of the pinnacles of British Sitcom the show really does contain some superb moments (Basil beating up on his car, the entire Germans episode to name but two of many). Cleese is supposed to have based Fawlty on a hotel owner he encountered whilst filming Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie or working on the script for an episode of Doctor Of Large depending on which legend you believe although the Doctor At Large is most likely as the episode in question does feature something of a proto Basil Fawlty.

Each week the sign outside the Fawlty Towers hotel changed to a different funny name each week (Fatty Owls etc). In Spain when Fawlty Towers was first shown Manuel was changed into an Italian.

The final episode (“Basil The Rat”) was not shown until 7 months after the rest of the second season. It’s original scheduled broadcast was delayed because of a BBC strike and the unmarked original tape then went missing and was only recovered by chance.

A 100 minute celebration of the show aired on satellite/cable channel G.O.L.D. on 10 May 2009 featuring contributions from everyone involved on the show and celebrity fans.

production details
UK / BBC Two / 12×30 minute episodes / 19 September – 24 October 1975 and 19 February – 25 October 1979

Writers: John Cleese, Connie Booth / Producer: John Howard Davies, Douglas Argent

cast
JOHN CLEESE as Basil Fawlty
PRUNELLA SCALES as Sybil Fawlty
ANDREW SACHS as Manuel
CONNIE BOOTH as Polly Sherman
BALLARD BERKELY as Major Gowen
GILLY FLOWER as Miss Tibbs
RENEE ROBERTS as Miss Gatsby
BRIAN HALL as Terry (Season 2)

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