Fawlty Towers (1975–1979)

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 39,105 users  
Reviews: 125 user | 27 critic

Hotel owner Basil Fawlty's incompetence, short fuse, and arrogance form a combination that ensures accidents and trouble are never far away.

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Title: Fawlty Towers (1975–1979)

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Season:

2 | 1

Year:

1979 | 1975
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Basil Fawlty (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
...
 Sybil Fawlty (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
...
 Manuel (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
...
 Polly Sherman (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Ballard Berkeley ...
 Major Gowen / ... (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Gilly Flower ...
 Miss Agatha Tibbs (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Renee Roberts ...
 Miss Ursula Gatsby (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Brian Hall ...
 Terry (6 episodes, 1979)
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Storyline

Inept and manic English hotel owner and manager, Basil Fawlty, isn't cut out for his job. He's intolerant, rude and paranoid. All hell frequently breaks loose as Basil tries to run the hotel, constantly under verbal (and sometime physical) attack from his unhelpful wife Sybil, and hindered by the incompetent, but easy target, Manuel; their Spanish waiter. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hotel | english | guest | manic | waiter | See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 September 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Fawlty Towers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Andrew Sachs (Manuel) was paid damages by the BBC after a jacket was treated with acid by the special effects department to look as if it was on fire. It really did burn through to his skin and he still bears the scars. See more »

Goofs

The layout of the hotel from interior shots would place the windowless kitchen hard against the front left of the building, as seem from the outside (if there were space for it at all). In exterior shots there is a large bow window here. See more »

Quotes

Basil Fawlty: You'll have to forgive him. He's from Barcelona.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the titles sequence of each episode, some of the letters on the Fawlty Towers sign are usually mixed up or missing altogether. The signs appear as follows: 1. Fawlty Towers 2. Fawlty Tower 3. Fawty Tower 4. Fawty Toer 5. Warty Towels 6. NO SIGN 7. Fawlty Tower 8. Watery Fowls 9. Flay Otters 10. Fatty Owls 11. Flowery Twats 12. Farty Towels See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Goodies: Hype Pressure (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Fawlty Towers
Written by Dennis Wilson
Performed by Dennis Wilson Quartet
See more »

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User Reviews

Still funny after all these years
14 May 2004 | by (Manila, Philippines) – See all my reviews

Just saw again the first four episodes of John Cleese's wonderful, wonderful Fawlty Towers, the dysfunctional hotel run by the inimitable Basil Fawlty (Cleese), and his battle-wagon wife, Sybil (Prunella Scales). Amazing how many belly laughs and guffaws the show can still inspire, and this is probably my third or fourth viewing (still, it's been years).

Even more amazing is the short documentary on the realBasil Fawlty--Donald Sinclair, manager and owner of the Gleneagle, an ex Navy commander who (as Ray Marks, present manager of the Gleneagle puts it) thought running the Gleneagle "would have been a wonderful job, if it wasn't for the guests. The guests spoiled his job."

According to legend, the Monty Python troupe once booked rooms at the Gleneagle, in the seaside town of Torquay; they still remember some of the things Sinclair did to them there. Pythoner Eric Idle carried an alarm clock inside his briefcase at the hotel reception; when Sinclair heard the ticking he said "My God, there's a bomb in there!" and threw it off a cliff. Later, Pythoner Terry Gilliam sat down to a meal and ate American style, cutting up the food first before picking up the pieces with his fork; Sinclair, passing by, picked up Gilliam's knife and snapped "we don't eat like that here!"

Eventually the entire Python troupe moved to another hotel--all except Cleese, who stayed. Apparently, he thought there was an idea for a TV show here somewhere.

It wasn't only the Pythoners that suffered; one guest asked for a drink at the bar, to which Sinclair replied by slamming down the grill and saying "the bar's closed." When his friend invited him to a nearby hotel to drink, Sinclair informed him that if he isn't back by 11 pm, the front door will be locked. He comes back late, and just as Sinclair threatened, the front door was locked. "This is ridiculous," he said, "my wife and daughter are in there," and started banging on the door; a light turned on in a window, and Sinclair popped his head out and said "I told you I'd lock the doors by 11!" The guest replied: "If you don't open the doors I'm going to knock them down!" Three or four minutes later, Sinclair opens the door, lets him in, bangs the door behind him loud enough to, as the guest put it, wake everyone in the hotel, and yells "Don't let that happen again!"

Sinclair was also hard on the hired help. He hated builders, and would yell and curse at them; one Greek waiter was so fed up with Sinclair's treatment of him he jumped into a taxi and demanded to be driven to London. Rosemary Harrison, who once worked for Sinclair, describes how when one waiter, tired of waiting for Sinclair to make the tea, took a teapot meant for another table. Sinclair stopped the serving of breakfast and "went up and down the tables like a policeman, questioning the guests. He came across a set of teapots at a table for two. He realised because of their size they were meant for a table for four, and he asked the guests for a description of the waiter."

Sinclair was apparently so appalling that when his wife had to go out shopping, she would lock him up in their room, and say to the staff "don't let him out, he's only going to upset you." Ian Jones, owner of the nearby Coppice Hotel, said "fugitives from the Gleneagle used to come knocking on our door, pleading accommodations."

He was, as Cleese would put it, "the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met."


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