Fawlty Towers (1975–1979)
6 user 2 critic

Basil the Rat 

Basil and the rest of the staff are in deep trouble when the health inspector turns up and delivers an enormous list of problems with the hotel. Things become even worse when Manuel's rat gets loose in the hotel.



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Episode complete credited cast:
John Quarmby ...
Mr. Carnegie
Gilly Flower ...
Renee Roberts ...
David Neville ...
Sabina Franklyn ...
James Taylor ...
Mr. Taylor
Mrs. Taylor
Stuart Sherwin ...


Basil panics, yet again, when the food and health inspector pays his semi-annual visit. He has a a long list of complaints about the level of cleanliness in the kitchen and gives them 24 hours to clean up or he will shut them down. Sybil sets about tidying up the place but when Basil visits Manuel's room, he finds that he has been keeping a pet rat thinking it was a hamster. When the inspector returns the next day, pandemonium reigns as the rat has now escaped and the Major is trying to hunt it down with his shotgun. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

25 October 1979 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The woman (Mrs Taylor) sitting at the table behind Manuel (Andrew Sachs) while he spots the rat at Quentina's legs, is actually Andrew Sachs' wife Melody Lang. See more »


When Basil and Sybil are talking to the public health inspector in the kitchen (on his second visit), Basil breaks two bottles of wine. When he removes the second bottle, there are two bottles remaining on the rack, but when the camera cuts away and then back when he breaks it, there is only one bottle left on the rack. See more »


Ronald: Look, I was just trying to give an order to your waiter and he walked away while I was doing it.
Basil Fawlty: Hm?
Ronald: Well, he wasn't paying attention at all.
Basil Fawlty: I'm so sorry. What were you saying?
Ronald: The waiter wasn't listening when I was giving him our order. He seemed more interested in my fiancée's legs.
Basil Fawlty: Really? May I?
[Basil and Manuel look intently under the table in the area of his fiancée's legs]
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References Mastermind (1972) See more »


Composed by Charles Aznavour
Performed by Andrew Sachs
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User Reviews

Season 2: Not quite as good as the first season but still very funny and well delivered comedy that deserves its "classic" status
31 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I recently watched season 1 of Fawlty Towers because I realised that I had not actually done so for quite some time. Yes the episodes were fresh in my head and I could easily quote sections of it but this was mostly down to seeing it used on clip shows etc. Coming to season 2 it was quite telling that only one or two of the episodes provide these clips because, put simply, the second season of the show is not quite as good as the first. The structure is the same and it is still very good but several of the episodes are of a slightly lower standard and are obviously so due to the very high standard of the series as a whole and the majority of the episodes here.

Just so I can get my slightly reserved negativity out of the way, the specific problem I had was that a couple of the episodes seemed to rely on rather crude and obvious sexual material that would be more befitting the Carry On series than this. Specifically the psychiatrist episode suffers from this. This is one episode but it happens a few times in others but generally they are strong enough to carry it. The situations are exaggerated and silly but this suits the character of Basil, here with the tragic nature of him played down slightly and the clown aspect played up. Each episode is one long panic and they are mostly very funny as events spin out of control. The writing here focuses on these events and reactions and, while still very funny, it must be said that there is less in the way of depth in terms of the deference to class, the snobby attitude and "tragic" nature of Basil – again all this is sort of played down to a certain extent.

This criticism (minor as it is) is also an afterthought because mostly I was laughing at the comedy and the speed of it. The Anniversary episode didn't quite pull it off but the first episodes (with the hard of hearing woman and the missing money) starts things off really well and is followed by strong episodes such as the Waldorf Salad one and of course the one with the health inspector and Basil the pet rat. The cast play up to it very well but the star is of course Cleese. Although he has a little less substance than before, he has done a lot of the work already so it doesn't show as a gap and he nails the physical comedy each and every time. Each reaction and each line is bang on and he is very funny to watch. Booth has a bit more to do and is funny for it but Sachs' is the most improved and is very funny again. Scales is good and a bit less separated from the mayhem than before as a character, while Hall's chef is a solid addition that helps some of the narrative.

Season 2 may not be as good as I thought the first season was but it is still hard to fault and it is only in a few minor aspects that it doesn't work. Otherwise it is as frantic, as funny and as well written as it is famous for being and it is well worth revisiting if all you've done is see it as clips over the last few years.

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