Fawlty Towers: Season 2, Episode 6

Basil the Rat (25 Oct. 1979)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Ratings: 9.3/10 from 676 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

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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Title: Basil the Rat (25 Oct 1979)

Basil the Rat (25 Oct 1979) on IMDb 9.3/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
John Quarmby ...
Mr. Carnegie
Ballard Berkeley ...
Brian Hall ...
Gilly Flower ...
Renee Roberts ...
David Neville ...
Sabina Franklyn ...
James Taylor ...
Mr. Taylor
Melody Lang ...
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

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25 October 1979 (UK)  »

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John Cleese's favorite episode. 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 »


[Terry is examining a piece of possibly-poisoned veal the cat had been chewing on]
Terry: Right! Now, how's the cat?
Basil Fawlty: [Incredulously] How's the c...? How's the cat? We're about to take the life of a public health inspector and you want to know "how's the cat"? IT'S GONE TO LONDON TO SEE THE QUEEN! What're we going to do?
Polly: [bringing in the cat] He's fine!
Terry: Great!
Basil Fawlty: [leaping about hysterically] HOORAY! HOORAY! THE CAT LIVES! THE CAT LIVES! LONG LIVE THE CAT! What are we going to DO?
Terry: Mr. Fawlty - if the cat is ...
See more »


References Mastermind (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Would You...Care for a Rat?
16 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fawlty Towers faces a shut-down when the public health department pays them a visit, finding such things as storage of cooked and raw meats being stored in the same tray, and dead pigeons in the water tanks! During the cleanup process, Basil finds a 'filigree' Siberian hamster in Manuel's room - which has been his pet for awhile. Worried that this will only contribute to the hotel's list of infractions, Polly finds a new home for him...much to Manuel's dissatisfaction (as he wears a black mourning arm band!) The "new home" is the shed out back, but the rodent loves the hotel so much that he finds his way back in!

This episode is one of the funniest - and is filled with the usual comedic failed attempts to discreetly rectify the problems. We all knew it was coming - the day Fawlty Towers gets threatened with shut-down. John Quarmby is superb as the anal Mr. Carnegie, the public health inspector. The look on his face when Basil opens up the tin of biscuits at the very end is absolutely priceless. A nod of approval should go to Brian Hall, who plays Terry the chef - he does quite well in the part.

The bit where Basil tries to capture the hamster by rummaging through the lady's purse - and gets clawed badly before it jumps out and scurries across the floor, is classic. The scene in the bar where the Major spots the hamster on a table in the bar is also a hoot (quick cut to Polly running in with a moth net!) Supposedly the cast got extra rehearsal time for this particular episode, and it definitely paid off. "Basil the Rat" is a beaut, and it ends the series pretty much as it began, as a fainted Basil gets dragged off by Manuel. Sybil, unfazed by this, gets the last words: "Oh, I'm afraid it's started to rain again...."

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