Fawlty Towers: Season 2, Episode 1

Communication Problems (19 Feb. 1979)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 9.3/10 from 720 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

When Mrs.Richards, a demanding woman who is hard of hearing, checks into the hotel, Basil, Sybil and Polly find themselves with a very difficult customer. Meanwhile, Basil bets on a horse ... See full summary »



(by), (by)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 09 Oct 2010
list image
a list of 5709 titles
created 30 Nov 2013
list image
a list of 300 titles
created 10 Dec 2013
a list of 212 titles
created 6 months ago
a list of 12 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Communication Problems (19 Feb 1979)

Communication Problems (19 Feb 1979) on IMDb 9.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Fawlty Towers.
« Previous Episode | 7 of 12 Episodes | Next Episode »


1 video »


Episode complete credited cast:
Joan Sanderson ...
Ballard Berkeley ...
Brian Hall ...
Gilly Flower ...
Renee Roberts ...
Robert Lankesheer ...
Mr. Thurston
Johnny Shannon ...
Mr. Firkins
Bill Bradley ...
Mr. Mackintosh
George Lee ...
Mr. Kerr
Mervyn Pascoe ...
Mr. Yardley


When Mrs.Richards, a demanding woman who is hard of hearing, checks into the hotel, Basil, Sybil and Polly find themselves with a very difficult customer. Meanwhile, Basil bets on a horse that is sure to win, however he must not let Sybil find out. Written by Nadia Nassar

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 February 1979 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Through all the farce and shenanigans in this episode, Basil still ends up richer at the end than he was at the beginning. He bet £5 on the horse and won £75, which he is forced to give to Mrs. Richards. Mrs. Richards believes that she lost £85, when actually it was £95. When the £95 is returned, Basil gives her £10 of it to make up for the shortfall. Basil then breaks Mrs. Richards' vase, at a cost of £75, which Sybil gives Mrs. Richards from the £85 Basil is holding, leaving £10. So Basil spent £5 and ended up with £10. See more »


When Mrs. Richards says "I'm not listening to anymore of this rubbish..." and walks into the dining room, the shadow of a boom mic and other equipment is visible above the dining room door. See more »


[Basil is mouthing words to Mrs. Richards, so she is forced to turn up her hearing aid as high as it will go]
Sybil Fawlty: [quietly] Basil, don't! Don't!
[Basil is still mouthing words]
Mrs. Richards: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I haven't got it turned up enough.
Sybil Fawlty: [shouting] Basil!
Basil Fawlty: [at full volume now, right into Mrs. Richards' face] I SAID... WE SHOULD GO...!
Mrs. Richards: [jumps back with a shock, hitting her head on the shelf] Oh! Oh, my head! My head!
Basil Fawlty: Has it come away?
Mrs. Richards: Oh!
Sybil Fawlty: [to Mrs. Richards as she elbows Basil] Did you bang your head?
See more »


Referenced in The John Cleese Interview (1998) See more »


Gwine to Run All Night, or De Camptown Races
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by John Cleese
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Si que what, and C.K. Watt
18 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Communication Problems" is one of the only episodes to focus almost entirely on one of the hotel guests - Mrs. Richards, who is visiting the hotel from Brighton. Portrayed flawlessly by the late Joan Sanderson, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find anyone more acerbic and tactless than this old battleaxe. But it's a familiar problem in hotels - guests like this come along often and all the staff can do is deal with them until they finally check out. Then, of course, there is the subplot of Basil secretly betting on the horses after a long absence (Sybil: "We don't want that avenue of pleasure opened up again, do we, Basil?!" Basil: "No YOU don't, dear.") which serves as the lead-in to the story's punch line. Thanks to Andrew Sachs, the Mrs. Richards head-banging scene stayed in (Basil: "Is this a piece of your brain?!") In a recent interview, he mentioned that John Cleese and Connie Booth didn't think it was any good and wanted to replace it. The entire scene is screamingly funny. Ballard Berkely (the Major Gowen) is at his most virtuosic as the dense and forgetful old codger. Many great lines, but the best have to come from the confrontation between Polly and Mrs. Richards regarding the toilet paper, and the one between her and Manuel ("Si que what?!")

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best Line BasilTheRatGirl
Was this the first time we saw the Ugly American personifcation? burtsbeesfan
'aging, brilliantine stick insect' eastcoastguyz
Funniest moments fletch37
First OPENLY gay character in a sitcom? old-skool101
Connie Booth's Accent SammyDylan15
Discuss Communication Problems (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: