Fawlty Towers: Season 2, Episode 1

Communication Problems (19 Feb. 1979)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
9.3
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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 »

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Title: Communication Problems (19 Feb 1979)

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

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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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
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Storyline

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

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Comedy

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19 February 1979 (UK)  »

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Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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?
[...]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Gwine to Run All Night, or De Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by John Cleese
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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?!")


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