Fawlty Towers: Season 2, Episode 4

The Kipper and the Corpse (12 Mar. 1979)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
9.0
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Ratings: 9.0/10 from 535 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

One of the guests has died in his sleep, but Basil thinks it's due to serving him spoiled food.

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Title: The Kipper and the Corpse (12 Mar 1979)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Mavis Pugh ...
Richard Davies ...
Mr. White
Elizabeth Benson ...
Mrs. White
Ballard Berkeley ...
Gilly Flower ...
Renee Roberts ...
Brian Hall ...
Derek Royle ...
Mr. Leeman
Robert McBain ...
Mr. Xerxes
Pamela Buchner ...
Miss Young
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Storyline

One of the hotel's guests dies in his sleep but Basil doesn't really notice and just goes about his business, delivering the man's breakfast to his room and then complaining that he was rude and didn't thank him. Polly soon realizes he is dead and Sybil asks another guest, Dr. Price, to attend to the situation. Basil thinks the out of date kippers were the cause, but he's been dead most of the night. Pandemonium sets in when they try to remove the body without any of the guests knowing what has happened. It doesn't quite go as planned. Written by garykmcd

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Comedy

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12 March 1979 (UK)  »

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Trivia

In a 1999 interview, John Cleese said that he had asked the manager of The Savoy what the worst problem was for a hotelier. The manager said it was dealing with guests that died. This gave rise to the episode "The Kipper and The Corpse". Cleese named the corpse "Mr. Leeman" in honor of the Savoy manager. See more »

Goofs

When Basil, Polly and Manual take Mr. Leeman's body into a guest's room for a second time, we see actor Ballard Berkeley (Major Gowen) popping out at the stairwell to look, seemingly unaware it was a take. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Chase: [Manuel is checking the window for a draft that is disturbing Mrs. Chase's dog] We have to be very careful, Mr. Fawlty. He's not very strong.
Basil Fawlty: Indeed, yes. A rapid movement of air could damage him irreparably! If, um, if only one could keep him in air-tight containers.
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Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
All About Sausages
11 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fawlty Towers was notorious for rotten customer service, and this episode is a dissertation on it. It complements "Waldorf Salad" and "Basil the Rat" (the final episode) quite well - this time, dead bodies with a subplot involving ill-prepared kippers (and sausages) are brought into the mix. A group of executives drop off Mr. Leeman at the hotel - he dies during the night, but the hotel staff think it's a result of food poisoning of that morning's breakfast. Painstaking efforts are made by Basil, Manuel, and Polly to hide the body - carting the corpse up and down stairs, eventually depositing it first in one of the closets in a guest room and then in the kitchen. As Andrew Sachs has mentioned, they cast the Leeman character with a small man (Derek Royle) so as to make all the hauling a bit easier. The supporting cast in this one are especially good (Geoffrey Palmer as the snobby sausage-loving Dr. Price, and Mavis Pugh as Mrs. Chase, owner of the sausage-loving shi-tzu dog). Gilly Flower, who plays Ms. Tibbs, got a fairly big part in this episode after many episodes with one and two-liners, and she did it very well.

This is the episode with the well-known 'Basil pokes Manuel in the eye' scene and a bit where Basil walks in on a guest preparing to have his way with an inflatable sex doll. By episode's end, it seems like just about everyone has 'had it' with the lousy hotel - even Manuel belts out a firm, "Meeester Fawlty, I no wan' to work here anymore! I on strike!" But in the end, Basil is the one who gets the respite and once again, leaves Sybil to solve the day's problems. Personally, I think this would've been a good episode to end the series. Although unintentionally, it rounds out the other episodes nicely and pretty much drives home the fact that Fawlty Towers is a hotel that's beyond help.


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