Fawlty Towers: Season 2, Episode 3

Waldorf Salad (5 Mar. 1979)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Customer dissatisfaction with the Fawlty Towers dining experience comes to a head when an insistent American comes for a stay.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Boa ...
Mr. Harry Hamilton
Claire Nielson ...
Mrs. Hamilton
Norman Bird ...
Mr. Arrad
Stella Tanner ...
Mrs. Arrad
Terence Conoley ...
Mr. Johnston
June Ellis ...
Mrs. Johnston
Anthony Dawes ...
Mr. Libson
Ballard Berkeley ...
Gilly Flower ...
Renee Roberts ...


An American couple arrives at the hotel late at night expecting to be served a hot dinner. But with the chef off for the night, Basil is forced to make the dinner himself. Things get even more complicated when the two Americans begin ordering meals that Basil has never heard of. Written by Nadia Nassar

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Release Date:

5 March 1979 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Cleese said that he based Fawlty Towers on a real hotel that he and his fellow Pythons once stayed at. The owner said that Terry Gilliam was "too American" because he ate with his fork in the wrong hand. This may have inspired Basil's treatment of the American guest in this episode. See more »


In "The Waldorf Salad", during the conversation between Mr. Hamilton and Sybil after "Is your husband all right?" she takes out a pack of cigarettes, and one second later, after a shot of Mr. Hamilton, it's smoking in her hand. See more »


Mrs. Johnston: I think those prawns might be a bit off.
Basil Fawlty: Oh, I don't think so.
Mrs. Johnston: Well, they do taste rather funny.
Basil Fawlty: Well, no one else has complained.
Mrs. Johnston: Well, I really do think they're off.
Basil Fawlty: But you've eaten half of them.
Mrs. Johnston: Well, I didn't notice at the start.
Basil Fawlty: You didn't notice at the start.
Mrs. Johnston: No, really, it was the sauce. I wasn't sure.
Basil Fawlty: So you ate half to MAKE sure?
See more »


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

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User Reviews

It's Meant As Parody Not As A Documentary
14 July 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

An American couple come to stay at Fawlty Towers . Being Americans they expect the best service possible . It goes without saying that they're not going to get it at this hotel

I'm somewhat surprised at some of the comments on this page regarding this episode . On its initial broadcast I thought it one of the very best episodes from the show an opinion that hasn't been diminished by time and multiple viewings . Its agenda is probably not so much satire but parody and this it does perfectly

There's probably a perception in Britain in the 1970s that most Americans are loud philistines only interested in money . This probably a hang-over from the war when the Yanks were over paid over sexed and over here . The British perception amongst the general public is probably even less complimentary with the only people defending Americans being British soldiers who have served in recent war zones . Their praise for Americans is boundless so stop taking things so seriously guys

The episode revolves around the constant premise of the show that Basil finds himself in a tight spot and tries to dig himself out only to dig himself in to a deeper hole . Like Mrs Richards from the season debut and Mr Hutchinson from season one it involves a very difficult guest a Mr Hamilton who is portrayed as a parody of a loud mouthed American philistine . Again it could have descended in to farce but there's an air of reality about the differences between British and American culture and it's the show that made the Waldorf Salad a much better known dish in the British Isles

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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