Fawlty Towers (1975–1979)
14 user 1 critic

The Germans 

A moose head to be hung, a fire drill to be conducted, and German guests are all a bit much for Basil to handle while Sybil's in hospital.


John Howard Davies (uncredited)


John Cleese (by), Connie Booth (by)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Basil Fawlty
Prunella Scales ... Sybil Fawlty
Andrew Sachs ... Manuel
Connie Booth ... Polly Sherman
Ballard Berkeley ... Major Gowen
Claire Davenport Claire Davenport ... Mrs. Wilson
Gilly Flower Gilly Flower ... Miss Agatha Tibbs
Renee Roberts Renee Roberts ... Miss Ursula Gatsby
Brenda Cowling Brenda Cowling ... Sister
Louis Mahoney ... Doctor
John Lawrence John Lawrence ... Mr. Sharp
Iris Fry Iris Fry ... Mrs. Sharp
Willy Bowman Willy Bowman ... German Guest
Nick Kane Nick Kane ... German Guest
Lisa Bergmayr Lisa Bergmayr ... German Guest


With Sybil in hospital for a few days to have an operation for an ingrown toenail, Basil is left on his own at the hotel to cope with a group of German tourists and the need for the regular semi-annual fire drill. He's not having much success with either. The guests confuse the burglar alarm with the fire alarm and when Manuel does start a fire in the kitchen, no one pays attention. Basil suffers a rather severe blow to the head leading him to insult his German guests by making constant references to the war. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


In 2013, the BBC edited the Major's racist language from a repeat transmission of the episode, causing some criticism by viewers. The BBC defended its decision, claiming "We are very proud of Fawlty Towers (1975) and its contribution to British television comedy. But public attitudes have changed significantly since it was made and it was decided to make some minor changes, with the consent of John Cleese's management, to allow the episode to transmit to a family audience at 7.30pm on BBC2." However, on 28 June 2013, Gold transmitted the unedited episode after the watershed. See more »


During the fire drill mix up, Manuel starts a fire in the kitchen. When he emerges, shouting 'Fire', Basil locks him in the kitchen where the fire is, and Manuel bangs on the door as if he is trapped. However, in all shots of the kitchen, there is a double door that leads to the dining room, so he could have easily got out. See more »


Manuel: Ohh, he hit me on the head.
Major Gowen: No! You hit HIM on the head. You naughty moose!
German Guest: How ever did they win?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The jokes with the names of the Nazi-leaders were slightly altered for the German version to fit spelling in the German language. See more »


Featured in Hitler: The Comedy Years (2007) See more »

User Reviews

It Isn't Ironic But It Is Brilliant
11 July 2013 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

This is it . The best remembered episode of probably the greatest comedy show Britain has ever made so do I really need to comment on it ? I will say in the 21st Century everyone associated with the show claims this episode is meant to be ironic , that is the episode is making fun of people who have to bring up the second world war every time Germany is mentioned in any context . Hmmm if I remember correctly people claim the same about LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and are we to seriously believe 20 million people tuned in to that show to hear a black character make equally racist remarks about his rabidly racist white neighbour ? I don't think so . Let's not forget even for people in Britain like myself who were born over twenty odd years after the war had ended it was impossible not to think of Germany as being a land of Stukas , Panzers and goosestepping soldiers

There is much more to this episode than German tourists and includes Basil putting up the stuffed head of a moose on the wall and a fire alarm . Of course the episode becomes ingrained in to television history once the Germans turns up and ... well you know what happens next . There's so much to remember and laugh at in this episode but my favourite line is when Basil is taking the tourists order and replies " I'll just get you hors d'oeuvres - hors doeuvres that must be obeyed at all times without question " . And so ends season one of FAWLTY TOWERS which will always win my vote as the greatest comedy Britain has ever made

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Release Date:

24 October 1975 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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