Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fawlty Towers

Another must watch TV show from the BBC in the UK, well even a must laugh comedy classic, that is still voted as one of the most successful comedies ever produced by the BBC. The title "Fawlty Towers" refers to  the name of the fictional hotel in Torquay, however it was based on a real hotel in Torguay that the Monty Python team stayed at. John Cleese was amazed by the owner of the hotel a Mr Donald Sinclair, who seemed to have behaved just like the charachter Bsil Fawlty. The guests were in the way, and everything was too much trouble. Donald died in 1981, but the show was a worldwide hit by then, and he knew the show was based on him.

John Cleese and his wife and co star Connie Booth, set out and wrote the first series of the show, both were taking a rest from the other huge cult show "Monty Pythons Fling Circus" and writing for ITV series "Doctor In The House" Fawlty Towers first show aired on BBC2 in 1975, and even now regularly is voted the best comedy ever in the UK.

Its hard to imagine that the first episodes script was rejected by the BBC at the time, they needed more non studio shots, which of course put production costs up, which forced Cleese to make TV commercials to earn, and those were some of the funniest commercials too.

Here are some clips from "Fawlty Towers.

Andrew Sachs died in 2016.

The Wedding Party
The Builders

Only six episodes were made in 1975, and because Cleese was unable to keep the scripts to 30 mins, so it became the first comedy series that had different running times each episode, its amazing that the BBC allowed it, because it called problems for the schedulers, and when sold to the US it was even more of a problem.

Series one won a BAFTA award in 1976, and numerous awards from the people over the years and kept it and keeps it today a must watch tv event..

Episodes of "Fawlty Towers" Series One
A Touch Of Class
The Builders
The Wedding Party
The Hotel Inspectors
Gourmet Night
The Germans

Each episode was non stop laughing, and the relationship between all the charachters jelled from the word go.

Perhaps the most classic clip from the first series came in "The Germans". Try not to laugh here it is.

Series two was delayed until 1979, partly because John Cleese and his wife Connie Booth had got divorced, but still were friends and managed to co write and develop the characters from series one.

Episodes Of Fawlty Towers Series Two.
Communication Problems
The Psychiatrist
Waldorf Salad
The Kipper And The Corpse
The Anniversary
Basil And The Rat

The second series was cut short because of a BBC strike, and also meant that the last episode was transmitted several weeks later. Even worse news, despite rumours of a missing episode and remakes, that was it. Fawlty Towers never opened its doors again, except for a reunion documentary in 2009.

The Main Cast
John Cleese, born John Marwood Cleese in 1939,  played Basil Fawlty and he started in the 70s in "Monty Pythons Flying Circus", he wrote for numerous comedy shows and even starred with Miss Piggy in "The Muppet Show". Some of the film credits in the 70s included "And Now For Something Completely Different","Monty Python And The Holy Grail" "Life Of Brian".

Prunella Scales, born Prunella Magaret Rumney Illingsworth in 1932, and played Basils wife Sybil. She appeared in many BBC programmes during the 70s including "Jackanory","The Big Job","BBC2 Playhouse".

Connie Booth, born 1944 and played the waitress Polly Sherman. Connie played also in "And Now For Something Completely Different", "Monty Pythons Flying Circus","Play For Today"in the 70s.

Andrew Sachs, born 1930 and played the Spanish waiter with a poor grasp of English. He also starred in the 70s in "Rising Damp","The Basil Brush Show","Are You Being Served".

Other stars came through the doors of Fawlty Towers to make oit such a comedy classic.

Here is John Cleese talking about "Fawlty Towers".

One more last clip to make you smile the rest of the day.

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