Fawlty Towers Re OpenedNov 11, 2021
Lessons They Don't Get Making sure Zabita Kennedy dodges the question Thirty years after she left our television screens. Fawlty Towers is still recognized as the benchmark by which all other sitcoms are measured. young and they sit down thinking they are going to enjoy it now after three minutes they think oh no you see what the popularity of Fawlty Towers is going to happen I think nowadays it is a lot to do this job in ordinary situations because there is something that our Timeless Kind of People Can Relate To These Two Themes Impulsive Tonight For The First Time John Cleese and Connie Boobs The show's writers and co-stars are breaking their silence to share their secrets of how this classic comedy was made, including a glimpse into its forced manual.
It didn't save our march, but I think Fawlty Towers became a kind of haven for our demons and angels. the true cost of manuals. comic stunts. Going down I could hear the angels singing. I thought thank goodness it's the last shot of the show because a car has to do it and how the BBC almost ran into this comedy. The crown jewels slipped through her fingers. Terrible as its title, which I don't see as being any better divorced, there were only 12 half-hour episodes of Fawlty Towers on the screen between 1975 and 1979, but it's still a timeless classic.
Fawlty Towers survived because it's brilliantly written, brilliantly acted, precision comedy I have to say, I always feel like there are many, many, many more episodes and I think that's because of the richness of the stories and characters. It was beautifully written and he dutifully directed them. John, Connie and Andrew are wonderful people to work with and I am proud and grateful that man's skin is funny if it doesn't happen to you she sure can come back. You could describe
towersas a tragedy with the ughs ok if the good lord went to one more time i'll get you close to him now please i've been in some of the worst sitcoms and i'll be back to produce them and ever since the first time and Fawlty Towers though this is the best the best A little bit about working on voltages was the show itself when it came out and everyone's reaction and the fact that it's still being shown around the world and they keep sending us little ones checks.
I am sitting here. I had breakfast kaput I'm eating sausages it's not allowed look I'm a doctor and a doctor and I want my Fosters it's good to have that on the CV I did a faulty TAS you know when I work with Ralph fritz and Porsha go field long sleeve a drop you and Ron please at ten twenty five to go John Cleese unleashed the toughest man in sitcom the father of dysfunctionals characters so tragic so flawed and yet so hilariously good John has created a wonderful comic creation in Basil Fawlty he is just one of the t Classic comic book characters of all time have something about Basil that makes them a very good character for our time.
I think for a type of rush and anxieties. Here's the origin symbol of mania and hysteria, but there's more to this classic sitcom than just riddle 40 than others his domineering, dependable civil acid-tongued wife Polly, the ditzy resident overworked waitress gets the older and Manuel simply the most famous television writer in history who is from Barcelona those trades there is too much butter on those trays no no no say you are no no in those attempts no sir oh no boss after 30 years the original producer of the show has returned to the BBC archives to unearth the production files of Fawlty Towers and rediscover the dusty details oh hear me on the show costs for the first episode in 1975 was around £20,000 a little more John Cleese probably only got around £20,000 £400 or something we were really terrible stingers when you think about it absolutely unbelievable how little things cost in those days but it was a cheap show as evidenced by the flexibility of the set that's why it was shaky a little from time to time because we never had enough money to really structure it it wasn't shaky click a was pulled from the original set there and instantly recognizable despite that this was done long before the sets were actually designed, as well as being pummeled, smashed, and knocked over. it was created by using two chemicals one on top of the other and they create the smoke and you don't feel it through the jacket this is the theory can we take the jacket off? you ever watch that episode you sympathize with my pain he's always bringing i'll let him win when he writes me a good part soon we reveal the real life inspiration for Basil Fawlty don't twin me your rooms have suddenly and a breakfast was also exactly a bit I thought what this is really yes running a hotel was so free Lulu Victor's like all British hoteliers he operated on the principle that he could run this hotel properly if it weren't for the guests and here first hand the inside story of screenwriting within of a marriage.
I think John and I wrote better together than we did together, so stay tuned for the grand reopening of talkies. Notorious author 30 years after his departure. Fawlty Towers still retains its ability to make the British audience laugh out loud among its many claims to fame, of course, it gave us one of the most iconic comedy characters ever created, the irrepressible Basil Fawlty. goals he's still failing ELISA he's a success she's not funny flops funny and fought he just fails triumphantly every day at some point ridiculous figure who takes something s to the extreme you know whatever emotion he has is extreme everything is fine a bit of a bump just moving it around is smart but emotionally it just doesn't work well because he's operating on a world map that just doesn't work and he doesn't realize that being reasonably open and nice to people wouldn't make him happy you're too busy sticking your nose in every called movie about four things to complain about up to something i think there's something about his height besides his passion you know? his desperation, his anger and of course his fury, I mean it's all there I guess, I don't think anyone can do it except John played these characters who are pretty good at intimidating people in an overbearing way, knocking him down with a mouth or two shutting up or giving them a quick whack to the side of the head this happened in Python and that was the... of course the relationship he created with Manuel and young John could do that very, very well, yeah when it's ok but in the I take it I take it come here I have a waste of space oh I could see elements of Basil Fawlty in characters that John played in Python to see the same kind of thinking that went into that kind of physical comedy in him what made Sin Walk so successful came into Fawlty Towers John played a character or two in Python we're kind of mad it was kind of a joke just sitting at the table on the garden tour has something that's becoming completely crazy entity over the world and banging on the table and John played this was just John might think the thing about Basil Fawlty is that there's a lot of John in him it's John's pent up anger I mean he spent thirty years going to his shrink but why if he is angry, you had so much anger in him.
I have a feeling that situations could arise where he would almost drive me personally crazy. Yeah, something manic somewhere. Only people talk to me at parties sometimes. Adly and I have fantasies about picking things up you know cheese but I've never had the courage to do this and I can do it on stage you know Basil Fawlty for them why do they think I have to be Basile Fawlty to be able to write this I mean of course I have that on me but I have all the other characters I play you know you have to have all these emotions available to you and then when you make sure when they ask you to play a role you cut out some of them and blow up and play a lot more forcefully some of them other emotions but that's what you do it's like having a palette you choose this color this color in this color but not the others you see what I mean so for a different character you choose different colors John found the inspiration for his hard line hotel, yes, when the Monty Python crew checked into a Torquay hotel during filming in May 1971, we were in Turkey because we were shooting everything outside, t All the outside parts of Monty Python and we stayed in this hot one and the first night we decided we would eat at all we were having dinner and the owner mr.
Donald Sinclair was wondering very badly if he wasn't doing anything to help because he was being so benevolent and he walked past the Python table where we were all eating and Terry Gilliam had done what Americans do which is cut the meat like this and then they put it's. knife down transfer the fork from this hand and pierce the meat with your right hand and you stopped and I really stared and then you said get it we don't eat like that in this country and you were pretty shocked because it was completely out of nowhere we were shooting the next day and I said: can you call us?
Let me call in the morning and it looked a little yeah yeah what time did I say we're around a quarter to 7:00. at 7:00 and he's like a quarter to seven you want me during your rooms suddenly you want breakfast too that was exactly how much i thought this is really set up he's running a hotel i don't think he actually likes the guests i think he suffered from them and i don't think he liked working at the hotel i didn't see him close the pirate either just after nine one night he said he was going to bed and it was time for everyone else to go to bed too one day me and eric we were waiting for the car that would take us to film and Eric left his briefcase by the door where he had rested it while we were playing catch with a tennis ball and when he came back he walked over to the desk and Sinclair Sloan come here excuse me I'm crazy what now?
It's that I left the briefcase. I'll put it behind the wall why did you put it why did you put it behind behind the wall we thought it might be a bomb and with bob and search I said ok we've had a lot of problems with the staff that's why someone would come put a bomb in a briefcase I told Mike I thought we couldn't stay here I really can't I didn't know The comic possibility is that Jordan sees John. Somehow it worked with Connie, the logic of a Sinclair coup Basil Fawlty position, which is basically that it's the people you're making your money from that are causing you problems and if they weren't, life would be much easier, but there is a flaw.
John capitalized on the indelible impression left by mr. Sinclair while he was writing for the hit ITV series dr. overall one of them was set in a hotel emergency room and i remembered the original character Donald Sinclair Timothy Bateson did a terrific performance the prototype Basil Fawlty was ready yes in the end a Humphrey Barkley bless him you told me I know there is a series of that carrot. I thought about series all the time. Thank you, Humphrey, but Basil took a backseat for another three years as John continued to conquer the known world as part of the innovative Monty Pipe comedy collective.
Then after five years of notable success John suddenly left the Pythons we were all very unhappy when John left the series, although it was no surprise that Jeff always planned to leave I think after the first series he planned to leave felt he would have enough of us if none of the others really understood. I think Erica understood a little bit, but I don't think they understood why she wanted lead poisoning. ourselves and I thought I didn't want to do the third series by turning our back on the subversive SATA please joined forces with his wife of thirty years Connie Boo, the former New York waitress to create something completely different, a mainstream sitcom after I finished Monty Python.
I always wanted to do something with Connie and a lovely man asked me out. Could Jimmy Gilbert, the maid, have some light entertainment? She said what do you want to do and I said I'd like to do something with him and Carly. He said great why don't you come home and you told Akane to call me tell me what you'd like to do John wanted to do something based on Donald Sinclair so he asked if I wanted to try him writing a pilot and we kind of enjoyed writing what we did together I think the fact that we were husband and wife, you know there aren't many places you can't go and John could really make me laugh, I think he'd always said he'd write with Connie at some point and I think it was just a relief. not having to write with gray. in a group, Gray didn't do very well on his own, perhaps he felt that Connie had supplanted him as a writer.
I know this because John told me that Connie was very important to writing those programs, and in fact, in general, his contribution has been somewhat neglected or demeaned and John isHe said that she was very, very important in the way the ideas came together, so John needed someone else there, like I did with Terry Jones, you need someone to bounce around comedy and think of ideas and someone who I can tell you I know it doesn't work, we created it together, I think it was the plot work, but John's facility with language is extraordinary and he was wonderful to work with.
Production on the pilot began on January 23, 1975, and the first person to commit to the new show was Creasy's former Python director. When I first read the pilot script at age 40, I was actually forbidden to read it in bed because I laughed so hard and even though we lived half a mile from the nearest house we were in great danger of embarrassing the neighbors I think it was very Exciting in the first series because it was this little thing we were doing in a back room. I never thought I'd get anywhere near Pyth figures in what's to come, we break down the method behind the madness.
The Laugh was based on love for Connie, oh she's a pig for saying that but it's true. I guess that's enough and it reveals that she has one of the forty. The year is 1975. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier have a thriller in Manila while Arthur Ashe becomes the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon London is snowed in in June and Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female leader of a political party but not that's why 1975 is a landmark year it's the year 40 Towers makes its debut on September 19th to be exact I don't remember exactly why we wrote the Lord Melbury episode first I don't think he went particularly to establish that it's not very well but then that went there and he was kind of an obvious star could you put both names please well we didn't give me a date yes I just use one you don't have a first name you know I'm Lord Melbury so That I just sign the mail, boy, go now, is there anyone?
All I can do for you in Lourdes apparent reserve at Fawlty Towers was just classic battles suddenly cringed and obsequious. a bit of my dad on this because he totally bought into the english class system if i married a duke he would have duke's daughter everything lol hold me but one guy started he would have craved his genes you know this, I could have gone straight. it skyrocketed in those days if you were lower middle class quite different from being middle class he was lower middle class aspirational millions of people like that millions of people like that actually then the end of the decade put Margaret Thatcher in power like that which had to had great strength in terms of social history what was going on so he wants to be in a professional class but he owns a hotel and one of the fascinating things is the way Sybil keeps pulling him back to cognac land quite fascinating few doctors or both being doctors porter less doctors as at one point i was contemplating becoming a surgeon keeping a tight rein on the stick insect of a husband that is sybil
fawltywhen we started writing true we weren't sure how the character was going to be played and in the first full reading after the first day we walked out of rehearsal and Connie and I said, well or, how about having produced it before and we were both a bit worried because it wasn't what we had in mind.
I thought Sybil was going to be very difficult to cast, so we were very lucky to get proof because she's complicated. and in the second our worries completely disappeared because we saw what she was doing and realized that it was better than what we had in mind, but the interesting thing is that I'm not even sure that Prue knows that. s and I hope you don't mind. I wasn't that familiar with her work in those days. Right before we started writing it we went to see a really funny lady named Bridgett Turner and Carney and I said we should offer this to Bridget and we sent the script and Bridget wrote a really nice soul she just texted back saying no she felt it was right for her so she passed it on so we said john howard davis we don't know who you suggest she said well i think you should use prue's ability.
I'm kissing you to death at 43 scales. Prunella was already a veteran of stage and screen. Sybil would become her most infamous and celebrated creation. hello, yes, it's going too well. They sent me to see. John Cleese was in bed with the flu and they took me to his room and he was in bed and he said what do you think of the scripts and I said I think I'm absolutely brilliant and he said oh well well well um any questions and I said to them yes um why did they get married and he said oh god i thought he was scared and would you ask me oh shoot help they are always renewing you what oh never mind never mind don't yell at me i had a hard morning oh gosh what happened you got tangled in the duvet again your friends for so long you didn't have time to perm your ears i think it was my idea that maybe she wasn't as classy as him and what she fell for was his kind of manners and upper class accent and all what i said i had very soon was a kind of woman who could make love and paint her nails at the same time and her class was evident the tight shiny skirts the pretensions to play golf the high heels and complete and utter control of her h ombre some more of those pathetic locks attack pigeons heels bow on your surface that was based on someone i died died name in the business and as a child Laughter was based on love for connie oh it's a pig, he said that, but it's true.
I guess I remember I had an acting coach in New York who's help, I really hate it when you laugh, you know what I can say? She would exhale and then she would draw it, but she would laugh because a great thing about Connie is that when she laughs, she just breaks her stomach, you know, and she would do this, so we incorporated it. So many machines with a stamp, but when Fawlty Towers started to take shape, not everyone thought sitcom was a great idea with Python. I think we were all aware that we were trying to up the ante and have animation as the link. and integrate movies a lot more and be a lot more experimental in the way that we put the show together and there's nothing experimental about Fawlty Towers, it just seemed very, very traditional.
I don't recall any kind of negative reaction from my friends, except for a couple. of the pythons I mean Terry Jones I remember he called me I think a traitor I was really surprised when John decided to do it You know he does a straight sitcom it's not straight it's funny it's a wonderfully funny show but I was surprised he decided to go the route from the sitcom Eddie, the funny thing was how everyone got everything wrong, I mean, even the guy who was reading scripts for light entertainment at the time, said, I'm afraid I thought this one was just as terrible as its title. he's some kind of Prince of Denmark of the hotel world a collection of clichés and stop characters that i don't see as anything but a mess if i read the guy's name out loud no he won't retire the helots will let him go but he just shows that people have no idea what day, surprisingly the first episode of Fawlty Towers was not an instant hit in a time when Britain only had three TV channels. initial reaction i think the sunday mirror said long johns no jokes which the reviewer thought was totally irrelevant and didn't hurt our feelings it certainly made it with tyson longer so people would understand but when they do it seems like they understand it more because it took a little bit of time.
I was finding my feet working with John and I think my performance was pretty forced, but whatever John was I think he was able to help me with moving forward and coming up with ideas once we saw them do their performances, it helped Connie and I greatly to Bill. to bezel it was Polly, the underpaid waitress. Connie was not only hilarious, she was a great dramatic actress, but at the same time she knew that she had no experience working in the demanding conditions of a sitcom where you have five days. to rehearse something which isn't much and then you have a day in the studio and two hours of it from a studio audience and that's very demanding too Oh sounds good it comes with a smile it comes with carrot sprouts no extra smiles you will I'll get one if you eat all your sprouts.
We deliberately did not give him an important role. I didn't want him to wear anything. It was going to be too difficult at first, but if you look at the first show, she did that. she's delaying her performance a bit and then she blossoms i mean she's wonderful she's really please put the bottle back in its place i think she's the least defined of all the characters she's kind of a go-between for sybil and basil like they're her surrogate parents, she's there to keep the peace, Polly is really a sympathetic character because she's the voice of sanity, she still shows up, madness happens, and yet she tries to snap Basile out of her.
You feel very good, it wasn't in itself a terribly funny character, but in a way, she was maybe the straight guy type, oh yeah, we thought you said that Linnet had some wonderful female characters and all the women were very well defined and strong are the women saving the day over and over again i mean its Polly saving basil from a jam with sybil and sybil saving basil from his clients its a perfect dance basil is sexist with fawlty
towersthey are certainly not sexist i love the scene The one where Polly slaps me across the face because I've taken this because out of fear of Sybil if you really look at Basil's motivation aside from snobbery what it's really about is not letting him just throw a tantrum because he just doesn't he can handle it, he's more scared than anything. otherwise, within the second episode, not even Polly can protect Basil from the full force of Sybil's fury in the builder episode, where David Kelly is hit with the umbrella.
Fawlty, I like a woman with spirit, oh, you are what you do. Someone on the ground said, look, umbrellas are heavy and the ribs and umbrella can break yours, so I got an idea where I ended up with the guys. the floor rolling foam on it maybe i'm better twice as white and then when she floated me and as he points out she likes it along with spurs and civilian hats furniture yet to come how the world's worst waiter became a national traitor and the cast recalled the intense rehearsal process required to bring this carefully crafted classic to our screens.
The interpretation of the series was always difficult. We were under enormous pressure. We really didn't know. On Wednesday morning there were problems. but in October 1975, Fawlty Towers was fast becoming a must see for comedy fans, let me explain, and it was the clumsy, wild but well-intentioned Spaniard from Barcelona, who stole the hearts of the nation, even if he had a complete command of the language the great joy of the series for me and maybe for everyone is Manuel and Andrew Sachs Manuela was amazing and Andrew played her so well he is a wonderful character actor but I seem to remember having Manuel from the beginning. starting at rehearsal so i thought it was wonderful i mean it's a wonderful and joyous creation everyone wants to hug Manuel and take him home and put him on the mantel the man behind this lovely spaniard was actually born in berlin, a character of forty-five years. actor andrew sacks was starring in a hit show in the west end when he got the call that would change his life - hours like these the way i see him manuel is a very happy man even though everyone in the hotel abuses him i think it is happy because i guess he comes from a big family ten eleven people maybe his children and to be noticed there in barcelona or wherever you have to attract attention you do something bad they beat you clean you clean it's not clean now british family was adopted in the years forty represented his father and mother in some way and he knew that he was being appreciated because they pushed to send the relationship in basil and Manuel could have again been very cruel and unpleasant and Manuel was simply based on an idea, which was that in London in the In the 1970s, if you went to a restaurant, you were very, very lucky to get what you asked for and the reason was that restaurant owners had discovered that by hiring people who were supposed to no language known they could save a lot of money and John did the physical comedy very well I mean John used to hit him over the head or push him through doors I love violence or Manuel It made me pretty bitter I gave the spoon thing with a hateful he been in a lot of violence i like comedy of violence i think it's very good makes you laugh when in doubt hit someone he must have gone home battered and bruised so many times sions, you know, and his wife must have said what this did to you night, honey, he hurt him when he hit me with a spoon. laughing because it's one of the elements of the fast you're going to get knocked over get over her eating Andrew bored her the worst and there were times I mean certainly she was trying to eat it with apan once with a glancing blow I'm crawling he comes back after me grabs a pan and walks off like this but instead of stopping with this critical eighth of an inch he didn't just found he could hear the angels singing caught up and had a headache for two days and thank god it was about the last shot shown so he was able to continue the man became terribly famous all over the world and it was really nice really that he's so different for me.
How much interest must have come to that and I was very happy doing it putting on the uniform putting on the accent for the gym we'll fix it or something I think you should give him whatever it is to fix it but because he learns English very well do you like to put that around his neck? What about that? Now, unfortunately, Basil's pent-up frustration doesn't end with his personal one, where he was attacking me at the table. The actors always get a little closer when the audience is there. a bit of a red mist at night you know it happens and we all accept it happens so i think i got a little squashed at the moment you know but basil's mistreatment of guests spilled over to the long term residence as well the senile the clumsy major and the wacky spinsters miss Gatsby and miss toothy Basel isn't so horrible for his busy as it is for the guests there they are part of his routine and part of the household so he can control them in a way and they want to take care of him, but he won't let them because even though he's never really cruel to them or to all the mains when Kanye and I wrote the main in the first episode, I don't think we thought of anything. repeating the character but when you see something and and you go oh that's good we think he'll be a regular how are you you really grew up with us and I love you know the scene with the five headed moose girl he also got a different quality from John, I think with a major because you I felt he liked the older man I fell in love with Bella in part I just thought he was the best English gentleman of a slightly bygone era there was a sweetness to him and a kindness was very, very moving as a former matinee idol and much loved TV actress Donna Barkley brought over 40 years of experience to the role, well my mom, a lot of people don't realize how old dad was when he started making 40 towers. when he finished it and people forget, you know he, you know, he had had a career of about 60 years before, we never got nervous about dad being the oldest because he was a great character for him because he was so like him except he didn't he wet you like th no he was so suave and charming and got away with things he was always thought to be some kind of military man so when it comes to his war service i think most people really think he must have been in the army. but of course, as we know, he was in the police and he got beat up there, which is great for him because he loved the west.
There were his friends. I mean you know because I took her to see India at the oval he was a crazy cricket fan and I remember one time he was rehearsing a scene with Simple and we were doing the dialogue and I looked and there was a ballad which meant the Australian third wicket he was dead even i waited for the end of the scene my daughter will still almost inevitably come forward and say my grandfather because he loves to talk about him and it is because he gets us a good reaction as well as big screen stars the atmosphere of the hotel also offered the perfect setting for some of the British. most beloved actors to sign on as guest stars you knew you were invited to be in something very special so it was a great privilege in one i felt lucky John and Tommy wrote a script that is unbelievably good and they gave it away via the talented writers now Finish I think what John Connor wrote was very tight and very complete much more than most programs.
There wasn't much room for improvement. These sitcom veterans were drawn to the show by the gag-filled scripts that are now considered a master class in sitcom writing Connie and I used to spend six weeks figuring out each script and something like two and a half weeks before writing. one line of dialogue john had a small study and a very large desk the desk faced the wall i just started playing i used to type on an old fashioned typewriter but we would sit and talk to each other and you know i could write one word, it was saying what was that thing that happened, do you remember the scene where the lovely aussie girl has got the little handprint on her bosom, well i had that idea and we were writing weeks later.
Connie said what was this idea we had about us that would work here and I said yes but oh that's something in the closet. he did something I took John down he's very instinctive and I think he knew he wanted to be monitored somehow and that's why he wanted me on board Basile just checking the doors I think women were very very well written on 40 fingers and that was basically Connie because I remember I suggested a line early on and Connie said a woman would never say that now you really wouldn't know what why you know it was a tremendous learning process and even though at first I was writing most of basil and Manuel and she was writing Sybil and Polly towards the end, we were much more crossed and she was writing much more amazing, but this fast pace presented big problems production-wise.
Fawlty Towers differed from many of the sitcoms that were current at the time, but by virtue of the script's bulk, the average sitcom script was between 60 and 70 pages. These scripts had 120 hundred and thirty pages. Most of the episodes were too long, so Connie and Jon had to rewrite them and actually do I think there are still two much more than that, normal. I mean, it's not 29 minutes and 30 seconds, it's 35 minutes, all that kind of stuff. of modern sitcom production I always believe you can't do comedy fast enough and I always hoped it would get there on time. farce and timing were very important and it was a very physically demanding show.
I think it was difficult for everyone, mr. Thurston is the gentleman I'm dealing with right now what Mr. Richard is the general, the vesica mummy rehearsed a new rug all day, right? John's great input and desire for perfection and getting it absolutely right and it's there in the final product. We have Monday off. Tuesday morning. if you really didn't know on wednesday morning there were problems yes it was disciplined it had to be we get it we had to go through a lot of script not in my case because actually if you look at my part it's just not Big is a rat You have rats in Spain You never shot Franco again It's a rat It's not a pigeon It was a feat of learning And I went back to bed in a library and I'd lie down on the floor, I would record all the other lines in a tape recorder and i would lie on the floor and have it close to my ear and i would be doing my lines on the lines i had recorded if that was the only way to do it i couldn't do it now i could do a show but i couldn't be there at 10 o'clock the second walk was just beginning in the morning because the pressure was relentless and people were telling me if you enjoyed it and I was telling them I didn't have time even though most of the filming was confined to the The BBC Studios team ventured into the altercation with a of the scenes more Memorable moments from the show shot on a quiet suburban street in Herrin when we were working gourmet night and the car broke down and John was improvising because we hadn't entered into dialogue.
He started to lose his temper with a car and swear by it. He now he hit the car. He has to attack it. Everyone says that hitting cars is funny, but when we were shooting, we had the car. part of my branch duties was to order accessories. I ordered a selection of branches and before turning around before trying something. John had a trial period with branches. The first branch I tried to hit with was too stiff. it was like a rod and it just wasn't fun it wasn't remotely for me it wasn't just less fun it wasn't fun so I went and bought some kind of wispy willow kinda and started changing the towel with it and that was It wasn't fun and it was just when i got the third piece and i felt like i went back to then.
It was fun, but I didn't know it until I did it physically, which I thought felt good at the time. Basel improves foreign relations. you know everything you shouldn't say comes out and the writers relationship breaks down there was a big gap between their two series because me and tony up until the time we got divorced despite the flawless storylines that would be stung in The nation's consciousness Fawlty Towers was slower than an instant success, but by the end of its first series, the sitcom had nearly doubled its viewing figures with nearly three and a half million viewers tuning in to watch the final episode simply titled the Germans, the veal chop is ready. rosemary and nutritious in fact it's really good no german episode is quite brilliant it's kind of the right thing you know everything you shouldn't say comes out but that's also helped by the size of the flawed oh in the market together old forgotten differences and I don't need to mention the wall sorry he can't help it he's quite a prejudiced English snob and no matter how he tries to cover it up as he must try to by running this place he can't basil it's vile to The Germans emerging extremely polite aren't portrayed as humorless and pushy or anything which was a very interesting episode because I was just deliberately writing basil as being, you know, completely vile to these nice people.
You've invaded the puns and this huge, tall man starts goose-stepping and then he puts his finger up like this. You know, I mean there are no half measures. This is very heavy, very, very heavy. leg out and the goose came out oh people were screaming it was just an amazing moment. I've always made a personal reference to the Germans episode because people talk about it a lot and sometimes I kind of wonder like the maroon elf and the problem that Johnny Spate used to say if people laugh out of animosity towards the Germans, I was in the the point of that from the beginning was to make fun of people who still cling to those antediluvian attitudes and it annoys me and what I notice about the Germans is how they love it Germans have it's obviously annoyed us a lot otherwise it would only be half as funny no but to be serious to be serious it was taken very well by the vast majority of German audiences when the best moments of my life were at the Atlantic Hotel in Hamburg and suddenly, while I was chatting with the concierge, a great German businessman gleeful listened to jordan and yelled across the hall ad i turned around and said all mentions of everything huh and the whole hall is cracking up it was a wonderful moment i thought I know it's great now we can move on flawed Tallis is a period piece in terms of dealings with foreign Irish of any kind there's absolutely a lot of xenophobia and racism in Fawlty Towers but because it's a character thing it's soooo Basil Fawlty Laughs More is prejudice than anything written more than 30 years ago, it's easy to spot more than a splash. of racial stereotypes, but one scene in particular has become more shocking with age and the strange thing was that all morning he referred to the Indians as no no no no I didn't say they are the West Indians these people are walkers I don't think I would be able to get away with that scene now she couldn't because she couldn't justify it i can remember i saw it will she be able to the first one was now if i saw her repeat it but i remember thinking not to be or offended by it because she was speaking in a language that generation spoke of , the major is personifying, you know, a time when Fawlty would have been more comfortable and so you have to use that language, you know, yeah, it's shocking even now what they were probably more now more now because those things have been eradicated, no one could take the commander for anything more than a lovable old idiot, so you will see that there are two ways to criticize an opinion, one is to criticize it directly and the other is to express the opinion in a character who ue is ridiculous he was showing off in a way that is totally unacceptable but still resides in the type of behavior of some people despite doing little to improve Foreign 40 became a worldwide success has always been a mystery to me why certain shows work abroad my only answer is that I think it may apply to python as well is that I think we may have had what they call archetypes that there were certain kinds of people represented by the c characters that people from different cultures they could recognize shown in over 60 countries it's one of britain's most successful tv exports decent data god you know at one point the german company wanted to do a version of where they dubbed into german.
This German country understood that I come from German. It is my first language. would come andWould you play Manuel in German with a Spanish accent? fawlty i love you mr. Fawlty but the German version would be Oh her father ich liebe dich Italy with the attempts have also been made to remake this bastion of British comedy when people have tried to remake it it never worked considerably to my disappointment I mean when the Germans did it they redid them was excellent: their anti-aging tonic in adversity surpassed the net just thought it was too expensive with it there is only this unique Basel 40 character and the one and only John Cleese and maybe one came to the conclusion that it wouldn't work too with another personality.
Another hotel in another environment. I mean, it was extraordinary. The Americans tried to redo Fawlty Towers. I was surprised that they never asked me for any advice, help or feedback. And it was not good at all. Whispering Pines presents to you. Pacific Oceans Duck, yeah, the really weird one was when I met someone at a weekend party and they said, 'we've got the rights to forty thousand and we're going to remake it', I loved it. ed i said great why do we make it work this time and she said we have i said but there's one of your problems are americans familiar with these small family run hotels that's all yes it's not a problem he said you were going to make some change and they said well we just made one change we're really going to rule out Basel and I remember they said that and Bea Arthur did it they called it crazy and they took the funny lines and gave it all to be Arthur when all the motivation for the funny lines already they didn't exist as proven, there can only be a battle for two, the first series ended in spectacular style in the fall of 1975, provided they won by bagging two awards for best sitcom and best performance in children's comedy, all the people who have helped me. this year most of all i would like to thank myself without which i honestly could never hope to win this great honor so thank you very much thank you and now even though i cannot be with you i have made arrangements for the award. stay connected d So, If We Could Talk, a second series was quickly commissioned that writing was put on hold when John got together with his Python friends for a sold-out tour and to film his latest movie Life of Brian. a big gap between the two series and also Connie and I to the extent that we got divorced the work went on despite us and despite what was happening it didn't save our marriage but I think Fawlty Towers became a kind of refuge for our demons and angels and that maybe that's why we were able to go on to write the second series we had had doubts about marriage in '74 and we finally broke up in '76 and it was one of those relationships where there was an enormous amount of love and affection and still is but at first it was hard for us to live together so I moved in with Becky and I moved out and I moved out again and eventually we moved in mid '76 I think we started writing the next one. series a year later because there was no ill will for us, it was a liberation because somehow I think that also in the civil and basal relationship we were able to get out of a lot of our mutual frustrations through those characters, it was quite civil and we got to work i remember we got stuck sometimes we take walks and don't talk and there were other times john would run off like a racehorse and the job would just go on he was on his own way oh john and connie had split up and we had no idea that John would arrive and then Connie would arrive later you just thought she would come to different cabins and we had no idea they kept it so it seems particularly secret but we just went on as we went on I certainly don't recall it being a problem of any kind they worked together being random you know it was a happy unit i have never known such insolence in my life i come here to get some toilet paper and she starts asking it's the most personal insulting things I've ever heard that's why I thought I wanted writing paper I'm telling you what Connie and I didn't enjoy the second series as much as the first because we felt the pressure of to be that good.
I felt under pressure but not as much as the second series I think John made with his story that he had more at stake and could trust him to care which I did but it took off in a way that I don't think none of us have waited. the first series when you're playing and discovering and having fun it was like delivering the goods and that wasn't so much fun munt trouble coming up in the second series like a coup in the halls of the bbc jeopardizes the production we said well what was going on mr.
Worry, we can't record tomorrow on strike and we reveal how those infamous 40 signs were created. Possibly most shocking was that the diagrams at the start were very flowery twice. This is Fawlty Towers, the hotel where guests hate to stay, but spectators do. cant walk away when i pay you and spit out something more interesting than that but thats torquay malik ok now our place you expected to see from your hotel room window torquay sydney opera house hanging gardens of babylon the Terrible Torquay hotel. It is instantly recognizable by its infamous black and white exterior, although fans may be surprised to learn that this legendary landmark was actually located in leafy Buckinghamshire.
This is the actual hotel exactly halfway between my home and the BBC. I went to see it. It happened to be a country club, but it was actually perfect because of the steep incline. I was worried about her whiteness. It didn't look much like Torquay, but it still had a sort of coastal feel to it. t it stolen grains Country Club unfortunately no longer burned to the ground in 1991, possibly the most shocking thing was actually the anagrams at the beginning, wasn't it flowery twice? What was the motivation with which the paperboy always faced a battle and when he left the hotel, he always rearranged the letters, in fact, you will see McLane, the assistant manager of the series, who is here in person, I could do it, we were on vacation at the hotel and having lunch, and John said you did some crossword puzzles.
Fawlty Towers anagrams so I went to work and found only one that is a true anagram maybe others I haven't gone back to the one that was flowery tweets and said but it can't be used because it's a bit tacky and John Howard Davis and John Cleese said I think we'll fit in somewhere despite your obscene cues. Fawlty was now regarded as the jewel in BBC comedy and on February 19, 1979, four years after the first series ended, Basil was back. With a record audience of almost 13 million viewers, I was worried about the second series because at that point I had gone to an administrative job, I asked Bob Spears to do the second series and I think it turned out pretty well.
I don't think you could see the seams, it was more polished in a way, but I'm only saying this because I directed the first series I thought Barnard's first series was more fun John will probably disagree now that the second series was quite different because We knew the first series was very good and people remembered it as usually better than it was so even if it was there people remembered it as being there so we figured the new shows will be there and great i think the second series the shows are better than that with this new series came a new face a jolly cockney chef called Terra played by Brian very good don't tell me to take it easy i don't pay you to tell me take it Calmly I tell you to take it and no, I pay him to tell you to take it easy.
I think Carney and I felt that after six episodes, somehow, we needed a new element in starring Monday. Well, that would explain a lot. he his herrings he was arrogant and stronger than men good and a little slippery Frye was an absolute sweetheart he said you gave me the key to this character and i said yes and he said don't you remember i came and i asked you from the beginning in the first episode whats the key for terry and he watched police rock cities once he knew he would know how to play and he just fit so well thats our new chef who just left has popped up parrot fast as well as fresh faces the Second series gave a greater understanding of their characters, especially Basil in his heavily stuffed shirt approach to sex.
I mean, there's no time to talk in between, yeah, basil has a huge problem with sex because he's not getting it. You see I don't think puzzle and Sybil h In fact, I've had it for quite some time and what gives me away is that they're in twin beds. I guess the weirdest thing about them is the bedroom. I mean, even calmer and wiser. I slept in the same bed. The main emotion is that the poor man is unloved and feels unloved and therefore is constantly in a state of irritation there are no visitors in the guest rooms after 10 o'clock from the opposite sex no ah, but now i am so will you send a champagne what champagne are you drinking it on your own oh ok so i left it ok a bottle of champagne for one is ok and a glass unless you want to join me no thanks no when i'm in the work is when i enjoy the most thats where the beard is bond even mr.
Johnson because Mr. Johnson is obviously sexually successful and the bezel is jealous. Basil is jealous and wants to bring him down. This piece of buns. The old mummies of him. Oh, this is Richard. go out wherever you are how are you i thought the psychiatrist is serious the episode was wonderful and a new doctor is you i am a very nice psychiatrist too good joseph we were both in group therapy at the time family group therapy marital mother again indirectly, the whole idea of having a shrink in that episode and what it would do to Basil and all the sexual difficulties that was so much fun there was this extraordinary run in with the shrink where you think he's asking how often do you have six Now the kind of angle sophisticated that exists is that Basil Fawlty is actually obsessed with sex, which would be because he can't actually handle it in real life, we were just speculating. know how people in your profession organize their vacations how often you can go out often manage it how often you and your wife can manage it you don't mind me asking sollozzo on average since she was mm-hmm what would be the average well you tell me ok a couple of times here once a year ok we knew it must be hard my wife didn't see how you could handle it as well as you've asked for two or three times a week actually a week yeah pretty normal it's is pretty normal down here and speaking, you know, the sight of the two of them having sex is a bit nerve-wracking.
The status of Sybil and Basil's marriage was further explored on the anniversary, though viewers would have to wait a bit longer than expected to see. this slice of insel true it was going great and the most extraordinary thing was a strike at the bbc because a bricklayer punched a lively bbc executive was all he said ok what was going on and they told you Don't worry, we can't record. Tomorrow registering the Rigor was duly dismissed and, this strike being written in 1979, BBC Union promptly disbanded the industrial stock production staff and left for seven days. Ken Campbell was being played but a lovely act to train Union Halloween but Judy and Holloway said I can't do it next week I've got another job I can't quit what do we do? i have to rephrase the report kevin campbell who was a brush of basil that wonderful ken campbell character you know it's better and the way it's built everyone is so worried about sybil they have to watch sybil and the montages of unbearable weight and the nuts and the why oh it's just I think it's the good thing we had two weeks rehearsing if the cameras could get into the rest of his new part and it was the only time we really started to relax because we did the lines and enough times to really relax i dont think you had one of the best performances we ever had on that particular show how are you feeling darling?
The anniversary is my least favorite outing because I'm in it I think and I can't stand to look at anything I'm in but I can also see that I was nervous, it's pretty stressful to be a guest at something especially something as good as that. Oh, there's an extraordinarily sad moment when you see Sybil's vulnerability. I went back for my special taxi. I will not stay. You're fine, which I'm sure you know best here, you don't even want me to do to you. you pick him up and realize that she is actually quite emotionally dependent on him.
Now I'm getting easy. I think it's better, don't you Artie? he has a thought on my wrist to get her out of the hotel before all the gus just watch out, if she's not upstairs in bed, it must be someone else. Sometimes I find myself wondering what this woman is doing with this man. I mean, why did she put up with her? They obviously have a deep-rooted affection for each other I mean he knows his place you know he needs a woman like that they work so well together I'm sure there are plenty of marriages like that right?when we were first handcuffed together?
We used to laugh a lot, yes, but not at the same time. Sounds terrible, probably, but I think I have to say that Basil and Sibyl's marriages are like most marriages I've watched in my 70 years. mistakes death work together they can never escape each other now on earth let us both ever get together black magic says my mother as she now enjoys the second series she was due to come to the end of her illustrious career on April 2, 1979 back, but another strike attack through production in jeopardy once again from tonight drama filming and light entertainment will have to be suspended as a result some comedy shows had to be cancelled, including the final episode of Fawlty Towers, which will now never be made, luckily this overzealous reporter got it wrong, the final episode was made, but it would be a full six months before Basil the rat went on the air and trouble of a fairy would break out. guy always caused concent why this iconic sitcom stopped after just two series they offered jon everything to do another listening series and we go in search of the legendary missing episode it took just six hours of tv time twelve perfect episodes on average Now and even though it's been 30 years since it left our screens, this multi-award winning sitcom is still considered the best comedy it could ever get.
BBC It would be a full six months before the final episode as all the rats and we have a wrap up rehearsal went into the studio on Saturday which we never did and because we had the rats it was the only scene that was ever pre-recorded in case that there was someone in the audience or on the crew who had a real phobia about it when they told me on the first day that I was going to go into a studio and that it would be a real rat that I would be working with. that um I thought oh that's going to be interesting.
John would go out of his way to make sure everyone on the crew and in particular the cast were comfortable and that jaundice would get into her eye line and basically get data to distract her from the fact that there was a little furry rodent running around your feet I mean how many people got it relieved for a whole night and two funny stories are listed so it was a fantastic rat fear deterrent. moms can see so many bombs the bomb scare yeah yeah that's why i was looking in your back i didn't want to allow myself just a moment we had a call you see well you shouldn't get everyone out so that's why we were looking under your table just We didn't want to draw pinky from the cookie box wrapper, which is still one of my favorite things and I know it doesn't look like a real rat and that's part of its charm, what would you do?
Would you mind the rats when we pray? We asked for the last episode, we knew it was the end and it was really very sad and a lot of people said: I don't know why it will come back in four years, it will do the series three and four years, it will be fine. Fawlty Towers closed its doors for the last time on Thursday 25th October 1979 its creators picked up a further two BAFTA Awards best sitcom and best comedy performance by tease and basil duly handed over the battle of comedy to its successors what are you going to have something?
I mean, what about the two-county edited motocross highlights show, basket weaving or something? How about a tea review, okay, that suits you. if you make a third series and it's not as good as the other two, then you devalue the currency of the first two, although only a dozen shows aired, rumors persist of a lost legendary episode lurking in a dusty BBC building somewhere I have home and for a small fee you can be persuaded to mail it to you lovely idea episode 30 unless done by a completely different team there is no episode 13 we don't write we write six in the first series and six in the second and then Connie and I looked at each other and thought we did it we knew we didn't want to have that pressure to be that good again we would have failed if he said it was hilarious but it wasn't as good as the first two seriously and what was the point of doing it I said would you ever think of writing something else he said yes I guess I could I said key question would you do it without Connie he said now now and I think her contribution was much bigger than people realize I think it was absolutely true that we covered both taboo topics that we did and it felt like the room, you know, three types of situations within every half hour, so it didn't feel.
Like much more than twelve episodes I guess I don't think by then Shana and I could have continued working together I think we thought we had done it thirty years after this hopeless hotel closed forever Fawlty Towers holds a fond place in the hearts of the british nation and in 2008 fans were treated to a reunion of basil and manuel as they did a real weird arjun well i like andrew and someone suggested it would be good in view of what had happened with jonathan ross and the other guy to the audience he would like to see us together or something and that worked very well emotionally, what is the 11th letter of the english alphabet?
Okay, John called me up and said, could I come over just to make a short entrance as men? Well, I can't say no to John anyway because he's so much bigger than me. i thought the outpouring of love that night was so wonderful and you could count on him too and i told him afterwards like i said i said that was old john wasn't he? So we mean old John. I said you should be back here mate, he always feels that Michael P Alin has become a national institution and he would learn if he had stayed.
I thought he was jealous of Michael. They are still great friends. The tempting thing was to get Basil back. What the public longs for is for 40 towers to open their doors once more. another series that the public constantly asked me if there would be more, that's a fan favorite question, huh? You know John will write some more. My only sadness is that they didn't write another one, at least another 12. could have had 24 Car looking looking looking the only idea Connie and I had for a basil extension was that Manuel went off and set up shop in Spain and Sybil and basil they decide they're going to visit humanity I think it would be funny and I thought what happened was basil has the usual scary experience at Heathrow or some other terminal where a hijacker tries to hijack the flight and basil gets so mad you think he's over it to the kidnapper.
It is a hero that I have been on stage for 52 53 years and, nevertheless, 40 towers that complete 9 minutes in one at the facilities of the new builders and a series of volatile episodes that I think were recognized anywhere in the world make me pretty close to perfection in comedy and I never got it. That's why I was delighted to have been a part of the Pawn Stars. It was a lovely job. I think I did the best I could with it and it was a very good episode. I think it was absolutely the best of its kind and the best of its time you know it stands out from probably everything else going on at the time knowing you're going to go to work and laugh and now and laugh and laugh even though you'd seen the joke many times before and whoever said oh i'm going to work today should have drained my stomach muscles by noon that's an amazing feeling what me and connie try to do in sitcoms make people laugh as much as possible that's what i love i love the intensity because it brings the greatest work i guess it felt a bit like a freak event in our lives yes i'm incredibly proud to have been associated with it but i think the main quality i had it was so damn good you say please you know come on we got top 40 power next to a mr.
Fawlty, he wants to get a better class of client than the big snob
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