The main cast of Fawlty Towers consisted of characters starring John Cleese (Basil Fawlty), Prunella Scales (Sybil Fawlty), Conny Booth (Polly) and Andrew Sachs (Manuel). Basil Fawlty, the manic English Hotel owner, is intolerant and rude. He runs his hotel constantly under verbal attack form his unhelpful wife Sybil and hindered by the incompetent Spanish waiter, Manuel and the beautiful waitress Polly helps him to get of various hurdles he gets into. Semi regular characters included the down to earth chef Terry, charming elderly ladies Ms. Gatsby and Ms. Tibbs and best of all an eccentric old colonel major Gowen.
The genesis of Fawlty Towers came when John Cleese along with other crew went filming to spend two weeks in Torquay. What inspired them was the rude hotel manager Donald Sinclair who hated all guests who had short-sightedness to stay in Gleneagles. Thus Cleese and Booth made series out of that hotel. The episode ‘The Builders’ was inspired by an incident involving several builders who had come to rebuild Sinclair garden wall. Sinclair was also known for his mistreatment of foreigners as depicted in ‘Waldorf Salad’. The plots were occasionally intricate involving coincidences, misunderstandings, cross purposes and meetings both mixed and accidental. The events that take place are such that they negatively depict Basil’s personality causing his mental state to deteriorate to the point where he has suffered a total breakdown by the end of the episode. Always trying to favor the wealthy, he finds himself forced to serve and help people he sees beneath him. As such his efforts tend to be counter productive with guests leaving the hotel in disgust and his marriage stretching further and further towards breakpoint.
The Series one consisted of episodes A Touch of Class, The Builders, The Wedding Party, The Hotel Inspectors, Gourmet Night, and The Germans. Series two comprised of Communication Problem, The Psychiatrist, Waldorf Salad, The Kipper and the Corpse, The Anniversary, Basil the Rat. See The Fawlty Towers Guide an excellently detailed website for more details.
The first series was transmitted on 1975 whereas second on 1979, three and a half years later. Due to an Industrial dispute at the BBC, which resulted in a strike, the final episode was not completed, being finally shown as one-off installments. It was replaces with repeat of Gourmet Night from season 1. Intense work was done in making such episodes which made it so renowned.
But Cleese limited the run of Fawlty Towers to approximately twelve shows because he did not want to diminish its impact. The show won 3 BAFTA awards and one broadcasting press Guild award. It is recognised as one of the greatest British shows ever. It was ranked 5th in British Comedy Guide list. And was voted 1st in the British Film Institute TV100. It was also voted second to Frasier in the ultimate sitcom poll of comedy writers in January 2006. The show was sold to 45 stations in 17 countries and marked best selling overseas program. It is marked by many other great achievements.
Three attempted remakes of Fawlty Towers were started for the American market, with two making it into production. The first, Chateau Snavely starring Harvey Korman and Betty White, was produced by ABC for a pilot in 1978, but the transfer from coastal hotel to highway motel proved too much and the series was never produced. The second, also by ABC, was Amanda's starring Bea Arthur, notable for switching the sexes of its 'Basil' and 'Sybil' equivalents. It also failed to pick up a major audience and was dropped. A third remake called Payne (produced by and starring John Larroquette) was also produced, but was cancelled shortly after. A German pilot based on the sitcom was made in 2001, named Zum letzten Kliff, but further episodes were not made.
In 2001, the new Fawlty Towers DVD set won the ‘Quality Set DVD’ award for being the best comedy on DVD. The series is still shown in United States and surrounding areas, airs all episodes in order on Tuesday afternoon and Saturday nights. In 2009, Tiger Aspects Production produced a two-part documentary for digital comedy channel G.O.L.D. called Fawlty Towers Reopened. All episodes are also available as streamed video on demand via Netflix on Play-stations and other set top boxes. Both series are also available for download on itunes.Fawlty Towers Characters
The sitcom’s setting is in a fictional hotel referred to as the Fawlty towers, and the main interesting thing about this sitcom is the fact that it was written by a person who together with his wife took ;up main character roles in the movie. This sitcom was placed first in a list of one hundred great British programmes of 2000, before being ranked fifth four years later.
Just as mentioned earlier, this sitcom had the producer take up a main cast role and the then wife take up another one. Basil Fawlty is the hotel owner and it is played by John Cleese, and he portrays a person who is desperate to belong to a social class higher than that in which he currently is. According to him, the successful running of the hotel is a means through which he can achieve his dream despite the fact that the nature of his job forces him to be pleasant to those people whom he despises, or those who he’d ever want to be socially above.
Funny enough, despite his towering physique he is often on his wife’s receiving end, and she is known to not only verbally abuse him but if need be she does get physical. Sybil Fawlty is the woman being talked about here and it’s been played by Prunella Scales who was John’s wife in the real sense. The first thing you notice about her is that she wears precariously high heeled shoes besides also noticing her energy. She comes out as the hotel’s effective manager since she handles matters well than her husband. In fact when he’s around she’ll ensure that he either gets some things taken care of or stay out of the hotel altogether.
Manuel is one of the waiters in the hotel and is played by Andrew Sachs. He brings in a light touch to the whole sitcom since he is a clumsy waiter who has little mastery of the English language despite also being the clumsy one. He is the one who is physically and verbally abused by Basil and his wife, though the main aim why he is used is to clearly bring out Basil’s intolerance and insensitivity. He is also effectively used to show that his employer has poor communication skills.
There are some other regular characters such as Harry who is the chef; who is laid back, though he is observed to have casual cooking methods, which at times attract Basil’s wrath. He is known to appear in second series of episodes since in the first series there was no regular chef at the hotel. The other character is Major Gowen which is played by Ballard Berkeley, and he comes out as a senile soldier who has a permanent residence at the hotel. Interestingly, he is one among the people Basil dislikes.Fawlty Towers Quotes
In such a scenario, you can expect that the type of language used in the program is not the usual casual one but one which is aimed at leaving you in stitches. There are various conversations that took place in the twelve episode sitcom which would otherwise not pass any critical ear. The humor and message delivery used in the conversations is not only powerful but the light touch is also the type which adds flavor to the whole presentation.
In some other times, music has been used as the background form of noise whenever the message delivery was on going. The most captivating quotes from this sitcom are those between Sybil and her husband Basil. They bring out the stark differences between man and wife’s managerial capabilities. The husband comes out as an insensitive and thoughtless manager who’s always on the wife’s receiving end. From his conversations, he does not come out as a smart man, and neither do the conversations show him trying to put in any effort to change the perception of things. This is what triggers insults from his much smarter wife.The following is a quote of their conversation: [Classical music is playing in the background. Basil is putting up a picture. Sybil walks in.] Sybil: Don't forget the menu. Basil: I beg your pardon? Sybil: Don't forget the menu. Basil: I thought you said you want— Right! I'll do the menu! [Puts down the picture, walks over to a typewriter and sits down.] Sybil: You could have had them both done by now if you hadn't spent the whole morning skulking in there listening to that racket. Basil: Racket? That's Brahms! Brahms' Third Racket! The following is another excerpt from Basil’s conversation with one of his guests, one who he doesn’t like much though he prefers not to show it for the business’s sake. The guest is major Gowen who is accompanied by Mrs. Peignoir. Basil: Did you ever see that film, "How to Murder Your Wife"? Major Gowen: "How to Murder Your Wife"? Basil: Yes, awfully good. I saw it six times. Basil: Always reminds me of somebody machine-gunning a seal. Major Gowen: The heat? Basil: No, no. My wife's laugh. Basil: [about Sybil's laughter] Please don't alarm yourself, it's only my wife laughing. I'm afraid her local finishing school was bombed. Mrs. Peignoir: [shocked] Oh dear! Basil: No, no, not really. Just a thought. Well now, what can I get you? Mrs. Peignoir: Do you have any Ricard? Basil: [confused] I'm sorry? Mrs. Peignoir: Any Ricard? Basil: [unsure what Ricard is, he pretends to check the bar] uh, we're just out of it, I think... From the above quotes it is clear that the main cast is not in any way trying to redeem his image through his conversation. The following is another between him and his wife. Sybil: You're going to wear that jacket, are you? Basil: Yes I am, thank you dear, yes. Sybil: You just haven't a clue, have you? Basil: You wouldn't understand, dear - it's called 'style'. From: Series 1: The Builders The Popularity of Fawlty Towers
The Fawlty Towers has gained so much popularity and fame and it has been featured in too many greeting cards as a way to show case the members of their group. Several greeting cards have been designed featuring the major scenes as well as the members of the cast. These cards have been distributed in and around Britain and have been among the favorites of the people. These cards have different captions such as “Happy Birthday”. Cartel international limited has been the sole printer of these cards and have experienced tremendous support from the market at large from the huge records of sales that have been recorded. There are inscriptions of the sign that the Fawlty Towers own at the back of each of these cards.
Due to its popularity, Fawlty towers have hit the big screens with the starring actor being John Cleese. H e brings out his role as a hotel manager playing as a lunatic. Being one of the best among the British Comedy category, the comedy lovers find it very easy to associate with it. It brings out in a perfect way, the role that is played by each of the members of the cast. Thanks to the internet, the popularity of Fawlty Towers is getting better. They are accelerating the rate at which the classical comedy is getting on to the new fans and the old ones alike. They are also able, through this column, to get the commentary of the fans and react accordingly since it is for this purpose of satisfying their fans that they get the fulfillment of their careers.
The local media in Britain and some of the international media houses also played an active role in getting the popularity of the Fawlty Towers an inch higher. Thanks to their programming and the spots that they allotted this movie, it became known to the public as such.
The Fawlty Towers crew has also received messages to commend them for the work that they do even across the streets as they move around. From fans across the Diaspora to as the Americas, tell them that in a significant way, this comedy has brought positive contribution in their lives in a number of different ways.
The fawlty towers have received recognition from some of the award givers. It was nominated and it won in the BAFTA Awards for being the best comedy thanks to the producer John Davies. It also won other awards such as the Broadcasting Guild Award among others.
The members of the fawlty towers cast are dedicated towards making the entertainment arena a sector that will bring an amazing spark in the midst of the struggles and hardships of this life. They are determined to stop at nothing to have their popularity as remarkable and memorable than ever before.