Photo by BBC
In September 19 1975, was released one of the most iconic shows in UK, ‘Fawlty Towers’. The show talks about a inept and manic English hotel owner and manager, Basil Fawlty, who isn’t cut out for his job. He’s intolerant, rude and paranoid. All hell frequently breaks loose as Basil tries to run the hotel, constantly under verbal (and sometime physical) attack from his unhelpful wife Sybil, and hindered by the incompetent, but easy target, Manuel; their Spanish waiter.
Stars: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth
Creators: Connie Booth, John Cleese
To celebrate the 40th birthday, here are some of the curiosities about this show.
- As the series progressed, each episode’s opening shot of the Fawlty Towers hotel sign shows rearranged and misplaced letters. Variations include: Watery Fowls, Farty Tower, Flay Otters, Fatty Owls, Warty Towels, Flowery Twats and Farty Towels. Production team-member Iain McLean supplied the hotel sign anagrams supposedly left by aggrieved paperboys.
- The building used for the exterior shots, on the grounds of Buckinghamshire’s Wooburn Grange Country Club, was severely damaged by a fire in March of 1991. The building was subsequently demolished and 8 homes were later built on the grounds.
- Polly gives the hotel’s address as 16 Elwood Avenue, Torquay, in Fawlty Towers: The Builders (1975).
- The role of Sybil was initially offered to Bridget Turner, who passed on it because she didn’t feel it was right for her.
- The production team spent nearly an hour editing each minute of every program, spending up to 25 hours on each show.
- Cleese advised Brian Hall to play second series chef Terry as if he was being sought by the police for an unspecified crime.
- Basil and Sybil Fawlty were based on Donald and Beatrice Sinclair, genuine hoteliers who ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay where John Cleese stayed whilst filming on location in early May 1970 with the Monty Python team.
- Andrew Sachs is German by birth and was asked to dub his own lines into German when the series was exported. Being a native German speaker, he had no problem with the script, but it took him quite a while to work out how to speak German with a Spanish accent.
- John Cleese (Basil Fawlty) and Connie Booth (Polly Sherman) were really husband and wife when they created and wrote the scripts for the first series. By the beginning of filming for the second season their marriage had fallen apart and they had divorced.
- Sybil’s distinctive laugh was based on Connie Booth’s.
- Each script took six weeks to write, five days to rehearse and one evening to record in the studio in front of a live audience – a total of 42 weeks to produce each series of six episodes.
- Martin Scorsese has said he is a great fan of Fawlty Towers.