Monday, May 3, 2010

Finding past pleasures... Fawlty Towers

I spent a wonderful weekend reminiscing and enjoying episodes of Fawlty Towers, a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast in 1975.

The setting is the fictional hotel Fawlty Towers in the seaside town of Torquay on the "English Riviera" (where the Gleneagles hotel that inspired John Cleese was situated). The show was written by Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played main characters.

In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted by industry professionals, Fawlty Towers placed first. It was also voted fifth in the BBC's "Britain's Best Sitcom" poll in 2004.

Watch as John Cleese reminisces on the character of Manuel (played by Andrew Sachs), taking his reference from waiters working in London at the time. A cheap employee who doesn't speak English makes for hilarious misunderstandings, especially when Manuel gets his own back with the rat incident!

Cleese said in 2009 that the first Fawlty Towers script, written with then-wife Connie Booth, was rejected by the BBC. At a 30th-anniversary event honouring the show, Cleese said,

"Connie and I wrote that first episode and we sent it in to Jimmy Gilbert," the executive "whose job it was to assess the quality of the writing said, and I can quote [his note to me] fairly accurately, 'This is full of clich├ęd situations and stereotypical characters and I cannot see it as being anything other than a disaster.' And Jimmy himself said, 'You're going to have to get them out of the hotel, John, you can't do the whole thing in the hotel.' Whereas, of course, it's in the hotel that the whole pressure cooker builds up."

THANK YOU John Cleese!

Source: Wikipedia and Youtube

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