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The Funniest Scenes From the Cult TV Show FAWLTY TOWERS

Fans have been waiting for this moment for almost 50 years!

Martyna Janasik

23 April 2024

The Funniest Scenes From the Cult TV Show FAWLTY TOWERS

The return of Fawlty Towers¬†and its eccentric owner Basil Fawlty. Once again starring John Cleese. To celebrate the return of Fawlty Towers, we’re recalling the funniest scenes from this cult TV series.

Fawlty Towers. The Funniest Sitcom of All Time

Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers is a British series from 1975 created by the legendary comedian and member of Monty Python, John Cleese, along with his then-wife Connie Booth. The series revolves around the Fawlty Towers hotel and its eccentric, rude, and explosive owner Basil Fawlty, whose behavior constantly causes problems in running the business. Alongside him is his domineering wife Sybil, the hapless waiter Manuel, who hails from Barcelona, and the only seemingly normal person – the maid Polly. The series depicts their struggles in managing the hotel amidst farcical scenes, demanding guests, and Basil Fawlty’s absurd treatment of customers.

Fawlty Towers comprises two seasons of laughter and tears. It aired in 1975 and 1979, and in 2019, it was hailed as the best British series of all time. It’s one of the favorite shows of Kate Bush, John Lennon, and Martin Scorsese. Interestingly, the character of Basil Fawlty is inspired by a real person. Cleese created Basil after staying at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, where he encountered the eccentric hotel owner Donald Sinclair, who – as Cleese recalls – was the rudest person he had ever met. Sinclair even threw out a suitcase belonging to Cleese’s colleague, Eric Idle, through the window, just in case it contained a bomb.

Fawlty Towers Welcomes Guests Once Again

Fawlty Towers 2023

Despite 48 years passing since the end of the original airing of Fawlty Towers, the show has never lost its popularity, and subsequent generations of comedy lovers have grown up with it. Some of the phrases used in the series have even entered everyday language. So, it’s no wonder that the world went wild with excitement when John Cleese announced plans for a sequel.

The continuation of Fawlty Towers was announced in February 2023. In the series, we’ll see John Cleese once again portraying Basil Fawlty, attempting to run Fawlty Towers with the help of his daughter, of whose existence he was unaware (played by Cleese’s real-life daughter).

To celebrate the return of the series after almost 50 years, let’s reminisce about the funniest scenes from Fawlty Towers.

Moose, Manuel, and the Major

Major Gowen (played by Ballard Berkeley) is a war veteran who has been living permanently at the hotel for over 7 years, constantly searching for newspapers and cricket scores. He is often disoriented, especially when he talks to a moose, which is one of the main characters in the final episode of the first season. This moose is Basil’s new acquisition. Sybil instructs Basil to hang the moose’s head in the lobby, but he still encounters obstacles in his efforts and ends up leaving it on the reception desk for a while. When the Major hears Manuel’s voice coming from under the counter – as Manuel practices his English – and sees only the moose, he is convinced that the moose is talking to him. Warning! Watching this scene, you might really cry with laughter!

Manuel in charge of Fawlty Towers

When Basil and Sybil go on a long-awaited trip with friends, at least long-awaited by Sybil, they leave the hotel in Polly’s care. The maid is supposed to take care of the guests, and most importantly, the workers who are soon to arrive to work on the lobby doors to ensure they properly complete the tasks assigned to them. However, Polly decides to take a nap in the meantime, and Manuel takes over the hotel’s supervision. Although he promised Polly he would wake her up if someone came, he decides to let her sleep and takes charge himself. It’s then that a courier arrives at the hotel with the garden gnome ordered by Sybil, and Manuel, due to his lack of English proficiency, thinks the courier wants to rent a room for the figurine.

Don’t mention the War

When a group of Germans is expected to arrive at the hotel, Basil instructs everyone not to mention anything about the war. Unfortunately, Basil suffers a brain injury, landing him in the hospital. Despite this setback, he escapes from the hospital to attend to his German guests. However, due to his head injury, which causes him to behave even more strangely than usual, Basil ends up constantly talking about the war himself. His behavior deviates so much from the norm that he starts imitating Hitler in front of his German guests. To make matters worse, instead of apologizing to the guests for his behavior after a series of absurd situations, he blames them, stating that it’s their fault because they invaded Poland.

Basil goes to pick up a duck from a friend

In an attempt to attract a wealthier clientele, Basil organizes a gourmet evening. However, his plans are thwarted by the new head chef, who gets drunk to the point of unconsciousness after being rejected by Manuel. Despite this setback, Basil decides to go ahead with the event and calls upon a friendly restaurant chef for assistance. Suddenly, the menu is reduced to three options: duck with orange, duck with cherries, or surprise duck (without oranges and cherries). Basil sets off to collect the duck from the friendly chef, but his car breaks down along the way. Frustrated, he grabs a tree branch and starts hitting his car in a fit of rage. This scene became so iconic that Corgi made a pressure-cast replica of it.

The sea is between the land and the sky

In this scene, Basil receives a complaint from a guest who seems to have a problem with almost everything. The woman renting the room complains that it’s too cold, there’s no real bathroom because the bathtub is so small that not even a mouse could drown in it, and the view from the window – for which she paid extra – is below her expectations. She expected that buying accommodation in a room with a sea view, the only thing visible would be the sea; not land, mountains, sky, and sea in the distance. This last complaint, in particular, doesn’t sit well with Basil. He stands with the woman at the window and instructs her that the sea is located between the land and the sky. It’s one of the most iconic lines in the entire series.

Manuel gives Basil a lesson

Manuel is a waiter who came to England from Spain to earn money and support his family. Unfortunately, he doesn’t speak English well, which leads to constant misunderstandings and Basil’s outbursts of anger. Basil treats Manuel like a doormat and explains that he keeps him around only because he’s cheap. Additionally, Basil claims to be fluent in Spanish, so he shouldn’t have any trouble communicating with Manuel. However, it turns out that Basil’s Spanish isn’t as good as he thinks. One day, their communication problems lead to a humorous situation.

Basil tries to explain to Manuel that he has put too much butter on those three plates and demonstrates this by counting the plates, and Manuel thinks that Basil is counting to three in Spanish. He corrects Basil because, according to him, Basil pronounced the numbers incorrectly.

Martyna Janasik

Martyna Janasik

Cultural studies scholar and writer. Enthusiast of food, cinema, and sports. Probably that's why some of her favorite movies are "Rocky" and "Julie and Julia". She always wanted to write, so she will always write. In her free time, she loves watching movies and playing tennis.

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