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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

Fawlty Tow­ers 40th An­niver­sary Satur­day, mid­day, UKTV (103)

Forty years on and this se­ries of 12 hi­lar­i­ous episodes still makes us laugh, no mat­ter how many times they’ve been re­peated. The brains be­hind Fawlty Tow­ers de­cided to quit while they were on top, a wise move (although another sea­son wouldn’t have gone astray). The whole col­lec­tion, start­ing with A Higher Class and end­ing with Basil the Rat, are shown back-to-back to­day to celebrate the an­niver­sary of the BAFTA Award-win­ning cult com­edy clas­sic. John Cleese and his then wife Con­nie Booth got the idea for the se­ries in 1970 when the Monty Python team was stay­ing at the Gle­nea­gles Ho­tel in the sea­side town of Torquay run by an ec­cen­tric, rude and in­ept owner. In the se­ries, Cleese plays the bungling, dys­func­tional Basil Fawlty, owner of the fic­tional Fawlty Tow­ers near Torquay on the “English Riviera”. Prunella Scales is his nag of a wife, Sy­bil; Booth a rather sweet cham­ber­maid, Polly; and An­drew Sachs the poor trainee waiter from Barcelona, Manuel. Cleese’s comic ge­nius as the ar­ro­gant, manic snob of a ho­tel owner who doesn’t like guests is a tri­umph. In 2000 the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute voted Fawlty Tow­ers the best Bri­tish TV se­ries of all time; hard to be­lieve the BBC re­jected the first script. “This is full of cliched sit­u­a­tions and stereo­typ­i­cal char­ac­ters and I can­not see it as be­ing any­thing other than a dis­as­ter,” an ex­ec­u­tive said in a note to Cleese.

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