Trivia / Fawlty Towers

  • Actor Allusion: Basil's goose-stepping in "The Germans" is deliberately reminiscent of Cleese's "Ministry of Silly Walks" sketch from Monty Python. Just check out the applause it gets.
  • Big Name Fan: Martin Scorsese has said he's a big fan of the show.
  • Creator Couple: John Cleese and Connie Booth were married when they made the first season. They divorced by the time of the second one, but still could work together. This has led to rumors that the show ended because of their divorce, by people who didn't do the research about the timing.
  • The Danza: None of the main characters, but Andre, the restaurant owner from the fifth episode, is played by Andre Maranne.
  • Fake American: The actor (Bruce Boa) who played the American Mr. Hamilton was actually Canadian.
  • Fake Brit: Yes and no. Connie Booth had lived in Britain for so long that she could be said to be actually British. Also played with in "Gourmet Night," where she sings in a perfect but annoying American accent.
  • Fake Nationality: Manuel, who's from Barcelona, was played by Andrew Sachs, a German-born British actor. This continues into the German dub, where Andrew Sachs dubbed himself, and had fun trying to speak German with a Spanish accent.
  • Jossed: A rumour circulated for years about a Missing Episode involving a blackout in the hotel. Cast and crew have all denied this, and there is no BBC documentation for filming/recording dates.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Sybil is frequently shown physically hitting her husband. During DVD commentaries, Cleese notes that Prunella Scales felt really bad about it and frequently apologized in-between takes, even though Cleese encouraged the hitting, and wanted it to be real.
  • Old Shame: No one was really happy with how "The Builders" turned out. Cleese notes on the DVD that it was the only episode not filmed with an audience, and he felt very awkward through the whole thing with no reaction to play off of.
  • Real-Life Relative: John Cleese (Basil) and Connie Booth (Polly) were married when they wrote and acted the first series (1975). By the time of the second, in 1979, they were divorced, although they were on good enough terms to keep working together.
  • The Red Stapler: The Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, which was the place off which Basil and Sybil's hotel was based, now runs Fawlty Towers weekends once a month. Guests are looked after by actors playing the parts of Basil, Sybil and Manuel.
  • Streisand Effect: The widow of Donald Sinclair, the man Basil Fawlty was based on, once contacted the British newspapers to complain about how John Cleese had greatly exaggerated her husband's eccentricities. Which had the unfortunate effect of prompting more witnesses to come forward with even more stories that suggested that, if anything, Cleese had actually been rather generous and respectful to him.
  • Technology Marches On: In the days of mobile phones, some of the plot dilemmas would be much easier to resolve. Particularly "The Anniversary", when Sybil misses the surprise party because she thought Basil had forgotten about their anniversary.
  • Trope Namer: For "Fawlty Towers" Plot.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Sybil getting annoyed about Basil spending £40 on a newspaper ad seems strange until you consider that's £300 in today's money.
    • Basil reading Peter Benchley's Jaws at the height of its popularity. Now, the book has been totally eclipsed by the film released in the same year as the episode, 1975.
    • A guest asks Manuel where The Generalissimo is. Manuel replies that he's in Madrid.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Bridget Turner turned down the role of Sybil, feeling it wasn't right for her.
    • Cleese had an idea for a follow-up film. Basil and Sybil would have been invited to Spain to visit Manuel's family, but airport delays and a terrorist hijacking deter them. When Basil is so incensed he overcomes the terrorist in a fit of rage, he takes the terrorist's gun and demands the plane continue to Barcelona. When it lands, he's promptly arrested for hijacking and plane, and is released just in time to catch the flight back home. Cleese nixed the idea because he couldn't make a "Fawlty Towers" Plot flow well enough over ninety minutes.
  • Write What You Know
    • As previously mentioned, the entire series was inspired by John Cleese spending the night in a hotel with a raving mad owner.
    • Manuel was based on John Cleese's experiences working in restaurants as a teenager, where many of the staff members were cheaply-hired immigrants who didn't speak a word of English.
  • Word of God: John Cleese said that they had little intention of creating catch phrases (Manuel says "¿Qué?" a lot, for instance, because... well, how could that not be the case?), though they did eventually realize that the "He's from Barcelona" line almost got funnier each time they put it in. Especially when Sybil and Polly are eventually forced to use it and the one instance where Manuel himself says "I'm from Barcelona" in the first episode of the second series.
  • You Look Familiar: Terence Cooley appears as two different characters in the series. He plays Mr Wareing in "A Touch of Class" in Season 1, and Mr Johnson in Season 2's "Waldorf Salad".

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