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Recap / Fawlty Towers S2E6 "Basil the Rat"

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The local health inspector issues a long list of hygienic aberrations the staff must immediately sort out, or else the hotel will face closure. After Manuel's pet rat escapes from his cage and runs loose in the hotel, the staff must catch it before the inspector finds it. At the same time, they must try to discern which veal cutlets are safe to eat after one covered in rat poison gets mixed up with the others and almost every subsequent guest orders veal.


Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Actor Allusion: Basil lists several cheeses for the health inspector to choose from just like in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, The Cheese Shop.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: You certainly can keep rats as pets (though adopting them from the wild is not recommended). There is also such a thing as a Siberian hamster, but it looks absolutely nothing like a rat... funnily enough, it looks like a hamster.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The hotel's health and safety report is fairly Squick all the way through, but the last item in the Long List is definitely the punchline:
    Mr. Carnegie the Health Inspector: "Lack of proper cleaning routines. Dirty and greasy filters. Greasy and encrusted deep fat fryer. Dirty, cracked, and stained food preparation surfaces. Dirty, cracked, and missing wall and floor tiles. Dirty, marked, and stained utensils. Dirty and greasy interior surfaces of the ventilator hood. Inadequate temperature control and storage of dangerous foodstuffs. Storage of cooked and raw meat in same trays. Storage of raw meat above confectionery, with consequent dripping of meat juices onto creme products. Refrigerator seals loose and cracked, icebox undefrosted, and refrigerator overstuffed. Food handling routines suspect. Evidence of smoking in food preparation area. Dirty and grubby food handling overalls. Lack of wash hand basin — which you gave us a verbal assurance you'd have installed at our last visit, six months ago — and two dead pigeons in the water tank."
    Basil: "Otherwise okay?"
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  • Censorship by Spelling: Sybil says they might have to put Manuel's rat 'to S-L-E-E-P,' to which Manuel responds, 'Spleep?'
  • Less Embarrassing Term: Manuel buys a rat from a pet shop under the premise that it is "a Siberian hamster."
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Manuel names his pet "hamster" (actually, a rat) Basil.


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