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The original: 

Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)

Written by: 

John Cleese and Connie Booth


John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth; with Ballard Berkeley, Gilly Flower, Renee Roberts 

What’s it about? 

Stressed-out and highly-strung hotel owner Basil Fawlty (Cleese) has a hard life. Running a hotel is a fulltime job, and with gossipy, bossy wife Sybil (Scales), constantly confused but eager to please Spaniard, Manuel (Sachs) and level headed, cool under fire chamber maid, Polly (Boothe) on hand, there’s no problem too small to elevate to calamity, no issue too trivial to grow into a panicked collision course of disaster. 


Fawlty Towers is a television show of its time, while also utterly timeless. Its reputation as a gold standard classic is secure, with scenes and scenarios long-immortal all over the world, with lines and quotes passed down through generations. 


Each of the twelve episodes are crafted to perfection; as intricate as a Chinese puzzle box, as deftly plotted as a savant’s chess move to check. 

Embarrassment, snobbery, repression and spite combine to create the perfect farce, with a crucible waiting to blow right at the centre. 


With each of the principle characters, writers Cleese and Booth have fashioned four memorable, distinct personalities, each with their own special traits and foibles; and with the extended cast of regulars, there lies a frame work for witty banter, escalating misunderstanding, and recurring clashes.  


Fawlty Towers has it all- tight writing, excellent characters, insane momentum. 

Just don’t expect Waldorfs. 


Basil: “Right, well I'll go and have a lie down then. No I won't; I'll go and hit some guests.” 


Mr Hamilton: “Is this a Hotel or isn't it?” 

Basil: “Well, within reason.” 


(Sybil laughs.) 

Basil: “…Sounds like somebody machine-gunning a seal.” 

Sybil: “I can't abide cruelty to living creatures.” 

Basil: “I'm a creature and you can abide it to me.” 

Sybil: “You're not living.” 


Polly: “What's the point of being alive?” 

Basil: “I don’t know. We’re stuck with it, I suppose.” 

Guest: “When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.”

Basil: “But that is Torquay, madam.”

Guest: “Well it’s not good enough.”

Basil: “Well may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain …”


The pitch: "Come up with a new episode of the classic 70s sitcom."

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