‘Best Ever Sitcom’ Fawlty Towers to Return

John Cleese has announced that his sitcom Fawlty Towers is set to be revived after more than 40 years. John Cleese, who played eccentric hotelier Basil Fawlty, will be returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese, who is an actress and comedienne based in LA.

The possible return of Fawlty Towers has been hotly discussed since the series was voted the best sitcom ever in a Radio Times reader poll in 2019. The original series, which ran on BBC2 from 1975 to 1979, followed the lives of Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) as they tried to keep their business and marriage afloat. The series also featured Andrew Sachs, who died in 2016, as hapless Spanish waiter Manuel, and John Cleese’s then wife, Connie Booth, who also co-wrote, as housekeeper Polly. It seems unlikely that any of these characters will return, as the new series is said to explore how “the cynical and sarcastic Basil navigates the modern world” as he manages a boutique hotel with his newly-discovered daughter.

The announcement was made by Castle Rock Entertainment, which said that a deal had been closed with John Cleese to write the series. It will be executive produced by Rob Reiner, his wife Michelle Reiner, director and producer Matthew George and director Derrick Rossi.


John Cleese, who based the character of Basil Fawlty on a hotelier he met while filming on location for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, said that when he met Matthew George “he offered an excellent idea” which led to “one of the best creative sessions I can remember”.

“By dessert we had an overall concept so good that, a few days later, it won the approval of Rob and Michele Reiner,” he said.

“Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.”

Henry George said he was “obsessed with Fawlty Towers” and that meeting Cleese and his daughter Camilla was one of the “great thrills” of his life.

“I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count,” he said. “I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”

Rob Reiner described John Cleese as a “comedy legend”, saying “Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”

Despite its cult status, the series has had its ups and downs, with the episode The Germans being flagged by some broadcasters as featuring “offensive content and language”. John Cleese too has become a controversial figure with statements about slavery, cancel culture and global warming, saying “The thing is, I’m going to be dead soon. That’s why I’m in favour of global warming – I don’t want to be cold ever again.” He was also announced as the host of his own GB News TV show.

Fans will be asking themselves whether John Cleese is still funny, or whether the revival of Fawlty Towers, which has as yet no announced airdate or broadcaster, will turn out to be a dead parrot.

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