Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC, about an imaginary hotel named Fawlty Towers in Torquay, Devon on "the English Riviera". The hotel is owned and operated by the eccentric Basil Fawlty and his censorious wife Sybil, with maid Polly, porter Manuel and (in series 2) chef Terry rounding out the staff. Long-term guests were the semi-senile Major Gowen and the skittish old ladies Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby. Very few other guests ever stayed long.
- Basil Fawlty (played by John Cleese)
- Sybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales)
- Polly Sherman (Connie Booth)
- Manuel (Andrew Sachs)
- Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley)
- Miss Tibbs (Gilly Flower)
- Miss Gatsby (Renee Roberts)
- Terry the Chef (Brian Hall)
The programmes were produced and directed by John Howard Davies, Douglas Argent and/or Bob Spiers.
Much of the comedy revolves around the following key facts:
- Basil is desperate to belong to a higher social class, and sees the successful running of the hotel as his means to this end ("turn it into an establishment of class...")
- He is trapped in a job where he has to be pleasant to people he either despises or yearns to be above socially: people he would much rather snub.
- He is terrified of his wife's sharp tongue, yet fiercely wishes to stand up to her.
- Manuel is a well-meaning Spanish worker with a limited grasp of English.
- Basil usually turns to Manuel or Polly to help him execute whatever scheme he has planned. It is, of course, imperative that his wife Sybil does not find out.
- It's bound to go horribly wrong, with all the blame firmly on Basil.
- Polly is the voice of sanity.
- A Touch of Class
- The Builders
- The Wedding Party
- The Hotel Inspectors
- Gourmet Night
- The Germans
- Communication Problems
- The Psychiatrist
- Waldorf Salad
- The Kipper and the Corpse
- The Anniversary
- Basil the Rat
Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan have cited Fawlty Towers as a major influence on their sitcom Father Ted (for one thing, they have the same initials....)