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With his daughter Camilla: John Cleese brings back comedy classic »Fawlty Towers«


The TV series "Fawlty Towers" about a stressed-out hotel owner is a prime example of British humor. Now creator and leading actor John Cleese wants to shoot new episodes. Good idea?

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Scene from the original series »Fawlty Towers« with John Cleese as the hotel owner and Andrew Sachs as the Spanish waiter Manuel

Photo: Mary Evans / Ronald Grant / IMAGO

The two seasons of »Fawlty Towers«, first broadcast by the BBC in 1975 and 1979, are considered by many fans of comedy television and British humor to be downright perfect.

The British Film Institute ranked the series number one in a list of the best British TV programs ever made in 2000.

Now the American production company Castle Rock Entertainment wants to try to bring »Fawlty Towers« into the present.

The company announced this on Tuesday.

Actor John Cleese, 83, will return in his title role as hotel owner Basil Fawlty.

Cleese also wrote the screenplays for the original series, along with his then-wife Connie Booth, who played the role of waitress Polly.

Booth is apparently not involved in the reboot.

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Father John and daughter Camilla Cleese at a Hollywood party in 2009

Photo: Graham Whitby / Mary Evans / Allstar / IMAGO

Instead, Cleese's daughter from his second marriage to Barbara Trentham, who died in 2013, will be seen in the new season of Fawlty Towers, 39-year-old Camilla Cleese.

Father and daughter also co-write the screenplays.

The plot will focus on the relationship between Basil Fawlty and his daughter, whose existence he has only just learned about.

The two decide to run a small hotel together.

In this setting one will be able to observe how John Cleese's "cocky, cynical and misanthropic" character "gets along in the modern world".

In the statement, John Cleese praised the creative collaboration with the production company team, which the actor (»All in the Family«, »The Devils Club«, »Wolf of Wall Street«) and director (»Stand By Me«, »Harry and Sally«) Rob Reiner.

Reiner is also working on a remake of his mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap at Castle Rock.

Rob Reiner is quoted as saying about working with »comedy legend« John Cleese: »Just the thought of it makes me laugh.«

One of the most famous episodes of the original series, titled The Germans, caused a stir in 2020 when the BBC temporarily pulled it from its UKTV streaming service.

It was later reinstated with "additional information."

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Fawlty Towers original cast (clockwise from top): John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth

Photo: BBC.

Courtesy: Everett Collection.

/Everett Collection/BBC/IMAGO

The episode, which aired in October 1975, revolves around hotel owner Basil Fawlty insulting a group of German tourists.

Fawlty repeatedly says, "Don't start on the war," and ends up doing a Hitler impersonation.

The character of Major Gowen, who rants about the "West Indian cricket team" and uses offensive language, was also viewed critically.

John Cleese sharply criticized the decision at the time: The episode had been misunderstood.

It is a criticism of racist attitudes, not an endorsement of them.

The BBC is run "by a mix of marketing people and petty bureaucrats."

Cleese, one of the founding members of the comedy group Monty Python, has spoken out multiple times on issues of freedom of expression and cancel culture.

Most recently, in October, he announced that he would be presenting a joint show with satirist Andrew Doyle on the right-wing TV station GB News.

Doyle already hosts the program »Free Speech Nation« on GB News.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2023-02-08

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