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Fawlty Towers is a 12 episode British comedy starring John Cleese of Monty Python fame and his then-wife Connie Booth, which lasted for two seasons. Although it was both produced and directed by the same man in the first season, the second season had the jobs handed off to two different individuals. Cleese plays the proprietor of a bed and breakfast named Fawlty Towers, with the comedic bits coming from the interactions with odd clients, the employees, and even the bickering between Mr. and Mrs. Fawlty. Miss Booth played the role of the maid Polly.

The hotel staff includes Basil Fawlty as the hotelier, his wife Sybil, the Spanish porter/waiter Miguel, Polly the maid, and a chef named Terry (added with the second season). Much of the humor revolves around the eccentic and aggressive nature of Basil as he tries to constantly update or renovate the hotel, much to the chagrin and confusion of staff, his wife, and guests. Every episode has guests that serve as a one-shot appearance, always possessing some character trait that foils and opposes Basil's own personality. Another common comedic device of this series would be black humor, such as when Basil is discussing having seen the film "How To Murder Your Wife" while disposing of a dead body. Slapstick makes its presence felt in Basil's exchanges with the Spaniard Miguel. Miguel's poor grasp of basic English vocabulary has forced Basil to lose his temper more often than not, having struck the poor fellow with both a frying pan as well as a spoon to the forehead.

At heart, Basil is a snob who wishes to be serving the upper crust of British society as well as foreign dignitaries. He puts on airs for even the most of remote of celebrities or government employees, yet groans at his lot in life for having to serve the usual lower class spendthrifts which are the bread and butter of his hotel's clientele.

Fawlty Towers is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (12 episodes). The series first aired on September 19, 1975.

Fawlty Towers is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Fawlty Towers on demand atAmazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, Microsoft Movies & TV, Google Play, iTunes online.

BBC America
2 Seasons, 12 Episodes
September 19, 1975
Cast: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Brian Hall
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Fawlty Towers Full Episode Guide

  • Manuel has been ordered to get rid of his pet rat before the health inspector pays a visit. But the pet breaks away, leading the Major to trying to shoot the rodent in the bar.

  • An American guest tips Basil to keep the kitchen open late, but chef has left for the day. Basil steps in, but he meets his Waterloo when the guest requests a Waldorf Salad.

  • Basil is certain one of the guests has smuggled a girl into his room and sets out to investigate. Unfortunately, he is caught in a compromising situation by Sybil.

  • A nearly deaf and very difficult Mrs. Richards arrives at the hotel. When she loses a large sum of money, she demands that the police be called.

  • A moose head falls on Basil during a fire drill, giving him a concussion. But he must leave hospital to deal tactfully with a group of German tourists.

  • It is Gourmet Night at Fawlty Towers, and it seems that Basil's long cherished dream will be realized. But the chef lies drunk on the floor.

  • One of the dreaded events in a hotel manager's life is the inspector's visit. One calls, and Basil has to decide which of the guests he is.

  • Basil occupies himself in a losing battle against moral turpitude. His predicament is exacerbated by Manuel's birthday celebrations.

  • Sybil has picked a professional firm for the alterations to the hotel. But Basil makes an executive decision that his friend can do a better job.

  • Basil Fawlty is in a campaign to improve the class of his clientele at Fawlty Towers. His efforts have spectacular results ? in the short term.