What really pretty crass phrase was the only full anagram of Fawlty Towers as shown in the headlines of the seminal ’70s sitcom? It was used in the penultimate episode (i.e. the eleventh – this show was about quality, not quantity), The Anniversary. All of the anagrams used in the credits of other episodes were only partial anagrams; that is, they did not use all the letters. So while Flay Otters and Watery Fowls are all great, they only use some of the letters – to paraphrase Eric Morecambe, “they used some of the letters, but not necessarily in the correct order.”
But what about Fawlty Towers? It’s pretty well known, I guess, that the Monty Python gang were in Torquay for a movie shoot and staying at the Gleneagles hotel in town. Eventually everyone else in the cast and crew moved out, but John Cleese was so impressed with the demeanor of Gleneagles owner-manager one Donald Sinclair that he and his wife Connie Booth stayed behind. . Of course, what they witnessed (or claimed to have witnessed) has now become legend in the 12 half-hour episodes that make up the Fawlty Towers canon set.
In addition to writing the series, Cleese and Booth played two of the lead roles in Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty (hotel owner) and Polly Sherman (maid and more). Prunella Scales played the role of Sybil, Basil’s wife – a strange mixture of women, sometimes domineering, but at the same time suffering for a long time. The fourth and final lead role was that of Manuel, the Spanish waiter at Fawlty’s. This photo was taken by German-born British actor Andrew Sachs. Using his own experience of learning English as a second language allowed Sachs to bring a real sense of Manuel’s vulnerability as a young man struggling to understand what was going on in this most dysfunctional place. .
But what about the episodes themselves? Well, as I mentioned before and as it’s probably very well known, there have only ever been twelve episodes of Fawlty Towers. They aired weekly on BBC2 in two six-part series. The first took place from September 19 to October 24, 1975. The second took place from February 19 to March 19, 1979, the sixth and last episode being postponed to October 25 of the same year due to a strike at the BBC. The first series gave us the delights of A Touch of Class; The Builders; The wedding party; Hotel inspectors; Gourmet Night and of course, The Germans. series 2 contained communication problems; The psychiatrist; Waldorf Salad; The Kipper and the Corpse; Birthday and last but not least, Basil the Rat. The best for me has to be The Germans, a bit of a cliché maybe (on my part) but hell, they’re all awesome and you really should pick a favorite.