A REBOOT of the nation's favourite 70s show has sparked controversy in the real Fawlty Towers town.
Residents in the original filming location, Torquay, Devon, have shared their thoughts on the revival – and some of them aren't happy.
John Cleese is writing and starring in the new project — as he did the original two series — along with his daughter Camilla, and promises the script is “excellent."
Camilla, 39, will also write and star in the reboot which will spark a TV bidding war.
Manic Basil Fawlty will be seen grappling with the modern world as he runs a boutique hotel in the Fawlty Towers reboot.
The Gleneagles Hotel and, in particular the hotel manager, which were the inspirations behind the hit show are now long gone.
John Cleese won’t be thrashing a car with a branchin Fawlty Towers revival
BBC remove Fawlty Towers’ ‘Don’t Mention The War’ episode from streaming site
However the antics of John Cleese, Connie Booth, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs are still very much alive in the memory of Torquay locals.
Husband and wife John and Julie Reynolds were unsure whether it was a good idea to bring Fawlty Towers back.
Julie, 65, from Torquay, said: “I’m not sure in this day and age whether they would be able to get away with the jokes that they did back in the 1970s.
“There’s a real sense nowadays that you can’t upset anyone and the comedy around Fawtly Towers is Basil upsetting people – be they Germans or newly-weds.”
Most read in TV
Corrie star leaves soap weeks after making debut having filmed final scenes
Sam Smith in row backstage at Brits after huge glitch causes secret chaos
BBC show lands surprise second series after huge success on screen
Major BBC reality show CONFIRMED for epic comeback
John, a retired bus instructor, agreed with his wife.
The 74-year-old said: “At the time it was the funniest programme on the telly and still stands the test of time but I think they should let sleeping dogs lie in this particular case.”
The hotel where Fawlty was filmed was knocked down in 2015 and an upmarket retirement complex replaced it.
And the inspiration hotel manager, Donald Sinclair, died in 1981 at the age of 72.
A Blue Plaque to commemorate the show has been placed at the front door of what is now called Sachs Lodge – named after the actor Andrew Sachs who played the often bemused Spanish waiter, Manuel.
The plaque reads: “Sachs Lodge, previously The Gleneagles Hotel (the hotel and its staff became the inspiration for the 1970s TV series Fawlty Towers)”.
Despite the hesitation of some residents, others are excited about the new series.
Waitress Uli Conrad, has been in the town for ten years and even though it’s more than 40 years since Fawlty Towers was made, she still has one of its most remembered lines quoted to her almost on a daily basis.
The 40-year-old said: “Being from Germany, I still get people saying ‘Don’t mention the war’ or ‘I think I mentioned the war but I got away with it’ regularly.
“I’ve seen the series many times since I've been here and it is very funny – even Germans can laugh at the humour.
“I suppose it is a product of its time and I think comments like that are still made by a certain section of the population who remember the war.
"But I do think as time passes those sort of comments will begin to fade.”
THE REAL BASIL FAWLTY
Estate agent John Couch, has lived and worked in the town all his life and would love to see the series return.
The 80-year-old knew the rude hotelier from The Gleneagles Hotel -the inspiration behind John Cleese’s character Basil Fawlty.
He explained a lot of the history about Donald Sinclair and his wife.
“I knew them really well. She had had a series of hotels in the town before buying what was to become The Gleneagles Hotel," he said.
“She really was the dominant force in their marriage so to that extent the portrayal of Sybil is accurate.
“But I think Donald’s image has suffered because although he could be irascible he was a decent man.
"He had been an officer in the Royal Navy in World War Two and a very brave one at that.
“He just really enjoyed life on the ocean waves and a life in a seaside hotel wasn’t exciting enough for him.
“But when he married Beatrice she wanted him to be around the hotel to help her. But I got the impression that was not what he wanted out of life.
“That’s probably where the ill-temper came from and that’s probably what John Cleese captured when he stayed at The Gleneagles Hotel.
“A remake of the series would be great if it could be based again in Torquay – the town benefited so much at the time the first two series were made and it would be great to have that same feeling return.”
Jan Cadle, 60, also from Torquay, said: “I don’t think they will be able to recreate the atmosphere that there was in the original 1970s series but it will be great to see what they come up with.
"It was a wonderful series and included some of the country’s favourite comedy characters."
James Hull, manager of Kents Cavern which is just a few hundreds yards from the original Gleneagles Hotel, was optimistic about the new show.
At the time it was the funniest programme on the telly and still stands the test of time but I think they should let sleeping dogs lie in this particular case.”
The 43-year-old said: “Torquay benefited greatly from the Fawlty Towers series and if they can recreate that it would be fantastic for the town.
“The comedy in that series is immortal and it would be great to see the town at the centre of another great series.”
American production company Castle Rock Entertainment, run by director Rob Reiner and producer Matthew George, is backing the new project.
Filming is likely to begin next year.
Cleese previously said: “When we first met, Matt offered an excellent first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla and I had 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. Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.”
Producer George said: “I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count. I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”
Fawlty Towers, which aired in 1975 with a second series in 1979, consistently tops all-time comedy lists thanks to famous scenes such as “Don’t mention the war” and Basil bashing his car with a branch.
Prunella Scales, 90, who played Basil’s wife Sybil, retired from acting in 2020 following her Alzheimer’s diagnosis six years earlier.
Andrew Sachs, who played Spanish waiter Manuel, died in 2016.
Read More on The Sun
Job with £460k salary & FREE 4-bed house & no one wants to do it
I moved into a SKIP to save money on rent – it costs just £50 a month
Connie Booth, who co-wrote the original two series and played chambermaid Polly, was married to Monty Python star Cleese from 1968 to 1978.
She quit acting in 1995.
Source: Read Full Article