Fawlty Towers/At a Glance

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Basic Information

  • Full Name: Fawlty Towers
  • Premiere Date: September 19, 1975
  • Finale Date: October 25, 1979
  • Network:
  • Airtimes:

International Viewings


  • The hotel Fawlty Towers is in the town of Torquay. This is a real town in the county of Devon, England, which is a popular tourist destination for its seaside resort.
  • The famous theme music was written by composer Dennis Wilson.
  • John Cleese has cited, as inspiration for the series, Donald Sinclair, the owner of the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay. (Not to be confused with the Donald Sinclair who inspired the character of Siegfried Farnon in another classic British TV show, All Creatures Great and Small.) During the filming of an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the entire Monty Python team was put up at the Gleneagles. Sinclair was rude to the Pythons—and, indeed, all the guests—and he so inspired Cleese and his wife Connie Booth that the two of them stayed on at the hotel long after the rest of the Pythons left. Upon learning of the inspiration, Sinclair was understandably not flattered, and since his death in 1981, his widow Betty has fought to remove Sinclair's association with the show. Her fight seems unwinnable, however, as many former guests and even Sinclair's children have confirmed Basil Fawlty's antics bear a striking resemblance to those of Donald Sinclair. The surviving Gleneagles Hotel, naturally, is proud of the connection and advertises its status as "the real Fawlty Towers" to prospective guests. Cleese would also play a hotelier named Donald Sinclair in the 2001 film Rat Race.
  • There is rumored to be a "lost" 13th episode, "The Robbers," regarding a blackout at the hotel. Cleese and Booth have never confirmed this, which makes it unlikely. The source of the rumor most likely stems from the fact that the final episode aired many months after the other five episodes of Season Two, due to an industrial strike which delayed production.
  • In a 2004 BBC poll of the British public, the show ranked fifth on the list of Britain's Best Sitcoms. This led many to question the methodology of the BBC's poll, as fifth was considered too low for this show.
  • Although he has repeatedly stated he never intends to do a film because the expectations are too high, Cleese has suggested what he would do were one to be made. In his concept, Basil flies to Barcelona to meet Manuel's family, but when terrorists attempt to hijack the plane, Basil, who is tired and angry from a long day at Heathrow, ends up taking the terrorists themselves hostage and forcing them to fly to the plane's destination. When he lands, Basil is then sent to a Spanish prison.
  • On the 2003 DVD release of Monty Python's Meaning of Life, one of the DVD extras, a "Virtual Reunion," has the surviving Pythons, all in separate places, standing in front of a greenscreen. These five images are then put together in front of the same static background—first a bar, then an alleyway supposedly on the morning after. During the alleyway scene, Cleese receives a phone call. His cell phone's ringtone is the theme song to this show.
  • The exterior shots of Fawlty Towers are of the Wooburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire. After the series was over, the country club became a nightclub named "Basil's." The nightclub was destroyed in a fire in 1991.

Awards and Accolades

BAFTA Awards


(2 Nominations / 1 Win)

  • Won: Best Situation Comedy
John Howard Davies
  • Nominated: Best Light Entertainment Performance
John Cleese


(3 Nominations / 2 Wins)

  • Won: Best Situation Comedy
Douglas Argent, Bob Spiers
  • Won: Best Light Entertainment Performance
John Cleese
  • Nominated: Best Light Entertainment Performance
Andrew Sachs

Other Awards

BFI Poll

  • Voted favorite British TV series of all time by UK TV industry - Sept. 5, 2000