Hot off the runaway success of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Cleese embarked on his now-legendary sitcom, Fawlty Towers. One of the most memorable and best-loved characters in British comedy, Basil Fawlty is a much put-upon, hardworking hotel manager whose life is plagued by dead guests, hotel inspectors and other assorted riff-raff. Of course his biggest headache is his “little nest of vipers,” his nagging wife Sibyl, the unflappable Polly and the trainee waiter from Barcelona, Manuel, who has marginally more intelligence than a monkey.
If you haven’t seen Fawlty Towers then you’re missing out on some of the best British comedy of the last 50 years. The series originally premiered in 1975 on the BBC and though it wasn’t an instant favorite with the fans – by the end of its run it was immensely popular. It was written by and stars one of my favorite British actors – John Cleese. There’s nothing like his witty jokes and pointed sarcasim to have you laughing so hard it hurts. The series was actually named the #1 television show of all time according to the British Film Institute and described simply as “brilliant” by every Britisth person I know.
This special edition release marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the sitcom. It revolves around Basil Fawlty (Cleese) a hotel manager who life is burdened with guests that aren’t as classy or as welcomed as he would like. The supporting cast is a little bit more patient with the operations and the guests than Basil – including his wife, Sybil, who also works at the hotel, a waitress (played by Connie Booth who co-wrote the show with Cleese), and a waiter/bellhop named Manuel who speaks very poor English.
The only negative thing I have to say is one I have to say about all my favorite British shows, I think it’s abolutely tourchure to the fans for there only to be a handful of episodes per season or series in this case. There are only 12 episodes in this set – which is the entire series. Perhaps the British weren’t as inlove with television as we are today in America, because I can’t imagine a good reason for not making more episodes of series that was as beloved as much as this one.
The collection includes Series 1 and Series 2 remastered along with exclusive commentary, 2009 extended interviews, a booklet, older interviews, outtakes, and more. I’m also a sucker for packaging and feel it necessary to mention how cute the illustrations are on inside and on the booklet. The illustrations done to match the decor of Fawlty Towers and the set that fans have come to love.
It’s a must own for any Fawlty Towers, John Cleese, or British comedy fan!
Review by Emma Loggins