Fawlty Towers

The key to good comedy is timing, someone once said. If that is the case John Cleese and Connie Booth must have the best sense of timing ever.

As the title suggests I am talking about ‘Fawlty Towers’ although it may seem there were hundreds of episodes, there were in fact only 12, spread over 2 seasons.

The first episode of Fawlty Towers aired on 19 September 1975. Audiences were keen to see what John Cleese would do after Monty Python, but at first the situation comedy received some less than enthusiastic reviews. However the strength of the writing and casting – with Cleese as hotelier Basil Fawlty – ensured the series was a great success.

The series is set in Fawlty Towers, a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay on the English Riviera. The plots centre on the tense, rude and put-upon owner Basil Fawlty (Cleese), his bossy wife Sybil (Prunella Scales), the sensible chambermaid Polly (Booth) who often is the peacemaker and voice of reason, and the hapless and English-challenged Spanish waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs). They show their attempts to run the hotel amidst farcical situations and an array of demanding and eccentric guests and tradespeople.

The idea of the show came from Cleese after he stayed at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, Devon in 1970 (along with the rest of the Monty Python troupe), where he encountered the eccentric hotel owner Donald Sinclair.

Stuffy and snobbish, Sinclair treated guests as though they were a hindrance to his running of the hotel (a waitress who worked for him stated “it was as if he didn’t want the guests to be there”). Sinclair was the inspiration for Cleese’s character Basil Fawlty.

Fawlty Towers was written by Cleese with his wife Connie Booth. The shows were intricately plotted farces, and no dialogue was written until the plot had been finalised. The ensemble cast included Prunella Scales as Basil’s wife Sybil, and Andrew Sachs as the well-meaning but incompetent waiter Manuel. Booth provided an important element of sanity and calm as Polly the chambermaid.

Only 12 half hour episodes were ever made. The decision to stop making Fawlty Towers when it was at its creative height, leaving a distinct legacy, inspired later comedians such as Ricky Gervais. In 2000 Fawlty Towers was voted the best British television programme of all time in a BFI poll, above Cathy Come Home and Doctor Who.

There are so mamy hilarious moments I could pick, but this is my favourite. Who has never heard the expression “Don’t mention the war”

sources

https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/anniversaries/september/fawlty-towers/

Cheers- A classic sitcom, but there is more…

Cheers_intro_logo

I usually do very heavy historical blogs but every once in a while I do a more lighthearted and quirky ones, more for my own sanity then anything else, this is one of those quirky ones.

Cheers is one of the most popular sitcoms and rightfully so, not only was Cheers very funny the spin off was even funnier and more successful. That spin off , of course is ‘Frasier’

frasier

Before I continue though I need to warn you because this blog is not so much about Cheers or Frasier but more about the theme song of Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name” After you have read this blog you will probably look at Cheers in a different way, but don’t worry it is all good.

At the start of each episode of Cheers we only hear a part of the theme song. The original song lasts for 2.30 minutes, the song was written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo. And the lyrics in the song are hilarious.

Below are the lyrics of the part of the song you don’t hear in the show.

All those night when you’ve got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it’s tail;
And your third fiance didn’t show;

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee’s dead;
The morning’s looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn’t even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl.

 

Another quirky fact Rhea Perlman wasn’t the only member of her family to grace the set of Cheers. Her younger sister, Heide, produced more than two dozen episodes between 1985 and 1986 and wrote several episodes throughout the show’s run. Perlman’s father, Phil, played one of the bar regulars (named Phil).

Phil

Cheers is just one of those shows of which you can say, “They just don’t make them like that anymore”

Cheers_cast_1991

 

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