Faulty Fawlty

Sitcom outtakes revealed

The BBC is to release both series of Fawlty Towers on DVD, including some previously unseen outtakes.

It's the first time the classic sitcom has been released on digital format, and the BBC has added a number of extra features.

These include interviews with John Cleese, Andrew Sachs and Prunella Scales, a mini-documentary on Torquay's Gleneagles Hotel which inspired the series, and a trailer showing Basil Fawlty introducing Not The Nine O'Clock News in 1979.

The sitcom has provided the BBC with one of its more lucrative videos, selling more than 2.4million copies. The show can still attract audiences of 7million more than 25 years after it was first shown.

The DVDs will be released on October 8, priced £19.99 each. Click to preorder series one, or two now.

Fawlty Towers trivia

* The genesis of Fawlty Towers began when the Monty Python team booked into a hotel where John Cleese became fascinated by the proprietor whom he described as 'the most wonderfully rude man I've ever met'.

* The pilot script of Fawlty Towers was snubbed by many bigwigs at the BBC and Cleese recalls a memo which the Head of Light Entertainment had on his wall which stated 'this is a very boring situation and the script has nothing but very cliched characters'.

* Although Fawlty Towers was supposedly set in Torquay, the actual location was Woburn Grange in Buckinghamshire:

* Due to a technician's strike, filming for 'The Anniversary' was delayed and Carry On actor Julian Holloway, unavailable for the later shooting date was replaced by anarchic comic Ken Campbell.

* Despite being one of the most popular episodes, The Builders is John Cleese's least favourite Fawlty Towers episode. He blames the subdued studio audience reaction and in particular, the 70 non-comprehending visitors from the Icelandic Broadcasting Corporation in the front row seats.

* Gourmet Night has often been hired out to the London Hilton as a training film for new staff members to illustrate what not to do during a catering crisis.

* Since 1978, no less than three American series have tried to resurrect the Fawlty Towers format. The 1983 attempt starred the Golden Girls actress Bea Arthur and removed the Basil Fawlty character completely.

* In Germany, incompetent Spanish waiter Manuel had his nationality changed to Italian.

Published: 10 Sep 2001

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