John Cleese on creating Basil Fawlty

Title:
John Cleese on creating Basil Fawlty
NFSA ID:
1218078
Year:
1983
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
Category:
Access fees

British comedian John Cleese on how he created the character of Basil Fawlty from the classic British sitcom Fawlty Towers (1975, 1979).

Cleese reveals that Fawlty - an eccentric, chronically uptight, hotelier - was inspired by a real-life hotel manager he encountered in Torquay, England called Mr Sinclair.

Mike Walsh throws to a clip from the twelfth and final episode of Fawlty Towers, called 'Basil the Rat', to illustrate Cleese's work on the highly successful show.

While there's no indication of why this particular episode was chosen, the chaotic clip gives an indication of Cleese's knack for physical comedy.

Still as funny and painful as ever, Fawlty's trademark mix of sheer panic and forced obsequience made for an iconic TV comedy character.

The clip features actors Connie Booth, John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, John Quarmby, Prunella Scales and Ballard Berkeley.

The episode was produced for BBC Two by Douglas Argent, directed by Bob Spiers and written by John Cleese and Connie Booth.

Excerpt taken from The Mike Walsh Show: Episode 3031.