John Cleese to revive Fawlty Tower series with daughter

Basil Fawlty
Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese

Comedy series Fawlty Towers is set to be revived after more than 40 years.

John Cleese, who played Basil Fawlty, will be returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese.

The two-series show, which featured on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979, followed the lives of Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil as they tried to keep their business and marriage afloat.

The new series will explore how the dramatic and cynical Basil navigates the modern world.

Castle Rock Entertainment announced on Tuesday it had closed a deal with Cleese to bring back the television series.

The revival will also see Basil and a daughter he has just discovered is his, team up to run a boutique hotel.

Cleese is also well known as one of the original members of the Monty Python comedy group.

Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth on the set of Fawlty Towers in 1975
The original cast of Fawlty Towers – Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, John Cleese and Connie Booth – on set in 1975

Fawlty Towers was named the greatest British sitcom of all time by a panel of television experts for Radio Times magazine in 2019.

The new series will see actor Rob Reiner, his wife and actress Michelle, director and producer Matthew George and Derrick Rossi act as executive producers.

Cleese said when he first met George “he offered an excellent idea” which led to “one of the best creative sessions I can remember”.

“By dessert we had an overall concept so good that, a few days later, it won the approval of Rob and Michele Reiner.

“Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.”

Director George said he was “obsessed with Fawlty Towers” and meeting Cleese and his daughter was “one of the “great thrills” of his life.

“I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count.

“I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”

Actor Reiner described the Fawlty Towers star as a “comedy legend”. “Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”

Camilla Cleese and John Cleese speak onstage at 'Comedy with the Cleeses' in 2022
John Cleese and his daughter Camilla will both be starring in the new series

In 2020, Cleese had a disagreement with the BBC after it temporarily removed a classic episode of Fawlty Towers because of “racial slurs”.

The 1975 episode, called The Germans, featured the Major character using highly offensive language and Basil declaring “don’t mention the war”.

Cleese criticised the decision, saying: “I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would understand that there are two ways of making fun of human behaviour.

“One is to attack it directly. The other is to have someone who is patently a figure of fun, speak up on behalf of that behaviour.” The original show was written by Cleese and Connie Booth.


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