John Cleese Revives Basil Fawlty

Posted by Lord Davidd of Birko OBE DASc on
Category: Film & Television5 Comments

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John Cleese has revived his famous hotelier Basil Fawlty but only for a TV advert, 36 years after Fawlty Towers closed its doors. Cleese has recreated the 1975 scene in which a frustrated Fawlty berates his broken down car before giving it a “damn good thrashing” with a branch from a nearby tree. Cleese agreed to rewrite the scene for Specsavers opticians as he thought it would be “genuinely funny”. The ad sees Fawlty lose his patience with a sat-nav and take out his anger on the wrong target – a police car.

“A lot of people have sent me Fawlty Towers scripts, or Basil scripts, and they were always absolutely awful,” Cleese said. “But these people had an idea, and I have to say, I met them and they were all very nice, and within 20 minutes we’d written the script. Because it was kind of obvious. And I looked at that, and I thought, no I think that will work and it’s genuinely funny.”

Despite being one of Jammy Toast’s favourite sitcoms it only ran for 12 episodes between 1975 and 1979. Cleese, who wrote the show with his ex-wife and co-star Connie Booth, said they did not make more because they did not want the quality to decline.

The star is no stranger to advertising, having previously lent his name to Sainsbury’s, Schweppes and The AA.

Cleese has also spoken about having to pay a large chunk of his wealth to his third wife Alyce Faye Eichelberger after their divorce, even embarking on his Alimony Tour in 2011.

So Fawlty Towers and Specsavers… we didn’t see that one coming!

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About the Author

Lord Davidd of Birko OBE DASc

A sad and lonely old man who used to have a life but it has now been taken over by his dedication to the cause of saving Renault Bears, running Jammy Toast and searching eBay, car boot sales, charity shops, lofts and even under beds for his beloved bears. He has even now taken in Flat Eric to save him from homelessness – his life is no longer his own!


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