It’s Time to Check Back into ‘Fawlty Towers’: John Cleese to Reboot the Original Series
Grab those suitcases, Fawlty Towers is re-opening for business. Everyone’s least-favourite hotelier, Basil Fawlty and his crew are returning to check guests back in after being “AWOL” for more than forty years. In an out-of-the-blue announcement, it was confirmed that the original show’s lead actor/writer, John Cleese is reviving Fawlty Towers with his real-life daughter Camilla Cleese. The critically acclaimed British comedy TV series first aired in the late 1970s and ran for two full seasons before drawing to a close. The show, which aired on BBC2 from 1975 to 1979, followed the lives of Torquay-based hotel owner Basil and his wife Sybil as they strived hard to keep their business and marriage afloat.
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The Monty Python star is now rebooting the series for a whole new generation of audiences, returning to write and star in the project, alongside his real-life daughter Camilla Cleese, who will also star and write alongside her father for the upcoming series. The upcoming Fawlty Towers reboot will “explore how Cleese’s over-the-top, cynical and misanthropic Basil Fawlty navigates the modern world,” with the story heavily centred around Fawlty’s relationship with his estranged daughter as the duo attempt to run a boutique hotel together. And that’s about everything we know so far about this mystery reboot series.
No cast details or synopsis have been made public and the only character currently said to make a comeback from the original show is Cleese’s Basil. We also have no idea who would play Camilla’s mother in this in-development Fawlty Towers reboot. Prunella Scales, who originally portrayed Sybil Fawlty, had to bring her charming career to an end on account of her deteriorating health (she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) in 2020.
Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment recently announced the development of the series, with Rob, Michele Reiner, Derrick Rossi and Matthew George executive producing. During the big reveal, John Cleese said that he was impressed with George’s excellent understanding of the creative process further adding that their first meeting was “one of the best creative sessions” that he can remember.
Cleese said, “What I like about Matt is that, unlike many producers, he really ‘gets’ the creative process. When we first met, he offered an excellent first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla, and I had 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.”
While Rob Reiner added, “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.” Matthew George described meeting John and Camilla Cleese as “one of the great thrills” of his life, stating, “I’m obsessed with Fawlty Towers and the legendary characters he created. 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.”
Despite Cleese returning to play the iconic character, reviving such an era-defining show won’t be an easy job and the upcoming series will have a lot to live up to.