View Full Version : Fawlty Towers - the Best Bits

9th Jul 2003, 06:40
As I'm browsing JetBlast this evening, BBC2 are showing the episode of Fawlty Towers in which the male guest dies and Basil goes to extreme lengths to conceal the body (you know the one).

It got me thinking - what is your favourite moment from this classic series?

I think mine may be when the elderly deaf lady is complaining about the view and Basil replies, "Well what do you expect to see from the window of a Torquay guest house? The Sydney Opera House perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically..."

(With apologies to John Cleese and Connie Booth for dialogue errors)

Well - what's yours?


9th Jul 2003, 06:52
I watched this episode this evening. Could hardly iron straight I was laughing so much.

"He's from Barcelona, you know..."

9th Jul 2003, 06:55
actually I always love to see the sign changed. I remember these 3


9th Jul 2003, 06:55
Anyone who has ever dealt with foreigners/idiots/children will recognise the scene in the Kipper episode.

"Manuel, let me explain".

<poke in eye>

9th Jul 2003, 07:12
Don't mention the war.

9th Jul 2003, 07:16
...I mentioned it twice, but I think I got away with it."


Flying Boat
9th Jul 2003, 07:20

That's my favourite one.

The Germans. The Silly walk. The Major thinking the moose head can talk.

But I do also like," Non, senor Fawlty, ees no Rat, ees Siberian Longtailed JHamsta."


Noah Zark.
9th Jul 2003, 07:20
The episode with the doctors, man and wife, one of whom is a psychiatrist. After watching Basil at his best, trying to be "normal", and being anything but, the psychiatrist murmers to his wife "There's enough material there for a convention!"

9th Jul 2003, 07:56
The bit where Cleese squats down, pulls his jacket over his head and jumps up and down...

Or. when he examines Lord Melbury's collateral: yuo know, the bricks...

Any bit with the Major...

Noah Zark.
9th Jul 2003, 08:12
Answering the 'phone whilst looking at Polly's drawings "Fawlty Titties"

And of course, 'Gourmet Night', where he lashes his car with a tree branch. I've come close to trying it on my motor a time or two!

9th Jul 2003, 08:27
The Major is just hilarious.....from tonight's episode:

"I say, he doesn't look quite the ticket does he?"

"Major, don't tell anyone but he's dead."

"Ahhhhhh.......Shot was he?"


9th Jul 2003, 08:38
John Cleese goosestepping in don't mention the war

Onan the Clumsy
9th Jul 2003, 08:51
Got to be John Cleese and the car

Right. I'll give you THREE SECONDS.

One...Two...That's IT

Whack whack

I believe the die cast model that Corgi made has The car, Basil and the tree branch.

9th Jul 2003, 08:55
* "...or..or would you care for a rat?" (Inspector)

* "I wouldnt even board my dog here!"
"Fussey is he? Poodle?" (American Tourists)

* The scene where Basil beats up his Morris 1100 with a tree branch (Gourmet Night)

* "Rosewood? Mahoganey? Teak? What do you want your breakfast tray made out of?" (Kippers)

PPRuNe Radar
9th Jul 2003, 09:09
Can't believe that Slasher's favourite bit isn't when Fawlty reaches around with his paint covered hand looking for the light switch and plants them on an attractive Shiela's breasts ;)

Belgian Chap
9th Jul 2003, 09:12
What about the american guest asking for a Waldorf Sallad (after the cook had gone home)

Basil: 'ehm, frightfully sorry sir, but we ran out of Waldorf...'

Andrew M
9th Jul 2003, 09:14
*the german one*

the german: You started it

Basil: No you started it ! You invaded poland !

DC Meatloaf
9th Jul 2003, 12:59
I think one of the funniest scenes in television history is that bit in "The Germans" beginning with Sybil calling to remind Basil to hold the fire drill. From there we get the confusion about the burglar alarm and the fire alarm, Manuel setting a real fire in the kitchen only to be locked back in the kitchen by Basil who doesn't think he understands what a fire drill is ("No fire, only bell"), then Basil realizing there actually is a fire and not being able to set off the fire alarm because he's lost the key (and promptly uses the ringing phone to smash the alarm). The pace of the whole scene, culminating in Basil shooting himself in the face with the fire extinguisher and waking up the next morning in the hospital, is just exquisite.

Hmmmm...now I've got to track down that DVD....

9th Jul 2003, 15:26
Agree with Andrew M

German : why do you keep mentioning the war

Basil : well, you started it

German : no we did not

Basil : yes you did , you invaded Poland

Classic one liner - still very funny and totally un pc

9th Jul 2003, 15:48
In The Health Inspector;

Manuel squats down in one of the outbuildings where he has obviously hidden his 'jhamster', quick look around............"Basil".

Or Major walking calmly past reception in the background of the shot carrying his shotgun to the bar and Basil doing that double-take.

Also love the Gourmet Night incident with the car - absolutely priceless!:D

Anthony Carn
9th Jul 2003, 16:25
The car beating's been mentioned, apart from the magic line, whilst frantically wagging his finger at the car....."Right ! That's it ! I've had just about enough of you ! I'm going to give you a jolly good thrashing !"

Anyway, at risk of censorship, nothing offensive intended (hey, it appeared on the show !)...

Basil chatting to the Major mentions [email protected]<hidden>

Major - "[email protected]<hidden> !!!??? They were'nt [email protected]<hidden>, Fawlty !! They were [email protected]<hidden>@<hidden> !!"


(Edited to sort out the automated asterisks - ooer !)

9th Jul 2003, 16:45
Yes that was funny, but get it right -

The major had taken his girlfriend to see India - at the Oval! The major thought it was strange that she kept calling the Indians n**@<hidden>@<hidden> - You can't call them n**@<hidden>@<hidden> exclaims the major! These people are [email protected]<hidden>!

:O :O :O

It goes on;

Major: Funny woman though, she went off to powder her ears or something, and never came back..
Basil: How extraordinary.
Major: I wish she would though, she's still got my wallet!!

Pure genius..

9th Jul 2003, 16:51
Poor old Manuel:

"Meester Fawlty, I no wanna work here no more!"

Basil finally losing it with Sybil: "Now listen here you rancorous old sow"!!!!!

I remember spending a night in an hotel in Miami, watching the telly, where the public funded channel showed 'em all, back to back, farty towels heaven!

Anthony Carn
9th Jul 2003, 16:58
Thanks iainpoll -- we'll share penalty points - deal ? :uhoh:

9th Jul 2003, 16:59
Sybil on catching Basil fondling the Aussie womans breast;

'Do you really think, even in your wildest dreams, that a girl like this would possibly be interested in an ageing brilliantine stilck insect like you. If you want to grope the guests at least have the decency to do it in private hmm'.


AC - No worries deal:ok:

(Sorry Flaps)!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jul 2003, 17:38
Yes! Yes! Most of those posted here are excellent. Agree that The Major had some good lines; I particularly liked the one in 'The Americans' when Basil is haranguing the assembled guests in reception, and the American verbally lays into him..."this is the worst, most badly run hotel it has ever been my misfortune to stay in!"

"No!" bristles the Major. "I'll not have that! There's a place in Eastbourne......"

Brilliant, brilliant writing, production, acting. Where is such stuff today?


9th Jul 2003, 18:05
To me a few of the funniest parts were visual gags, somewhat more difficult to describe than spoken lines. I'll take a shot at a couple.

Manuel left alone at reception, answers phone, saying " No Noo, he not here... see?" *Holds phone at arms length and pans around the foyer*

Polly telling Sybil that Basil won his money on a horse, trying to remember the name of the horse (Dragonfly) while Basil mimes frantically in the background to jog her memory.

In the "black handprint on the aussie girl's boob" episode, after Basil has tried to explain compromising situations away by tapping on walls etc; "just checking the walls, dear", he finally resorts to climbing up a ladder to try to catch the young couple at it, and gets sprung at the window. His eyes widen, and he starts tapping on the window. Meaningless unless you've seen it, but it broke me up completely.

As for lines, going back to the Dragonfly episode, Basil beseeches Manuel to tell Sybil the truth about the horse having previously sworn him to silence. The conspiratorial smile, the slight clearing of the throat, then, so proudly; "I know nothing! Nothing!"


Have to say the first time I saw Flowery Twats and realised it was a perfect anagram I missed the first five minutes of the show I was laughing so hard.

9th Jul 2003, 18:12
All of the above are hilarious. What can you say? And to think there were only 12 episodes ever made!

Bino has alluded to one of my favourite bits. The ladder scene. It's not only the eyes that get me, it's the bit where he gradually topples backwards.

Cut to the garden and groaning Basil being extricated from beneath the ladder by Manuel.

Dialogue? Probably when his horse has won and Sybil catches him singing in the kitchen.

'You seem happy Basil'

'Oh not me, light of my darkness, but I'll tell you if it happens. Just my way of getting through the day -- the Samaritans were enagaged.'



9th Jul 2003, 18:16
"Eets no rrat, ees pedigree Siberian Hhhammster"

"They put Baseel in the ratatouille?!"

And the scene where Basil thinks a guest wants a late night chemist to buy condoms, where really he's after batteries for his razor...

And the scene where Manuel is squatting over Basil, who's lying unconscious on the floor (having just been whacked on the head with a frying pan). Manuel is saying "I lurrve you Meester Fawlty", just as some guests come in the front door...


9th Jul 2003, 18:54
What a good thread DBC. Every post brings a happy memory to all Fawlty Fans.
Picking up on Bino's visual theme, the closing scene of the inspectors when basil offers the tin of cheese biscuits and Manuel's Jhamster appears.. Basil passes out and as the credits roll we see manuel holding the unconscious Basil by his ankles and dragging him into the kitchen ... Brilliant stuff.:D

9th Jul 2003, 18:58
I think its called "the builders"...or something like that.....Manuel has just been thrashed by Basil, and is walked through the door by the major, manuel looking like a chimp. Also the quote " O'Riley, WE'RE going to do the best days work YOU'VE ever done".........Every episode a classic !!!! :ok:

9th Jul 2003, 19:13
[QUOTE]And the scene where Manuel is squatting over Basil, who's lying unconscious on the floor (having just been whacked on the head with a frying pan). Manuel is saying "I lurrve you Meester Fawlty", just as some guests come in the front door...


Basil's hands slowly appear and wrap themselves around Manuels neck......

Also in the Hotel Inspector episode, after Basil has thrown the guy who sells spoons, who he thought was the hotel inspector out of the hotel (with a custard pie, and a suitcase full of cream), the real inspectors walk in. Basil with a big grin says, 'and what can I do for you three gentlemen.................AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH':} :}

arthur harbrow
9th Jul 2003, 19:35
Going back to Binos post where Sybil asks Polly the name of the horse and Basil points to his flies and Polly says small.

9th Jul 2003, 19:46
I speaka english, how are you - says manuel when the moose is on the desk :ok:

When the old lady is complaining about the view and Basils says thats torquay did you want it to be Monte Carlo......

Very funny. All of them

Another very well done British Comedy :ok:


9th Jul 2003, 20:14
Basil is typing the menu, Sybil is ranting at him about something, he says: "sometimes I wake up and think I might be having a nightmare"

Then proceeds to whack his head off a book on the desk a few times. Looks up: "No it's real"

(sorry for wrong dialogue, but you get the gist.


9th Jul 2003, 21:19
Manuel: You are orally men! :)

keyboard flier
9th Jul 2003, 21:50
When Basil leads Manuel out of the kitchen like a chimp and says " this Mrs Fawlty, this Mr Fawlty, this smack on head"

Priceless, I have them all on video.
:) :) :) :) :) :ok:

9th Jul 2003, 21:53
Sybil: "Are you still here?"
Basil: "No, I left five minutes ago, but I expect I'll be back soon..."

To the matron in the hospital "My god, you're ugly" and later, "It's not a doctor you want, dear, it's a plastic surgeon..."

9th Jul 2003, 21:55
Sybil; Basil, did you take the dead Pigeons out of the water tank?

Basil; No dear I left them in, they're nearly done!


9th Jul 2003, 21:59
Basil finds someone going through the food in the kitchen.
Basil Fawlty: Sybil, may I introduce the gentleman who's just opened the self-service department here. Mr...?
Mr. Carnegie: Carnegie.
Basil Fawlty: Mr. Carnegie, the scavenger gourmet from...?
[Mr. Carnegie: The Public Health department.

Manuel wants to keep his pet rat.
Manuel: Mrs. Fawlty, please understand. If he go, I go!
Basil Fawlty: Well, goodbye!

Sybil suggests a way to get rid of Manuel's rat.
Sybil Fawlty: Perhaps it would be simplest to have him put to s-l-e-e-p.
Basil Fawlty: Who? Him or the rat? I could get a discount if we get them both done.

O'Reilly: The problem with you, Mr. Fawlty, is that you worry too much. You keep it up like this, you'll have a stroke before fifty. Stone dead you'll be.
Basil Fawlty: Suits me.
O'Reilly: Oh! That's a dreadful thing to say.
Basil Fawlty: Not at all. Get a bit of peace.
O'Reilly: Don't be so morbid. The Good Lord made the world so that we could all enjoy ourselves.
Basil Fawlty: Look, my wife enjoys herself. I worry.
O'Reilly: Well, let me tell you, if the Lord had meant us to worry, he would have given us things to worry about.
Basil Fawlty: HE HAS! MY WIFE!! She will be back here in four hours and she can kill a man at ten paces with one blow of her tongue! How am I supposed not to worry?
O'Reilly: Just remember, Mr. Fawlty, there's always somebody worse off than yourself.
Basil Fawlty: Is there? Well I'd like to meet him. I could do with a laugh.
O'Reilly: You'll have to worry for the both of us. I tell you, if the Good Lord---
Basil Fawlty: ---is mentioned ONCE more, I shall move you closer to him!

Mrs Richards: I expected to see the sea.
Basil Fawlty: You can see the sea, it is over there between the land and the sky.
Mrs Richards: You call that a view?
Basil Fawlty: Well perhaps you should consider moving to a hotel closer to the sea, preferably in it.

9th Jul 2003, 22:03
Basil: "Hard day under the hairdryer my little nest of vipers?"


9th Jul 2003, 22:12
Other great lines from Basil:

Basil: Always reminds me of somebody machine-gunning a seal.
Major: The heat?
Basil: No, no. My wife's laugh.

Sybil: Don't shout at me. I've had a difficult morning.
Basil: Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your eclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn't have time to perm your ears?

Ronald, a young boy, complains about the fries.
Ronald: They're the wrong shape.
Basil: Oh dear. What shape do you usually have? Mickey Mouse shape? Smarties shape? Amphibious landing craft shape? Poke in the eye shape?

Basil is just trying to fix a stuffed head of a moose on the wall when the telephone rings. It is Sybil.
Basil: Yes, Fawlty Towers, yes, hello? ... I was just doing it, you stupid woman. I just put it down to come here to be reminded by you to do what I'm already doing! I mean what's the point of reminding me to do what I'm already doing. I mean what is the bloody point?! I'm doing it, aren't I!?

Wing Root
9th Jul 2003, 22:20
Basil "Is this a piece of your brain?"

9th Jul 2003, 22:43
the episode with the hard of hearing old lady/vase/dragonfly horse etc..........

cut to the bedroom scene after basil's comments about the view ......he gets fed up with her whittering so goes into mime mode, mouthing his reply, she of course keeps on saying "what" "what" and slowly cranking up her hearing aid..........basil strains and streches his mouth as he fakes increasing the volume of his voice promting her to crank that baby right up, along with our excitment and tension as we just know whats comming next from his devious yet genuis mind.........
just a were ready to burst he screems into her hearing aid satisfying our lust.....truly comic genius....is it just me and nostalgia or is the comedy around today not even close??

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jul 2003, 22:52
Basil, muttering to himself:


"What was that?"

"That was your life, mate".

"Do I get another go?"



9th Jul 2003, 23:45
an visual gag, hard to describe, but Basil is talking to some guests that are just checking in, and shouts "Manuel! Take these guests bags up to room 14"

Manuel: "Que?"

then, basil holds up a card with a picture of a bag on it, then an arrow pointing up, then the number 14. Realisation dawns accross Manuel's face and he scuttles off "aah si si si"


"Right, so thats one Ham Salad, one Hermann Goering, one Joseph Goebbels and an Adolf Hitler. ....... SORRY! Sorry, got a bit confused there"


10th Jul 2003, 00:58
Right at the end of the episode with the dead body and the kipper there is a masterpiece of timing.

After a day fraught with cockups, the lobby is filling up with dissatisfied guests. No way out. Then Basil spots the laundry basket which had previously contained the dead body.

Basil flips open the basket lid, turns to the open hotel door and shouts "Laundry's ready !!" before jumping into the basket and closing the lid.

Two laundry guys come in, pick up the basket and carry Basil to safety through the angry mob, leaving Sybil shouting:
"Basil ! ... Basil !! ... Basil !!! ... Basil !!!! ... "

Doors to Automatic
10th Jul 2003, 00:59
Absolute class through all twelve episodes! Political incorrectness at its very best!

Last night's episode was one of my favourites -

"Goodnight.........I said goodnight!"


"Didn't hurt, did it?"

10th Jul 2003, 01:34
From the Psychiatrist;

Basil: And Mrs Abbott, how do you do?

Mr Abbott: Doctor Abbott, actually.

Basil: I'm sorry?

Mr Abbott: Doctor Abbott.

Mrs Abbott: Two doctors!

Basil: You are two doctors?

Mrs Abbott: Yes.

Basil: Well, how did you become two doctors? That's most
unusual. I mean, did you take the exams twice, or ...?

Mr Abbott: No, my wife is a doctor.

Mrs Abbott: I'm a doctor!

Basil: You're a doctor, too! So you're three doctors

:O :O

10th Jul 2003, 03:15
Yes, it is, without a shadow of doubt, the best comedy ever.

The scene in the "Mrs. Richards" episode, where, after pretending her hearing aid hs failed totally, Basil screams at the poor Mrs Richards, who bangs her head on the shelf under which she's standing. Basil then picks something off the floor, and shows it to Mrs Richards, asking "is this a piece of your brain?" :D

Other brilliants scenes are.....

"Oh what a terrible dream"

"outboard motors??!!"

"got her cardie did you?" (to the moose)

"I'm going to give you the shirt off my back"

the "sometimes I don't shave and that's disbusting too" scene

And many many more!



PS Who's going to start a "Dad's Army - the Best Bits" thread :}

PPRuNe Radar
10th Jul 2003, 03:45
PS Who's going to start a "Dad's Army - the Best Bits" thread

Could be a contender for the shortest thread ever ;)

10th Jul 2003, 05:11

Are you on a second life or something? It was vaguely amusing, but not exactly side-splittingly funny. Totally different class. You'll be suggesting the highlights of Are You Being Served next.;)

Only kidding.:O

Noah Zark.
10th Jul 2003, 06:01
It just shows the quality of the writing, acting, casting, et al, when having seen all twelve episodes, time and again, it is still funny.
Nothing made today even gets off the starting blocks.

Andrew M
10th Jul 2003, 06:49
"Dad's Army - the Best Bits"

Hey, imagine the Beeb released this as a video cassette.

That would be one very short video :D

10th Jul 2003, 07:45
Deaf Lady: I've booked a room with a bath and a sea view.
Manuel: Que?
DL: K?
M: Si.
DL: C?
M: No. Que, "what."
DL: K. Watt?
M: Si, que, "what."
DL: C. K. Watt? Is he the manager?
M: Ah! Manajer! Mister Fawlty.
DL: This man is telling me the manager is a C. K. Watt, aged forty.
M: No, no, FAWLTY.
DL: Faulty? Why? What's wrong with him?

and of course Basil's discovery of Lord Melbray's bricks in the briefcase, where he shakes them, gently clinks them together, sniffs one, holds one to his ear... Not a word said in that scene.

10th Jul 2003, 09:05
I enjoyed The Young Ones, totally off the wall..."Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored!"


You want it when?
10th Jul 2003, 16:46
Thanks for starting the thread some memories here, another two for you.

Basil: "Have you seen my wife make toast?"

Mimes a dragon breathing onto the bread.

And on of my favourites which I'll admit to using...

Basil hitting Maunel.

"Try to understand, before one of us dies"

10th Jul 2003, 17:20
Guest: "Is there anywhere they do French food?"
Basil: "Yes, France, I believe. They seem to like it there. And the swim would certainly sharpen your appetite. You'd better hurry, the tide leaves in six minutes."

Basil: "Can't we get you on Mastermind, Sybil? Next contestant Sybil Fawlty from Torquay, special subject: the bleeding obvious."

10th Jul 2003, 17:39
Amazing sit-com - brilliantly written and acted.

Only two series, 4 years apart. 12 episodes, and not a single bad one - although everyone has their favourite:8

Part of me wished they had done more, but maybe that is the point - the series was left alone with people wanting more...most sit-coms are flogged to death..Only Fools and Horses being an example. Fawlty Towers therefore became a legend.

Does anyone remember it first time round (I was too young)? Was it considered funny at the time, or did it grow on people?

Basil to guest; We have a Spanish waiter we are training, he's from Barcelona.
Guest; Thats very interesting.
Basil; What? Yes, well it would be quicker to train an APE!!!!


10th Jul 2003, 18:54

Sybil: "Why did you put him there then?"
Basil: "Well he wouldn't fit in the safe and all the drawers were full!"

Gourmet Night:

Polly: "Kurt.....is....drunk!"
Basil: (lowering glass onto counter) "I see................AAARRRGGGGGGH!...sorry! sorry......"

American Tourists:

Basil lowers 2 plates of lamb dinner on front counter while greeting American tourists.
Guest who wanders out of dining room: "Are those ours?"
Basil: "Not yet."

Basil: This is...typical. Absolutley typical. The kind of.....ARSE I have to put up from you people! You poonce in here expecting to be waited on hand and foot while I'm trying to run a hotel here! Have you any idea of how hard that is? You busy yourselves with nothing better to do than sticking your nose into other peoples business! Well let me tell you something! This is EXACTLEY how Nazi Germany started! A lot of lay-abouts with nothing better to do! Well I've had enough of pandering to the likes of you! Pack your bags, and GET OUT!"
Guest: "But its raining!"
Basil: "Well you shouldve thought of that before! Come on! Rous! Rous! Rous!....."

10th Jul 2003, 21:29
The Germans has to be one of the best episodes. Has me in stictches all the way through, right from the start.
Especially when Fawlty is talking to the Major about Sybil, women and the Indians.:ok:

"Your ordeurves...ordeurs orders which must be obeyed at all times." In a German accent.

Don't you just love British Comedy?:O

John (Gary) Cooper
10th Jul 2003, 22:25

God I'm cracked up here! Thanks for reminding us, the funniest thing ever to appear on TV.

Strange actually 'cause my wife could never see anything funny in Fawlty at all, Sybil yes, but the tears used to roll down my cheeks the first time round and they still do, I could never get enough of it. The Aussie 'Sheila' bit with the light switch, what a corker!

Everyone a Brahma!

11th Jul 2003, 02:17
Good points Iainpoll:
Only two series, 4 years apart. 12 episodes, and not a single bad one - although everyone has their favourite
I'm pretty sure it was 1975 when first shown, but were the two series really four years apart? That doesn't sound right to me.

I suspect the reason people think there were more episodes is because there were several stories within each episode. We were newly married in 1975 and had the good luck to win a colour TV, colour still being fairly rare. (350 versus 150ish for b&w). This sort of programme really made our day, and when VCRs came around (when???) we acquired a really HUGE old Philips, ex rental, that needed a lot of TLC but gave a brilliant rendering of any prog with a good signal. That was one reason (I think) why viewers were suddenly able to "remember" every line of an episode because you could watch it every night of the week.
Does anyone remember it first time round (I was too young)? Was it considered funny at the time, or did it grow on people? I saw it when it was first shown, and yes, it was definitely funny the first time. I will never forget my wife and I almost wetting ourselves at the car thrashing scene. I think two characters stick in my mind as being able to leave you with your cheeks aching from laughter: Basil Fawlty and Billy Connolly.

Andrew M
11th Jul 2003, 04:42
I think the reason why Fawlty Towers is still looked back upon so greatly is because they finished the series while it was still great.

Most shows nowadays are milked for the very last laughter - then it's downhill from there; and everyone seems to remember the series for the wrong reasons.

An example of which is Only Fools and Horses. They should have finished it before it ran dry, and that would be looked back upon more too.

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