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The Independent Culture
The Complete Fawlty Towers, pounds 34.99

JOHN CLEESE and his then-wife, Connie Booth, only wrote 12 episodes of this superb sit-com. It's one of those facts which is often cited whenever another re-run appears on television. Another one is that Basil, and the creation as a whole, was inspired by a trip Cleese and a few of the Monty Python team made to a Torquay hotel in 1971. The hotel was reportedly The Gleneagles, but any resemblance between the incredibly bad-tempered manager they encountered and the proprietor of Fawlty Towers is, of course, purely coincidental.

It hardly seems worth re-iterating that this is one of the great sit- coms, so here are a few other production titbits. Cleese and Booth only wrote the second series after the immense success of the first six episodes. They both thought that there was nothing left in the idea and, besides, their marriage was on the skids. Fawlty Towers also proved to be that rare beast - an English sit-com which was a success in its original form in the US.