Fawlty Towers. Image shows from L to R: Manuel (Andrew Sachs), Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), Sybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales), Polly (Connie Booth). Copyright: BBC.

Fawlty Towers

BBC Two sitcom about a badly run hotel. 12 episodes (2 series), 1975 - 1979. Stars John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth and others.

Un-broadcast Basil Fawlty intro

John Cleese recorded this special intro for an episode of Not The Nine O'Clock News in character as Basil Fawlty, but it was never actually broadcast.

From Series 1. Featuring: John Cleese (Basil Fawlty).

More context on this clip...

Filming on the final Fawlty Towers episode - 'Basil The Rat' - was delayed due to BBC strike action and thus it wasn't ready to be shown on TV on Monday 2nd April 1979 as had been planned. To fill the gap, the BBC decided to broadcast a new sketch show: Not The Nine O'Clock News. However, as Fawlty Towers had been listed in the Radio Times as a 6-part series, executives thought it would be wise to have Basil Fawlty appear on screen to keep some continuity and introduce the replacement show.

After all that, at the last minute, BBC management decided Not The Nine O'Clock News wasn't ready to be seen after all, and instead ordered that the 'Gourmet Night' episode from Series 1 be repeated to fill the gap... thus this introduction filmed by John Cleese was never actually seen by TV viewers.

'Basil The Rat' was eventually shown on the 25th October 1979, with Not The Nine O'Clock News starting that month too. The latter became a hit in its own right, whilst Fawlty Towers went on to be named one of the best sitcoms ever made.

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