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FEATURED U.K NEWS REPORT: John Cleese to Revive Fawlty Towers Series With His Daughter Camilla


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Feb.08: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – UK TV sitcom Fawlty Towers is set to be revived after more than 40 years according to BBC UK News

Basil Fawlty
Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, will be returning to our screens in a new series

John Cleese, who played Basil Fawlty, will be returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese.

The classic show ran for two series on BBC Two in 1975 and 1979, following the lives of Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil as they tried to keep their business and marriage afloat. 

The new series will explore how the misanthropic Basil navigates the modern world.

Castle Rock Entertainment announced on Tuesday it had closed a deal with Cleese to bring back the television series, but it’s not yet clear which channel or streaming service it would appear on.

The revival will also see Basil and his daughter, who he has just discovered is his, team up to run a boutique hotel. 

Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth on the set of Fawlty Towers in 1975
The original cast of Fawlty Towers – Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, John Cleese and Connie Booth – on set in 1975

Fawlty Towers was originally written by Cleese and his then wife and co-star Connie Booth.

Set in a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay, it found Cleese’s snobbish protagonist, Basil Fawlty, struggling to run his business, despite the help of Booth’s character, chambermaid Polly, his wife and the hapless Spanish waiter, Manuel, played by Andrew Sachs.

Basil is shown trying and often failing to keep his struggles – induced by farcical run-ins with hotel guests, inspectors and tradespeople – secret from Sybil, played by Prunella Scales.

Classic episodes included Basil “thrashing” his own car with a tree branch, out of frustration. And, suffering from the effects of concussion, repeatedly offending some German guests with the often quoted “don’t mention the war”.

Who is Camilla Cleese?

Camilla Cleese and John Cleese speak onstage at 'Comedy with the Cleeses' in 2022
John Cleese and his daughter Camilla will both be starring in the new series

Camilla Cleese is the daughter of John Cleese and Barbara Trentham, the late American model and actress.

The UK-born American actress, writer and producer has credits on the One Show, as well as on the US TV shows @Midnight and the Bachelorette Weekend.

She has also written and performed stand-up comedy for the likes of the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and the Just For Laughs International Comedy Gala in Sydney. Her writing credits include her father’s live show in 2011 called John Cleese: The Alimony Tour. 

In a stand-up performance seven years ago [which carries a warning for swearing], she joked about her parents having been married several times. “I would like to get married one day,” she told the audience. “I’d like to be like my parents: it’s really impressive, they’ve been married almost 42 years… I mean to seven different people! Not at the same time.”

Director and actor Rob Reiner of Castle Rock Entertainment, who are set to re-boot the series
Director and actor Rob Reiner of Castle Rock Entertainment, who are set to re-boot the series

The new series will see actor Rob Reiner, his wife and actress Michelle Reiner, director and producer Matthew George and Derrick Rossi all act as executive producers.

Cleese – one of the original members of Monty Python – said when he first met George “he offered an excellent idea” which led to “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,” he said. 

“Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.” 

George said he was “obsessed with Fawlty Towers” and meeting Cleese and his daughter was one of the “great thrills” of his life. 

“I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count,” he said. “I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”

Reiner, who is also currently working on the sequel to the cult 1984 rock mockumentary Spinal Tap, described the Fawlty Towers star as a “comedy legend”. “Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”

John Cleese
John Cleese rose to fame as part of the British surreal comedy troupe Monty Python

When Fawlty Towers was broadcast in the 70s, it won several Baftas, including for best scripted comedy, with Cleese also picking up the award for best entertainment performance.

Four decades on, the show is still seen as one of the best of its kind, and in 2019, it was named as the greatest British sitcom of all time by a panel of TV comedy experts for Radio Times magazine. 

The show was remade in the US three times, but all failed; and in 2009 Cleese said there would never be another series with the original cast.

“I think everyone would be excited if we did it,” he said. “The problem is, when you do do something that is generally accepted as being very good, a horrible problem arises, which is: how do you top it? The expectation of what you will do is so high.”

In 2020, Cleese had a disagreement with the BBC after it temporarily removed a classic episode of Fawlty Towers because of “racial slurs”.

The 1975 episode, called The Germans, featured the Major Gowen character using highly offensive language and Basil declaring “don’t mention the war”.

‘Offensive content warning’

Cleese criticised the decision, saying: “I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would understand that there are two ways of making fun of human behaviour.

“One is to attack it directly. The other is to have someone who is patently a figure of fun, speak up on behalf of that behaviour.”

After the Black Lives Matter movement returned to prominence in 2020, following the death of George Floyd, broadcasters and streaming services began to re-evaluate their content.

Streaming service UKTV temporarily removed the episode while it carried out a review, but it was reinstated with a warning about “offensive content and language”.

While the episode is best remembered for Fawlty’s goose-stepping, it also contains scenes showing Major Gowen using offensive language about the West Indies cricket team.

According to reports, the Major’s scenes had already started to be edited out by some broadcasters.

In October 2022, the Monty Python actor confirmed he would be hosting his own GB News TV show, warning that viewers “may not be used to hearing the sort of things I’ll be saying”.

‘Fawlty Towers’ Reboot In The Works With John Cleese, Camilla Cleese & Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment according to Deadline News by

Fawlty Towers
John Cleese, Camilla Cleese and the cast of ‘Fawlty Towers,’ John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs and Connie Booth Andy Gotts/Courtesy/BBC

Basil Fawlty is back. A reboot of John Cleese’s British comedy sensation Fawlty Towers is in the works and Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment is developing. 

More than 40 years after the second and final season drew to a close, Monty Python star Cleese is set to write and star alongside daughter Camilla Cleese, in news that will bring joy to a generation of British comedy fans.

The new series will explore how Cleese’s over-the-top, cynical and misanthropic Basil Fawlty navigates  the modern world. Plot details are largely being kept under wraps but the development will bring the story forward to explore Basil’s relationship with a daughter he has just discovered he had, as the pair tempt fate and team up to run a boutique hotel.

The Cleeses have joined with Reiner’s Castle Rock on the development, with Reiner, Michele Reiner, Derrick Rossi and Matthew George exec producing. 

John Cleese praised George’s “understanding of the ‘creative process’” and described their first meeting as “one of the best creative sessions I can remember.”

Rob Reiner added: “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh,” while George described meeting John and Camilla Cleese as “one of the great thrills of my life.” 

Castle Rock is currently working on another sequel to a much-loved British classic, This is Spinal Tap, along with a sequel to 2017’s Wind River: The Next Chapter.

Although it only ran for two six-part seasons, finishing in 1979, Fawlty Towers has ranked number one on numerous best all-time British comedy lists.

Written by Cleese and Connie Booth, the show followed hapless hotel manager Fawlty and a hilarious cast of characters that included legendary Spanish waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs), Cleese’s bossy wife Sybil (Prunella Scales) and their chambermaid Polly, played by Booth.

The idea came from Cleese’s stay at a hotel in an English seaside town and the show came to define the ‘middle England’ genre. 

Fawlty Towers currently airs on BBC Two and is available to stream on BritBox.

Cleese, whose credits include Monty Python, A Fish Called Wanda and Shrek, has become something of a culture warrior in recent years. He most recently slammed the BBC for failing to show repeats of Monty Python, a claim that was pushed back on. He is making a documentary about cancel culture for Channel 4 and plans to host a show for right-leaning UK network GB News that will champion free speech.

Cleese is represented by CAA and Anonymous Content. Camilla Cleese is repped by Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin.


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