Fawlty Towers (1975–1979) was a BBC television sitcom about hotel owner Basil Fawlty's incompetence, short fuse, and arrogance that form a combination that ensures accidents and trouble are never far away.
Written by John Cleese and Connie Booth.
== Series 1 ==
=== A Touch of Class ===
[Classical music is playing in the background. Basil is putting up a picture. Sybil walks in.]
Sybil: Don't forget the menu.
Basil: I beg your pardon?
Sybil: Don't forget the menu.
Basil: I thought you said you want— Right! I'll do the menu!
[He puts down the picture, walks over to a typewriter and sits down.]
Sybil: You could have had them both done by now if you hadn't spent the whole morning skulking in there listening to that racket.
Basil: Racket? That's Brahms! Brahms' Third Racket!
Basil: [mutters] All morning? I've only had two bars!Basil: Hello, Fawlty Towers. Ah, yes, Mr. O'Reilly. Well, it's quite simple. When I asked you to build me a wall, I was rather thinking that instead of just dumping the bricks down in a pile, you might find time to cement them together one on top of the other in the traditional fashion. [to Melbury] Could you fill it in, please? [to O'Reilly] Oh, splendid! Yes, but when, Mr. O'Reilly? [to Melbury] There. There. [to O'Reilly] Yes, but when? Ah, I see: the flu. [to Melbury] Both names, please. [to O'Reilly] Yes, I should have guessed, Mr. O'Reilly; that and the potato famine, I suppose.
Melbury: I beg your pardon?
Basil: Could you put both your names please? [to O'Reilly] Well, can you give me a date?
Melbury: I only use one.
Basil: You don't have a first name?
Melbury: No. I am Lord Melbury, so I simply sign "Melbury."
Basil: [Now realising that Melbury is of high class] [to O'Reilly] Go away. [hangs up] So sorry to have kept you waiting, your lordship. I do apologise.Basil: Sybil, I forbid you to open that safe. [She does so] Sybil, I forbid you to take that case out! [She does so] Sybil, you cannot open that case! I FORBID it! [She does so]Basil: [to Melbury] Well, how are you, Lord Melbury? 'Ow are yer then? All right, mate? 'Ow's me' old mucker? [He gently slaps Lord Melbury on the cheeks and pulls his ears] Any valuables to deposit, Sir Richard? Any bricks? [Lord Melbury panics and runs away] [to Richard] I do apologise...[to Melbury] You bastard!Basil: [To Sir Richard and Lady Morris] Where are you going?
Sir Richard: We're leaving!!
Basil: Oh, don't! Please stay. You'll like it here.
Sir Richard: I've never been in such a place in my life! [They drive away]
Basil: [yells] You snobs! You stupid, stuck up, toffee-nosed, half-witted, upper class piles of... pus!Mr. Waering: [furious] A gin and orange, a lemon squash, and a scotch and water, please!
Basil: [smashing the picture, vexed] RIGHT!
[He frogmarches Mr. Waering to his table to be served.]
=== The Builders ===
Sybil: O'Reilly, I have seen more intelligent creatures than you lying on their backs at the bottoms of ponds. I have seen better-organised creatures than you running round farmyards with their heads cut off! Now collect your things and get out! I never want to see you or any of your men in my hotel again.Basil: Ah, hello, Mr. O'Reilly. How are you this morning? Oh, good, good. No rare diseases or anything? Oh, I do beg your pardon: Basil Fawlty, you remember? The poor sod you do jobs for? Well now, how are things your end? Oh, good. Good, good, good. Well now, how would you like to hear about things my end? Oh, well, up to your usual standard I think I can say. A few holes in the floor, the odd door missing; but nothing you can't be sued for.Basil: [down the phone to O'Reilly] ...No, I don't want to debate about it, if you're not over here in twenty minutes with my door I shall come over there and insert a large garden gnome in you. Good day.Sybil: [Seeing Basil walking down the road with a large garden gnome] Where are you going, Basil?
Basil: Just going to see O'Reilly, dear! [mutters] Then I think I'll go to Canada.Manuel: [pretending to talk to someone on the phone] Manuel Towers. How are you? Is nice, today. Good! Goodbye.Delivery man: Where's the boss?
Delivery man: The, the... the generalissimo!
Manuel: [looks at him incredulously] In Madrid!Tibbs: Don't do anything we wouldn't do.
Basil: Just a little breathing, surely?Basil: Are you going to take something like that seriously?!
O'Reilly: Well... well, I thought I might...
Basil: YOU THOUGHT YOU MIGHT?!?!! What kind of man ARE you!?! Are you going to let her talk to us like that?!
O'Reilly: But she did!!
Basil: No, no, no, she only thinks she did. But we'll show her! We're not only going to take that door out and put the other one back, we're going to add that new door and block that one off as well. We're going to to the BEST day's work you've EVER done, O'Reilly!![Basil has just tripped over Sybil's garden gnome behind the reception desk]
Basil: What is this!! What is this doing here?! What is going on here??
Polly: Your wife ordered it. Call O'Reilly!
Basil: That golfing puff-adder?! What does she want a stupid... [begins strangling the gnome]
Polly: [bangs phone on counter] CALL O'REILLY!
Polly: Shall I call him?
Basil: No no I'll do it! I'll call him, you go and see if the roof's still on!
=== The Wedding Party ===
Basil: Did you ever see that film, How To Murder Your Wife?
Major Gowen: "How To Murder Your Wife"?
Basil: Yes, awfully good. I saw it six times.Basil: Always reminds me of somebody machine-gunning a seal.
Major Gowen: The heat?
Basil: No, no. My wife's laugh.Basil: [about Sybil's laughter] Please don't alarm yourself, it's only my wife laughing. I'm afraid her local finishing school was bombed.
Mrs. Peignoir: [shocked] Oh dear!
Basil: No, no, not really. Just a thought. Well now, what can I get you?
Mrs. Peignoir: Do you have any Ricard?
Basil: [confused] I'm sorry?
Mrs. Peignoir: Any Ricard?
Basil: [unsure what Ricard is, he pretends to check the bar] Uh, we're just out of it, I think...
=== The Hotel Inspectors ===
Mr. Hutchinson: Oh no, come on now, this is quite absurd - sorry, I'm - I do not want the omelet!
Manuel: Is nice!
Mr. Hutchinson: I don't want the bloody thing, I've sent it back once!
Basil: Here, give it to me.
Mr. Hutchinson: I fail to see how this sort of thing can happen!
Basil: There, I've torn it up. You'll never see it again.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? Hmmm... or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn't have time to perm your ears?Basil: I would find it a little easier to cope with some of the cretins we get in here, my little nest of vipers, if I got smidgen of co-operation from you.
Sybil: Co-operation? That's a laugh. The day you co-operate, you'll be in a wooden box. I've never heard such rudeness.Basil: Spoons, eh?
Mr. Hutchinson: Sorry?
Mr. Hutchinson: I beg your pardon?
Basil: I understand you're in the spoon trade.
Mr. Hutchinson: Oh, yes. Yes.
Basil: Fascinating. How very absorbing for you.
Mr. Hutchinson: Well...
Basil: So much more interesting than being a HOTEL INSPECTOR!!
Mr. Hutchinson: Y'What...?Mr. Hutchinson: There is a documentary on BBC2 this evening about Squawking Bird, the leader of the Blackfoot Indians in the late 1860s. Now this starts at 8.45 and goes on for approximately three-quarters of an hour.
Basil: I'm sorry, are you talking to me?
Mr. Hutchinson: Indeed I am, yes. Now is it possible for me to reserve the BBC2 channel for the duration of this televisual feast?
Basil: Why don't you talk properly?
Mr. Hutchinson: I beg your pardon?
Basil: No it isn't.
Mr. Hutchinson: What?
Basil: It is not possible to reserve the BBC2 channel from the commencement of this televisual feast until the moment of the termination of its ending thereof, thank you so much.
=== Gourmet Night ===
Sybil: Andre thinks Thursdays are a good idea.
Andre: Hmm I think so.
Basil: Good! Then on all other days we'll serve up a great big trough of baked beans and garnish it with a couple of dead dogs.[Polly is trying to tell Basil that Kurt is drunk in front of the guests]
Polly: He's potted the shrimps.
Polly: He's potted the shrimps!
Basil: Shrimps? Not having shrimps tonight, Polly. Now... [starts to walk away with the guests]
Polly: He's soused! [beat] The herrings.
Basil: What are you on about?
Polly: [slowly] He's pickled the onions and he's smashed the eggs in his pot [crosses eyes] under the table.
Basil: [to the guests] Excuse me. [to Polly] Have you been drinking?
Polly: No, not me!
Basil: Then will you behave yourself!Basil: He's drunk!
Basil: Drunk! Soused! Potted! Inebriated! Got it?!
Sybil: I don't believe it!
Basil: Neither do I. Perhaps it's a dream. [pounds his head on the desk several times, sits up, looks around.] Nope, it's not a dream. We're stuck with it.Basil: [yelling at his car] Come on! Come on! Start! Start, you vicious bastard! Come on! Oh, my God! I'm warning you! If you don't start... I'll count to three! 1, 2, 3! Right! That's it! [leaving the car, he starts yelling at it] I've had enough! You've tried it on just once too often! Right! Well, don't say I haven't warned you! I've laid it on the line for you time and time again! Right! Well, this is it! I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing! [he leaves the frame, returns holding a branch and starts thrashing the car over the bonnet]
=== The Germans ===
Major: Oh, Fawlty. How's, erm...
Basil: My wife?
Major: Er, that's it.
Basil: Fine. Absolutely fine. They're taking it out tomorrow morning.
Major: Is she? Good.
Basil: No, not her, the nail. They're taking it out tomorrow.
Basil: The nail! They're taking it out tomorrow.
Major: H-How did she get a nail in her?
Basil: No, I thought I told you, Major. She's having her toenail taken out.
Major: What, just the one of them?
Basil: It's an ingrowing one, Major.
Major: If it's causing you pain, you have it out!Major: Germans, coming here?
Basil: Oh just for a couple of days.
Major: I don't care much for Germans.
Basil: I suppose I see what you mean-
Major: Bunch of Krauts, that's what they are! All of them! Bad eggs!
Basil: Well forgive and forget, Major. God knows how, the bastards. Still...Basil: [calling up the stairs, with Manuel holding onto him] Right, ladies and gentlemen, sorry to disturb you. Could I have everyone down here, in the lobby. There is something I think I ought to mention.
[The guests all gather in the lobby]
Miss Gatsby: What is it?
Basil: The point is, can I put it this way... [high voice] Fire.
Miss Gatsby: Fire?
Basil: Fire. Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fire!
Major Gowen: Fire?
Basil: Fire! Out there. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!
[All the guests leave the hotel]Basil: Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright. [returns to the Germans] So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads. Wait a moment, I got a bit confused here, sorry. Sorry, I got a bit confused because everyone keeps mentioning the war, so could you... what's the matter?
Elder Herr: It's alright.
Basil: Is there something wrong?
Elder Herr: Will you stop talking about the war?
Basil: Me? You started it!
Elder Herr: We did not start it!
Basil: Yes you did, you invaded Poland![Basil is in hospital and a nurse is tending to his injuries]
Basil: Don't touch me! I don't know where you've been!
Sister: Yes, yes. We must have our little jokes, mustn't we?
Basil: Yes, we must, mustn't we? My God, you're ugly, aren't you? Mind boggling!
[The nurse is shocked by Basil's comments]
Sister: I-I'll get the doctor.
Basil: You need a plastic surgeon, dear, not a doctor.
Sybil: How dare you talk to Sister like that. Get back into bed!
Basil: You do not seem to realise that I am needed at the hotel!
Sybil: Not they don't. They're managing beautifully without you.
Basil: Polly cannot cope!
Sybil: Well she can't fall over waiters or get her head stuck under desks or start burglar alarms or lock people in burning rooms or fire fire extinguishers straight in her own face but I think the hotel can do without that sort of 'coping' for a couple of days. What do you think Basil, hmm?Ms Tibbs: We don't think you're well, Mr Fawlty.
Basil: Well perhaps not but I'll live longer than you.
Ms Gatsby: You must have hurt yourself!
Basil: My dear woman, a blow on the head like that...is worth two in the bush.Manuel: [hidden behind front desk, with moose head in plain sight] How are YOU, sir? I can speak English. I learn it from a book.
== Series 2 ==
=== Communication Problems ===
Mrs. Richards: What is going on here? I ask him for my room, and he tells me the manager's a "Mr Watt," aged forty.
Manuel: No, no. Fawlty.
Mrs. Richards: Faulty? What's wrong with him?
Polly: It's all right, Mrs. Richards. He's from Barcelona.
Mrs. Richards: The manager's from Barcelona?
Manuel: No, no. He's from, er, Swanage.Mrs. Richards: Now listen to me. I booked a room with a bath. When I book a room with a bath I expect to get a bath.
Basil: [confused] You've got a bath.
Mrs. Richards: I'm not paying seven pounds twenty pence per night plus V.A.T. for a room without a bath.
Basil: [goes into the bathroom] There is your bath.
Mrs. Richards: [looks at it] You call that a bath? It's not big enough to drown a mouse. It's disgraceful...
Basil: [sotto] Wish you were a mouse, I'd show you...
Mrs. Richards: And another thing: I asked for a room with a view.
Basil: [to Manuel] Deaf, mad, and blind. [goes to the window] Ah, this is the view as far as I can remember, madam... yes, yes, this is it.
Mrs. Richards: When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
Basil: That is Torquay, madam.
Mrs. Richards: Well it's not good enough.
Basil: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically -?
Mrs. Richards: Don't be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.
Basil: You can see the sea, it's over there between the land and the sky.
Mrs. Richards: I'd need a telescope to see that.
Basil: Well, may I suggest that you consider moving to a hotel closer to the sea? ...or preferably in it.
Mrs Richards: Now listen to me. I am not satisfied, but I've decided to stay. However, I shall expect a reduction.
Basil: Why, because Krakatoa's not erupting at the moment, or...?
Mrs Richards: Because the room is cold, the bath is too small, the view is invisible, and the radio doesn't work.
Basil: No, the radio works. [sotto] You don't.
Mrs Richards: What?
Basil: I'll see if I can fix it [sotto] you scabby old bat.
[He turns it on, loudly; it works fine; Manuel plugs his ears]
Basil: I think we got something then?
Mrs Richards: What?
Basil: I think we got something then!
Mrs Richards: [looking at Manuel with his fingers in his ears] What are you doing?
[Basil swats him upside the head]
Basil: Madam, don't think me rude, but may I ask, do you by any chance have a hearing aid?
Mrs Richards: A what?
Basil: A HEARING AID!
Mrs Richards: Yes I do have a hearing aid!
Basil: Would you like me to get it mended?
Mrs Richards: Mended? It's working perfectly alright.
Basil: No it isn't!
Mrs Richards: I haven't got it turned on at the moment.
Basil: Why not?
Mrs Richards: The battery runs down. Now what sort of reduction are you prepared to give me on this room?
Basil: [sotto] 60% if you turn it on.
Mrs Richards: What?!
Basil: My wife handles all such matters, I'm sure she will be delighted to discuss it with you.
Mrs Richards: I shall speak to her after lunch.
Basil: You heard that alright, didn't you.[Mrs Richards comes down the stairs]
Misses Tibbs and Gatsby: Good afternoon.
Mrs Richards: First they give me a room without a bath, then there's no lavatory paper. [goes to the reception desk and starts banging the bell]
Misses Tibbs and Gatsby: Oohh.
Miss Gatsby: Would you like some of ours?
Miss Tibbs: We keep an extra supply
Miss Gatsby: Yes, would you like some of ours?
[Mrs Richards ignores them and continues to bang the desk bell]
Mrs Richards: Hello! [Polly comes out of the office] Girl. There's no paper in my room. Why don't you check these things? That's what you're being paid for, isn't it?
Polly: Well we don't put it in the rooms.
Mrs Richards: What?
Polly: We keep it in the lounge.
Mrs Richards: [shocked] In the lounge?!
Polly: I'll get you some. Do you want plain ones, or ones with our address on it?
Mrs Richards: [still shocked] Address on it?!
Polly: How many sheets? [Mrs Richards looks appalled] Well how many are you going to use?
Mrs Richards: [banging the desk bell] Manager!
Polly: Just enough for one? Tell me!
Mrs Richards: Manager! Manager!Mrs Richards: [To Polly, after looking everywhere for her glasses] Are you blind? They were on my head! Didn't you see them?
Mrs Richards: Didn't God give you eyes?
Polly: Yes, but I don't use them, because it wears the batteries out!Mrs Richards: [Leaving the room] I can get down stairs by myself.
Basil: "Down" the stairs? Oh well, don't stop when you get to the basement! Keep straight on! Give my regards to the Earth's core!
Sybil: [to Mrs Richards] Are you sure you can manage?
Basil: If you give us any more trouble I shall visit you in the small hours and put a bat up your nightdress!
Basil: Well, that was fun, wasn't it dear, the odd moment like that? It's almost worth staying alive for, isn't it? It's nice to share a moment like that, isn't it, dear? It's what marriage is all about. I know - I read about it on the back of a matchbox.
Sybil: You know, Basil, sometimes...
Basil: [puts his arm round her waist] Seriously, Sybil. Do you remember the first time we were...manacled together - we used to laugh quite a lot.
Sybil: [puts his hand back] Yes but not at the same time, Basil. [[exits]
Basil: Ah, that's true. That was a warning all right, wasn't it? Should have spotted that, shouldn't I? Zhoom! What was that? That was your life, mate! Oh, that was quick. Do I get another? Sorry, mate. That's your lot.
Sybil: [re-enters] Basil.
Basil: Back to the world of dreams... Yes, dear?
Sybil: What are we going to do?
Basil: Give it another fifteen years?
=== The Psychiatrist ===
Basil: He gets paid for sticking his nose—
Sybil: Oh, Basil—
Basil: No, I'm going to have my say! Into people's private... um... details. Well, just speaking for myself, I don't want a total stranger nosing about in my private parts— details!Sybil: You're only single once.
Basil: Twice can be arranged!Psychiatrist: There's enough material there for an entire conference.Terry: Mr. Fawlty, take it easy!
Basil: Now listen here. I don't pay you to tell me to take it easy. I pay you to take it– no, I pay you to tell you to take it easy, so take it easy!
=== Waldorf Salad ===
Mr. Hamilton: What I'm suggesting is that this place is the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of Western Europe.
Major Gowen: [angrily] No! No, I won't have that. There's a place in Eastbourne.Basil: This is typical. Absolutely typical... of the kind of... ARSE I have to put up with from you people! You ponce 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 much there is to do? Do you ever think of that? Of course not! You're all too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking around for things to complain about, aren't you? Well, let me tell you something—this is exactly how Nazi Germany started! A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than to cause trouble! Well, I've had fifteen years of pandering to the likes of you, and I've had enough! I've had it! Come on, pack your bags and get out!Mr. Hamilton: Could you make me a Waldorf salad?
Basil: [puzzled] A wal....
Mr. Hamilton: Waldorf salad.
Basil: Uh, I think we're just out of Waldorfs.
Mr. Hamilton: [angrily] I don't believe this!
=== The Kipper and the Corpse ===
Basil: [Sarcastically] Rosewood, mahogany, teak?
Mr. Leeman: I beg your pardon?
Basil: What would you like your breakfast tray made out of?
Mr. Leeman: I don't really mind.
Basil: Are you sure? Fine! Well, you go and have a really good night's sleep then, I'm hoping to get a couple hours later on myself but I'll be up in good time to serve you your breakfast in bed. [shouting] If you can remember to sleep with your mouth open you won't even have to wake up, I'll just drop in small pieces of lightly buttered kipper when you're breathing in the right direction if that doesn't put you out!Dr Price: You mean to tell me you didn't realise this man was dead?
Basil: Well, people don't talk that much in the morning. Look, I'm just delivering a tray, right. If the guest isn't singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," I don't immediately think "Oh, there's another snuffed it in the night! Another name in the Fawlty Towers Book of Remembrance." I mean, this is supposed to be a hotel, not the Burma railway!Basil: Don't say anything to anybody, but he's dead.
Major Gowen: Ah. Shot, was he?
Basil: No, No. Died in his sleep.
Major Gowen: In his sleep. Well, you're off your guard, you see.Basil: I mean, it does say 'hotel' outside. Maybe I should be more precise, 'Hotel for people who have a better than 50% chance of making it through the night'!
=== The Anniversary ===
[After Sybil disappears, Basil is shocked when guests arrive.]
Basil: They're here! They're here! What do I say? ...What am I going to say?
Polly: Oh... say she's... er... um...
Basil: She's "er, um"—oh, brilliant! Problem solved. She's "er, um."
Manuel: Is surprise party.
Manuel: She no here.
Manuel: That is surprise!Virginia: There is something very peculiar about all this. I won't stand here while an old friend like Sybil—
Basil: Look, it's perfectly Sybil. Simple's not well. She lost her throat and her voice hurt. The doctor came and said it was a bit serious. Not a lot; a bit. He went away, she started to puff up, he's coming back later this afternoon, and it's best for her to be on her own. Now what is so peculiar about that?
Roger: Her driving round in the town.
=== Basil the Rat ===
Terry: Look: all kitchens are filthy, Mr. Fawlty. In fact, the better the kitchen, the filthier it is. Have you ever read George Orwell's experiences at Maxim's in Paris?
Basil: No! Do you have a copy? I'll read it out in court!Manuel: I say to man in shop "Is rat." He say "No, no, no. Is a special kind of hamster. Is filigree Siberian hamster." Only one in shop. He make special price: only five pound.
Basil: Have you ever heard of the bubonic plague, Manuel? It was very popular here at one time. A lot of pedigree hamsters came over on ships from Siberia.Mr. Carnegie the Public Health Inspector: Mr. Fawlty?
Basil: [waves] Hello!
Mr. Carnegie the Public Health Inspector: These premises do not come up to the standard required by this authority. Unless appropriate steps are taken instantly, I shall have no alternative but to prosecute or recommend closure to the appropriate committee of the council. Specifically, lack of proper cleaning routines, dirty and greasy filters, greasy and encrusted deep fat fryer, dirty, cracked, and stained food preparation surfaces, dirty, cracked, and missing wall and floor tiles, dirty, marked, and stained utensils, dirty and greasy interior surfaces of the ventilator hoods.
Basil: About the deep fat fryer...
Mr. Carnegie the Public Health Inspector: Inadequate temperature control and storage of dangerous foodstuffs, storage of cooked and raw meat in same trays, storage of raw meat above confectionery, with consequent dripping of meat juices onto cream products, refrigerator seals loose and cracked, ice box undefrosted, and refrigerator overstocked.
Basil: Yes, say no more...
Mr. Carnegie the Public Health Inspector: [continues] Food handling routines suspect, evidence of smoking in food preparation area, dirty and grubby food handling overalls, lack of wash handbasin...which you gave us a verbal assurance you'd have installed on our last visit six months ago... and two dead pigeons in the water tank.
Basil: Otherwise, okay?Sybil: [Figuring what to do with Manuel's rat] Perhaps we could find a home for him.
Basil: Alright, I'll put an ad in the papers, "Wanted: kind home for enormous savage rodent! Answers to the name of Sybil."[The rat's head pokes out of the biscuit tray]
Basil: [To Mr. Carnegie] W-W-Would you care for a rat, or...?
Basil: Just the biscuits then, please, Polly.
== External links ==
Fawlty Towers - Fan Site
Fawlty Towers - Online
Fawlty Towers quotes at the Internet Movie Database
Fawlty Towers at TV.com