Castle Rock Entertainment announced Tuesday it had completed a deal with 83-year-old Cleese to bring back the television series. Cleese, who starred in the show when he was 36, is also well known as one of the original members of the Monty Python comedy group.
Iconic BBC Comedy Fawlty Towers Set to Make a Comeback after 40 Years
Iconic BBC TV comedy series Fawlty Towers is set to make a shock return with brand new episodes after more than 40 years off air following its final series in 1979.
John Cleese, who wrote and starred in the beloved BBC series, playing Basil Fawlty, will star alongside his real-life daughter Camilla Cleese, who plays Basil’s long-lost daughter. The new series is being developed by Actor Rob Reiner’s production company Castle Rock Entertainment.
The two-series show, which featured on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979, followed the lives of Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil as they tried to keep their business and marriage afloat.
Although its return date has not yet been revealed, the comeback will explore how the dramatic and cynical Basil navigates the modern world. It will also see Basil and a daughter he has just discovered is his team up to run a boutique hotel.
The new series will see Reiner, his wife and actress Michelle, director and producer Matthew George, and Derrick Rossi act as executive producers.
Cleese 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. Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series,” he added.
Director George said he was “obsessed with Fawlty Towers” and meeting Cleese and his daughter was “one of the great thrills of my life,” adding: “I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count. I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”
Actor Reiner said: “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”
In 2020, Cleese had a disagreement with the BBC, whom he branded “gutless” after it temporarily removed a classic episode of Fawlty Towers because of “racial slurs”.
The 1975 episode, called The Germans, featured one character – Major Gowan – using highly offensive language and Basil declaring “don’t mention the war”.
At the time Cleese said: “We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. The major was an old fossil.” He added: “If people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?”