As the Sydney premiere of the first stage show anywhere in the world of the much-loved British 1970s TV classic Fawlty Towers is about to open on August 19 for an Australian season which goes into 2017, we thought it would be fun to test your knowledge of all things Flowery Twats! Fawlty Towers will also play in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane in the coming months.
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Acclaimed writer and actor John Cleese, 76, who is said to have handpicked the cast for the Sydney show and adapted the original script for the stage with Connie Booth, wanted Australia to be the first country to stage the show, arguing that he felt the British press wouldn’t be likely to give him positive reviews as “they don’t like me very much”. Is he being sarcastic? We’re not entirely sure…
Whatever the case, their loss is our gain, as loyal Australian viewers are well-known to love all things Fawlty – the hit show has had many repeats on free-to-air television over the decades – first on the ABC and later on the Seven Network.
For those who prefer their viewing uninterrupted, the Fawlty Towers digitally remastered box set has been available for a few years now and more recently it has been available on Netflix. It is easy to forget how popular the show has become though, ironically, it did not receive glowing reviews when it first aired in 1975. However, some critics did immediately feel the show was hilarious, including our very own Clive James who wrote that the second episode had him “retching with laughter”.
Countdown the best moments of Fawlty Towers!
The show eventually became so popular it aired in 60 countries and probably would have had a third series made for BBC2 were in not for the fact that Connie Booth did not want to do any more episodes.
Like many British comedy innovations, the Americans decided to have a go at putting together their own version of Fawlty – with three separate productions either conceived or put to air – but none of them did well with audiences and were soon shelved. It is a testament to co-writers John Cleese and Connie Booth, who took about six weeks to write each episode: there is only one Fawlty!
If you feel the same way, you’ll be keen to do our quiz. How many questions will you get right? If you get all or most of them right, we salute you. You really know your Warty Towers!
1) How many episodes of Fawlty Towers went to air?
2) What was the sum that John Cleese received for co-writing and performing the first series of Fawlty Towers?
3) Would you be able to visit the building used for the exterior shots in the UK?
4) Is his autobiography, So, Anyway, what did John Cleese say Basil’s anger was always underpinned by?
5) What year did John Cleese and Connie Booth divorce?
6) Who composed the theme for Fawlty Towers?
Then and now: The original cast of Fawlty Towers (Image: Imgur.com)
7) In what years did the show win a BAFTA award for Best Situation Comedy?
8) Where was actress Connie Booth born?
9) Who played the Australian guest, Raylene Miles, staying at the hotel?
10) What kind of salad did some American guests ask for?
11) In his autobiography, So, Anyway, what did John Cleese say Basil Fawlty’s initials were short for?
What are your favourite memories of the British comedy? (Image: Facebook/Fawlty Towers)
12) Did John Cleese and Connie Booth have any children?
13) What did Who’s Who list as John Cleese’s hobbies?
14) What is one of the persistent rumours about Fawlty Towers?
15) Who was the character of Basil Fawlty said to be based on?
16) What was one of Manuel’s most common expressions?
17) What accolade was Fawlty Towers given in 2000 by the British Film Institute?
Did you notice the different signs for the Fawlty Towers episodes? (Image: @FawltyTowersFan/Twitter)
18) What did Basil do at one stage before running a hotel?
19) What is the Major’s surname?
20) In the first series, what are hotel guests told about Polly?
The Australian premiere of Fawlty Towers is on August 19 in Sydney at the Rosyln Packer Theatre. It stars Stephen Hall as Basil (most recently seen on Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell); Blazey Best as Sybil (who has appeared in various Sydney Theatre Company productions including the acclaimed Ivanov in 2015) and Syd Brisbane as Manuel (he is a veteran of theatre, film and television including The Doctor Blake Mysteries).
Fawlty Towers will also play around Australia in Melbourne (from 21st September), Adelaide (from 26th October), Perth (from 17th November) and Brisbane (from 28th December 2016).
What are your favourite Fawlty Towers moments? Let us know below.