To mark its 30th anniversary, all 12 episodes of John Cleese and Connie Booth’s highly successful comedy series, set in a Torquay hotel, have been remastered. In ‘Basil the Rat’, waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs)’s Siberian hamster turns out to be a rat, which goes missing just in time for a visit from the hotel inspector. ‘Communication Problems’ sees Basil (Cleese) forced to deal with a deaf guest while attempting to conceal his gambling win from Sybil (Prunella Scales).
In ‘The Anniversary’, a secret party planned for Sybil goes awry when the guest of honour storms out of the hotel. ‘The Germans’ sees Basil failing to cope with a fire drill and the arrival of some German guests while Sybil is in hospital – ‘Don’t mention the war – I did once, but I think I got away with it!’. In ‘The Hotel Inspectors’, Basil goes into fawning overdrive when he learns that a group of hotel inspectors are operating in the area.
In ‘A Touch of Class’, Basil’s quest for a better class of clientele seems to have succeeded with the arrival at the hotel of Lord Melbury (Michael Gwynn). Or has it? ‘The Kipper and the Corpse’ finds Basil and Manuel trying to dispose of a dead body without any of the guests noticing. Needless to say, they are less than successful.
In ‘Waldorf Salad’, some newly-arrived American guests’ request for transatlantic cuisine does not go down well with Basil in the kitchen. ‘Gourmet Night’ sees the Fawltys attempt to throw a cultural evening fail when their chef hits the bottle. In ‘The Psychiatrist’, Basil begins behaving even more oddly than usual when he learns that a psychiatrist is staying at the hotel.
‘The Builders’ sees Basil in hot water with Sybil when he employs the unreliable Irish labourer Mr O’Reilly (David Kelly) to do some work in the hotel lobby. Finally, in ‘The Wedding Party’, Basil gets the wrong impression when some old friends of Polly (Booth)’s arrive at the hotel.
Interviews: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth
Commentary: Series 1: John Howard Davies (Director), Series 2: Bob Spiers (Director), John Cleese
Other Documentary: ‘Torquay Tourist Guide’, ‘Cheap Tatty Review’