Fawlty Towers, the classic farce of hotel mismanagement, is being revived with original writer and star John Cleese in collaboration with his daughter, Camilla Cleese.
The Cleeses plan to bring the story into the 21st century with new guests to wrangle, new technologies to suffer under, and so many more wars not to mention. They’re working with Castle Rock Television and executive producers Matthew George, Rob Reiner, Michele Reiner, and Derrick Rossi.
“What I like about Matt is that, unlike many producers, he really ‘gets’ the creative process,” Cleese told Variety. When we first met, he offered an excellent first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla, and I had 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.”
Rob Reiner added, “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”
Written by Cleese and Connie Booth, Fawlty Towers ran for two seasons of six episodes each in 1975 and 1979. The series followed the often rude, highly-stressed hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty as he tried to keep his hotel from financial and even physical collapse. The revival will see him learn of a daughter he never knew he had, played by Camilla, as the two set out to create a boutique hotel experience.
In recent years, the Monty Python alum has become closely associate with a crusade against cancel culture, which may have begun in earnest in 2020 after the BBC pulled an old episode of Fawlty Towers for a scene in which the character Major Gowen used racial slurs. Cleese railed against the decision, saying at the time, “The major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If they can’t see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?”
Since then he’s announced the docu-series John Cleese: Cancel Me and pulled out of an appearance at Cambridge University after a speaker was blacklisted for doing a Hitler impression.