John CleeseJohn Cleese (Basil Fawlty) and Connie BoothConnie Booth (Polly Sherman) were really husband and wife when they created and wrote the scripts for the first series. By the beginning of filming for the second season their marriage had fallen apart and they had divorced.
Andrew SachsAndrew Sachs (Manuel) was paid damages by the BBC after a jacket was treated with acid by the special effects department to look as if it was on fire. It really did burn through to his skin and he still bears the scars.
As the series progressed, each episode's opening shot of the Fawlty Towers hotel sign shows rearranged and misplaced letters. Variations include: Watery Fowls (with a kid seen adjusting it), Farty Tower, Flay Otters, Fatty Owls, Warty Towels, Flowery Twats and Farty Towels. Production team-member [?] Iain McLean supplied the hotel sign anagrams supposedly left by aggrieved paperboys.
Basil and Sybil Fawlty were based on [?] Donald Sinclair and [?] Beatrice Sinclair, genuine hoteliers who ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay where John CleeseJohn Cleese stayed whilst filming on location in early May 1970 with the Monty Python team. Mr Sinclair's irascible antics included: berating Terry GilliamTerry Gilliam for eating his meals in "too American" a way; throwing Eric IdleEric Idle's briefcase over a wall because of a "bomb scare" (the scare was that Idle left the briefcase in the reception area); disbelief at Michael PalinMichael Palin asking to pre-book the Gleneagles TV to catch a show; after Graham ChapmanGraham Chapman requested an omelet made with three eggs, Sinclair brought him an omelet with three fried eggs perched on top. When asked by Cleese to call for a taxi, he argued with Cleese and took his time calling for the cab. Mrs Sinclair later complained that the sit-com had been unfair to her husband, and she described John CleeseJohn Cleese as an "utter fool" who had "made millions out of our unhappiness". The Gleneagles Hotel, under new ownership, now runs Fawlty Towers weekends once a month where guests are looked after by actors who play the part of Basil, Sybil and Manuel. Interestingly, John CleeseJohn Cleese would later star in Rat Race as a character called Donald Sinclair.
Each script took six weeks to write, five days to rehearse and one evening to record in the studio in front of a live audience - a total of 42 weeks to produce each series of six episodes.
The role of Sybil was initially offered to [?] Bridget Turner, who passed on it because she didn't feel it was right for her.
John CleeseJohn Cleese says in his DVD commentary that Prunella ScalesPrunella Scales was so unlike the character she played, the harpy Sybil Fawlty, that they had trouble getting the tenderhearted Scales to hit Basil or any other character who incurred Sybil's displeasure hard enough to make it look realistic and were constantly having to do retakes of her scenes.
The production team spent nearly an hour editing each minute of every program, spending up to 25 hours on each show.
Andrew SachsAndrew Sachs is German by birth and was asked to dub his own lines into German when the series was exported. Being a native German speaker, he had no problem with the script, but it took him quite a while to work out how to speak German with a Spanish accent.
Sybil's distinctive laugh was based on Connie BoothConnie Booth's.
Cleese advised Brian HallBrian Hall to play second series chef Terry as if he was being sought by the police for an unspecified crime.
John CleeseJohn Cleese (Basil) nearly knocked Andrew SachsAndrew Sachs (Manuel) out with a heavy saucepan when the actor made an unexpected move during filming after five days of rehearsals. The hapless actor had a headache for two days.
Basil and the rest of the staff are in deep trouble when the health inspector turns up and delivers an enormous list of problems with the hotel. Things become even worse when Manuel's rat gets loose in the hotel.