Fans were overjoyed earlier this week when news of the Fawlty Towers reboot was announced. More than 40 years after the iconic sitcom brought us new episodes, the news sent fans and sceptics alike into a frenzy.


Now, though, it's been revealed that while a new version of Fawlty Towers is returning, it won't be going back to the BBC.

Speaking to GB News' Dan Wootton, series star John Cleese confirmed its return and also spoke of his shock decision to not partner with the BBC on the project.

"I’m not doing it with the BBC because I won’t get the freedom," he said. "I was terribly lucky before, because I was working for the BBC in the late '60s, '70s, and the beginning of the '80s.

"That was the best time because the BBC was run by people with real personalities who loved the medium and who were operating out of confidence, which was okay because there wasn’t so much competition."

Fawlty Towers stars Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in 2009
Fawlty Towers stars Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in 2009. Dave Hogan/Getty Images

The actor claimed changes within the BBC led to the broadcaster prioritising audience numbers. He said people were told that if the BBC didn’t "match the viewing figures that the commercial channels were getting they’d get their license revoked".

Cleese continued: "If you look at a paper now from 1985 and look at the TV shows available that evening and compare what they are now - basically in Britain we’ve gone from what was a middle-class culture with all its failings to a tabloid culture and that is why there is so much of this screaming at people."

John Cleese will reprise his role as Basil Fawlty for the new series, which he's writing. He will also be joined in the cast by his daughter Camilla Cleese.

This new series is set to turn the classic sitcom on its head slightly with a brand new location, and will focus on Basil and his daughter's newfound relationship.

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Speaking about working with his daughter on this new series, he told GB News: "My daughter and I have been writing together for 16 years... We suddenly realised that if we do a sequel, first of all it’s interesting. Secondly, it doesn’t rely upon Manuel – dear Andy Sachs who’s not with us anymore, and Prue Scales."

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Scales (who played Basil's wife, Sybil) quit her TV career in 2020 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014. Sachs (who starred as Spanish waiter Manuel) died in 2016 after being diagnosed with vascular dementia four years earlier.

Cleese continued: "We thought that if the only continuing character is Basil, then we can come up with something surprising. Then we thought, 'Where?'” Not in a small English town, but somewhere more fun and much more different – say a Caribbean island or something like that."

The reboot will see Basil and his daughter manage a boutique hotel far away from the original home of Fawlty Towers in Torquay, Devon, and we will get to see Basil try to navigate the modern world. No further casting details have been announced yet but we do now know that it won't be housed on the BBC, according to Cleese.

Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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