20 Facts About Basil Fawlty


Basil Fawlty is the main character of the 1970s British sitcom Fawlty Towers, played by John Cleese.


The proprietor of the hotel Fawlty Towers, he is a cynical and misanthropic snob, desperate to belong to a higher social class.


Basil Fawlty, who runs the titular hotel in Torquay, is a misanthropic, pessimistic snob, whose main aspiration is to become a member of more "respectable" social circles.


Basil Fawlty is desperate to avoid his wife's wrath, and his plans often conflict with hers, but he mostly fails to stand up to her.


Basil Fawlty is often verbally abusive towards him and though he is much taller than Sybil, he often finds himself on the receiving end of her temper, expressed verbally and physically.


In "The Kipper and the Corpse", Sybil refuses to help Basil Fawlty dispose of the body of recently deceased guest Mr Leeman.


Basil Fawlty gets his revenge towards the end of the episode, when he asks a number of disgruntled guests to direct their complaints towards Sybil.

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Basil Fawlty takes many of his frustrations out on the hapless waiter Manuel, physically abusing and bullying him in a variety of ways.


Basil Fawlty is known to have served in the British Army during the Korean War, possibly as part of his National Service.


Basil Fawlty often wears military ties, and sports a military-type moustache.


Basil Fawlty is seen wearing a Winchester College tie, and a Balliol College, Oxford tie.


John Cleese himself described Basil Fawlty as being a man who could run a top-notch hotel if he didn't have all the guests getting in the way.


Basil Fawlty has made the point that on account of Basil's inner need to conflict with his wife's wishes, "Basil couldn't be Basil if he didn't have Sybil".


Basil Fawlty has particular respect for doctors, having once aspired to be one himself, and shows a reverential attitude to Dr Abbott in "The Psychiatrist", and Dr Price in "The Kipper and the Corpse".


Basil Fawlty is known for his tight-fisted attitude to the hotel's expenses, employing completely incompetent builder O'Reilly in "The Builders" simply because he was cheap.


Basil Fawlty has been married to Sybil since 17 April 1964, although Sybil once sarcastically stated that they have been married since 1485.


In February 2023 a revival to Fawlty Towers was announced with Cleese reprising the role as an older Basil still running the hotel whilst trying to fit into the modern world.


Basil Fawlty Towers was inspired by the Monty Python team's stay in the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay.


Basil Fawlty criticised the American-born Terry Gilliam's table manners for being too American.


In Hotel de Botel, Basil was renamed to Koos Overwater and was played by Dutch comedian and actor Andre van Duin.