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Basil Fawlty - John Cleese
Torquay's most famous hotelier
Okay, we know he doesn't really exist, but we just couldn't leave Basil Fawlty off our list of famous Devon celebrities.
Mention Torquay to anyone, and they're guaranteed to say "Oh, that's where Fawlty Towers is." Or was...
Because Fawlty Towers was only 'open' for four years - between 1975 and 1979.
There were just 12 episodes of the legendary comedy on BBC television, but they've been repeated almost constantly ever since.
Sybil, Manuel, Basil and Polly
The story goes that John Cleese, who played hapless hotelier Basil, was staying in Torquay while filming with the Monty Python team.
He stayed at an establishment (reputedly The Gleneagles Hotel in Asheldon Road) which gave him the inspiration for Fawlty Towers.
The scripts were co-written with his then wife, Connie Booth, and neither could have expected the programme to go down as well as it did.
There were six episodes in the first series in 1975, including 'The Germans' and 'The Gourmet Night' - where Basil gives his broken down car a damn good thrashing.
Then there was a three-and-a-half year gap before the second series of six programmes in 1979. The very last episode was 'Basil the Rat', broadcast in October 1979.
Perhaps it was just as well that the programme ended while it was still on top, so we are left with a collection of pure classics.
last updated: 28/01/2008 at 13:02
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