Author Topic: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set  (Read 3872 times)

Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« on: March 15, 2021, 01:07:34 PM »
Starting tonight at 20:30, the series returns to our screens (again).

A six LP box set of the audio version has been announced -  details are at: https://www.demonmusicgroup.co.uk/catalogue/releases/fawlty-towers-for-the-record-140g-white-vinyl-edition-signed-by-john-cleese/

It’s a limited edition of 1,500, each coming with a print signed by John Cleese, and white vinyl no less!

As the blurb says, there is narration provided by Manuel in each episode - it’s a while since I’ve listened to any, but the adaptation is very reliant on that device, which hampered it for me.

turnstyle

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 01:15:47 PM »
When I was a young un, I only had access to the audio versions. They're basically punctuated every 30 seconds with Manuel saying things like 'And then, Mr Fawlty, he hit me on the head, very hard!'.

Because the humour is so physical, it makes these recordings really jarring. I didn't know any better at the time, but when I finally saw the proper TV versions, I couldn't go back.

Not quite sure the world needs a £90 vinyl box set of these, and I'm saying that as someone for whom these recordings were their introduction to Fawlty Towers.


Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 01:34:24 PM »
When I was a young un, I only had access to the audio versions. They're basically punctuated every 30 seconds with Manuel saying things like 'And then, Mr Fawlty, he hit me on the head, very hard!'.

Because the humour is so physical, it makes these recordings really jarring. I didn't know any better at the time, but when I finally saw the proper TV versions, I couldn't go back.

Not quite sure the world needs a £90 vinyl box set of these, and I'm saying that as someone for whom these recordings were their introduction to Fawlty Towers.

That’s exactly what I meant about the reliance on the narration. It’s a quick and dirty solution, but has severe limitations. The Dad’s Army radio shows did a remarkably good job of adapting the physical humour for radio and there were quite radical approaches (e.g. two TV episodes were combined into one radio).  For budgetary reasons, they had to trim the cast and most series regulars were ‘guest stars’ in the radio version, so they were always going to have to rethink the scripts.

As for whether the world needs a box set, it’s a very limited, nicely produced set with signed print for one of the all-time classic sitcoms. Maybe not need but think more than a few would rather want.

Utterdrivel

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 01:37:11 PM »
Be interesting to see what's cut from the new BBC broadcasts.

Well, not that interesting but you know

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2021, 01:44:20 PM »
Be interesting to see what's cut from the new BBC broadcasts.

Well, not that interesting but you know

That’s been reported about earlier in the month - e.g. https://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2021/03/03/47933/bbc_cuts_majors_racist_rant_from_fawlty_towers_rerun - going by that, it’s offensive language that is being expunged.

IIRC, Cleese has said in the past that he doesn’t have issue with cuts being made for language pre-watershed.

Glebe

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2021, 04:57:43 PM »
Interesting. Don't GOLD run it uncut with a warning given at the start? I think Netflix have an 'outdated language' thing in the content description. Btw, think FW and a load of other BBC sitcoms are gonna disappear off Netflix for good soon thanks to BritBox snaffling them up.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2021, 09:03:12 PM »
If Richard Ingrams has any sense of humour, he'll publish a scathing review tomorrow.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2021, 09:12:53 PM »
If Richard Ingrams has any sense of humour, he'll publish a scathing review tomorrow.

If he can tear away from his blow- up doll long enough to actually write the review.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2021, 09:17:56 PM »
I suppose nowadays, viewing  "Fawlty Towers " has a certain " Dad's Army" cachet to it with all the stiffs you can spot in the episodes. Even that Australian lady who Basil accidentally felt up is no longer with us. Just Basil, Polly, Sybil ( and *she's* teetering ), " Bullet" Baxter, Bernard Cribbins and Una Stubbs left, just about.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2021, 10:16:46 PM »
Interesting. Don't GOLD run it uncut with a warning given at the start? I think Netflix have an 'outdated language' thing in the content description. Btw, think FW and a load of other BBC sitcoms are gonna disappear off Netflix for good soon thanks to BritBox snaffling them up.

I suspect that you’re right about GOLD prefacing transmission with a warning. I seem to remember GOLD showing FT lateish in the evening - pretty sure that last time it was on, I was a little surprised it didn’t have an earlier time-slot.

Last year, UKTV briefly removed The Germans episode from its streaming service - https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/jun/12/john-cleese-attacks-stupid-removal-of-fawlty-towers-episode. I’ve had a quick check and it looks entact and there is a warning at the start about the language at the beginning... and then a second warning immediately after it.

That’s a good point about Britbox. In the past, there have been Beeb shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, which were time-limited and have always taken the attitude not to assume they will always be there - and now it makes sense for the BBC to restrict them to services that it has an interest in.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2021, 10:34:16 PM »
If Richard Ingrams has any sense of humour, he'll publish a scathing review tomorrow.

I’ve only two or three quotes from the Ingrams review and, although negative, the snippets didn’t strike me as how the review is often described and it’s not as if other critics didn’t take to it.  The Listener’s reviewer called declared it ‘a tragedy’, for example.

With the Ingrams review, I’m a little surprised that so many writers describe it without quoting it.  In the Graham McCann book about the show readers are (unhelpfully) directed to an article from The Independent from the 2000s, which they need to source themselves - given how padded that book is, it’s a shame that more useful information isn’t provided.

Ingrams was also critical of Monty Python, so suspect his name used in FT was due to being a repeat offender for Cleese.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2021, 11:46:58 PM »
I’ve only two or three quotes from the Ingrams review and, although negative, the snippets didn’t strike me as how the review is often described and it’s not as if other critics didn’t take to it.  The Listener’s reviewer called declared it ‘a tragedy’, for example.

With the Ingrams review, I’m a little surprised that so many writers describe it without quoting it.  In the Graham McCann book about the show readers are (unhelpfully) directed to an article from The Independent from the 2000s, which they need to source themselves - given how padded that book is, it’s a shame that more useful information isn’t provided.

Ingrams was also critical of Monty Python, so suspect his name used in FT was due to being a repeat offender for Cleese.
According to Cleese, Ingrams wrote negative reviews for five of the six episodes in the first series.

amateur

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2021, 08:05:09 AM »
Watched the first episode last night. It stands up!

St_Eddie

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2021, 11:49:43 AM »
Even that Australian lady who Basil accidentally felt up is no longer with us.

I just looked this up...

Quote
Luan Peters died on Christmas Eve 2017, but her death was not made public until June 2018.

Is it just me or does that rather sadly suggest suicide?  My reasoning being the delay in reporting, a lack of given cause of death and the fact she passed on Christmas Eve, a time when there is often an increase in suicide rates.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2021, 12:25:43 PM »
My introduction to Blackadder and Fawlty Towers as a kid were the BBC audio cassettes. It was particularly weird seeing Blackadder for the first time.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2021, 01:15:59 PM »
I just looked this up...

Is it just me or does that rather sadly suggest suicide?  My reasoning being the delay in reporting, a lack of given cause of death and the fact she passed on Christmas Eve, a time when there is often an increase in suicide rates.

I wouldn’t read too much into the delay in reporting or the lack of information - usually that’s down to a lack of publicity, which can happen for all sort of reasons.

Looking at the Talk section for the Wikipedia entry, there was discussion in June 2018, which mentions that earlier in the year Equity announced Peters’ passing.  Someone supplied information from an In Memoriam section of Equity saying what deaths it had learned since its last magazine was published - I’ve had a quick look at a few of the other people and they mainly died in Jan or Feb 2018, but there was another Dec 2017.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2021, 01:18:54 PM »
Interesting. Don't GOLD run it uncut with a warning given at the start? I think Netflix have an 'outdated language' thing in the content description. Btw, think FW and a load of other BBC sitcoms are gonna disappear off Netflix for good soon thanks to BritBox snaffling them up.

Looking at the Chortle article again, it’s mentioned that the BBC made the cuts according to its own guidelines (which I missed) as well as OFCOM’s.

This version is on that has been screen previously and the story also mentioned that the series is now on iPlayer as a box set and The Germans is the edited version - so suspect the BBC will stick to this version in any more broadcasts.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2021, 01:22:33 PM »
According to Cleese, Ingrams wrote negative reviews for five of the six episodes in the first series.

Thanks - that rings a bell! Because Ingrams had involvement on television shows, both as a writer and performer, that probably makes him fairer game when responding to bad reviews.

Jockice

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2021, 01:54:50 PM »
I have a recollection of Ingrams once writing that Cleese had never made him laugh. Not even once. Which strikes me as a bit strange.And possibly a personal grudge type thing.

thenoise

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2021, 02:19:44 PM »
Looking at the Chortle article again, it’s mentioned that the BBC made the cuts according to its own guidelines (which I missed) as well as OFCOM’s.

This version is on that has been screen previously and the story also mentioned that the series is now on iPlayer as a box set and The Germans is the edited version - so suspect the BBC will stick to this version in any more broadcasts.

Not sure that the Major's remarks are funny enough to justify the inclusion of those racial slurs (the studio audience response is lacklustre too, so its not just modern attitudes). Assuming that's all that has been cut. Fawlty's double-take at the black doctor is much funnier, and subtler.

Edit: so long as its uncut on dvd of course.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2021, 02:28:15 PM »
I have a recollection of Ingrams once writing that Cleese had never made him laugh. Not even once. Which strikes me as a bit strange.And possibly a personal grudge type thing.
Ingrams always gave a sense that he held onto grudges partly for the fun of it. I wouldn't be surprised if Cleese irked him once and he just held onto it.

Rich Uncle Skeleton

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2021, 05:29:00 PM »
90 quid for the LPs is quite something. That said i know these things aren't made in limited numbers for free and its not as bad as when that two episode picture disc for Record Store Day cost £25 last year.

Was quite surprised to see it comes with Cleese's autograph since he always struck me as latter day Ringo type who would sooner set fire to his own balls than deal with autographs.

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2021, 05:48:16 PM »
Nah, I'm sure he's fine with it (especially if the money's right) - I got an autographed copy of So, Anyway... for Xmas a few years ago.

Glebe

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2021, 07:17:52 PM »
Nah, I'm sure he's fine with it (especially if the money's right) - I got an autographed copy of So, Anyway... for Xmas a few years ago.

I've finished the (non-autographed, alas) copy of it my me dear Sis got me this year, alongside the new David Jason bio (which I've also finished!).

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2021, 07:49:51 PM »
I suppose nowadays, viewing  "Fawlty Towers " has a certain " Dad's Army" cachet to it with all the stiffs you can spot in the episodes. Even that Australian lady who Basil accidentally felt up is no longer with us. Just Basil, Polly, Sybil ( and *she's* teetering ), " Bullet" Baxter, Bernard Cribbins and Una Stubbs left, just about.

Vicar of Dibley is getting good for that game.

pigamus

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2021, 07:55:49 PM »
Is Manuel dead?

Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2021, 08:02:33 PM »
Yes.

pigamus

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2021, 08:03:52 PM »
Blimey, that passed me by.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2021, 10:21:10 PM »
I suppose nowadays, viewing  "Fawlty Towers " has a certain " Dad's Army" cachet to it with all the stiffs you can spot in the episodes. Even that Australian lady who Basil accidentally felt up is no longer with us. Just Basil, Polly, Sybil ( and *she's* teetering ), " Bullet" Baxter, Bernard Cribbins and Una Stubbs left, just about.

David Baddiel, Rob Newman, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis consider rewrite

St_Eddie

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Re: Fawlty Towers back on BBC One and vinyl box set
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2021, 10:26:05 PM »
Lovely to know that the last thing Andrew Sachs was known for and associated with was that vile answer machine message left by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, isn't it?

Quote from: Andrew Sachs
For all my family, the unpleasant incident that hit the headlines in October 2008 was hugely distressing. At the time, I was very busy with work — narrating TV documentaries, recording audio books, and acting in one of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures for BBC Radio. Enter Russell Brand, the flashy young comedian, and his misguided companion, Jonathan Ross. Until then, I’d had no previous contact with either of them.

It started with a phone call to my mobile during a break from recording Sherlock Holmes (I was playing Dr Watson). On the line was a young BBC producer.

As I was having a quick lunch at a pleasant outdoor cafe near the studio, the traffic was very noisy and I wasn’t quite clear what he  was saying. But, apparently, Brand and Ross wanted to interview me for their show on Radio 2. It would be broadcast on Saturday night but had to be recorded now. Could I drop everything and do it? I explained that I was unfortunately unavailable. The young producer, however, kept ringing back, even though I continued to say that I was unable to oblige due to my work commitments. The traffic noise was still making it hard to understand him, so I was uncertain what he wanted or what exactly he was referring to. Anyway, my schedule was so hectic that I simply didn’t have the time to do anything else. My refusal was perfectly polite — but it led directly to all the very hurtful mayhem.

After it became obvious that I couldn’t be on the show, Brand decided to announce during the recording of it that he wanted to talk to me about my granddaughter, Georgina, whom he knew. She’d told him that her grandfather had been Manuel in Fawlty Towers, he added. After that, it just got worse. Much worse. That evening, at home, my wife Melody and I listened to our answerphone messages. Among them were some incoherent ramblings from the people at the radio show, but we decided they weren’t worth listening to. So we retired to bed. Since the behaviour of Brand and Ross affected all our family, I’ll let Melody take up the story at this point...

Quote from: Melody Lang (Andrew Sach's wife)
At 3am, I awoke to a call of nature. Careful not to disturb our beloved King Charles Cavalier spaniels, Lizzie and Jemima, by switching on the bedside lamp, I tiptoed quietly into the bathroom.  I was returning to bed when I slipped on a silk dressing gown that had fallen on the bathroom tiles.  There was a crack as I hit the floor. The pain was excruciating and my scream so loud that it could have been heard at the end of our road — or so I was later told. All the lights came on, and there was Andrew, standing over me in a state of shock while our spaniels happily licked my contorted face.

‘Not to panic,’ said Andrew, ‘let’s get you back on the bed.’ ‘Don’t be daft,’ I replied, ‘I can’t move.' He did his best, but to no avail, and instead managed to roll me gently on to two warm duvets. We rang the ambulance. And then we waited and waited. Nothing happened.

Dawn broke. We were still waiting. Finally, an ambulance arrived and took me to a Hampstead hospital, where the medics parked me before deciding they couldn’t cope with me there. The pain was impossibly severe; I eventually learned that I had a broken hip. Andrew managed to get another ambulance which took us to the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, where we were told I needed a hip replacement. I waved goodbye to Andrew and our daughter Kate as I left for the operating theatre.

Quote from: Andrew Sachs
With Melody at last in safe hands, I went home to give the dogs their breakfast, then phoned my director to let him know I’d be late at the studio. As soon as the recording of Sherlock Holmes was over for the day, I drove back to the hospital. Melody was still in pain and a little groggy from the anesthetic but in a surprisingly good mood, chatting with our daughter. When I got back home, I finally listened to our answerphone messages properly.

Instead of leaving me a simple message saying: ‘We’re sorry you can’t make the show’, Brand and Ross had gone into four-letter overdrive. They cursed, they jeered. They hadn’t left one message but a series of them. What mattered so much to us was that they’d dragged in the name of our granddaughter — for no sane reason, except to have some fun at our expense.

The messages they’d left were in no way private: they were broadcast in all their appalling unpleasantness that Saturday on Radio 2, the former safe and cosy home of the Light Programme. Brand and Ross were like two teenagers on the rampage, laughing at their own jokes, which is not something the best comics usually do. Their lewd banter was deeply hurtful for me, my wife, our daughter and our granddaughter. It not only caused pain but huge stress to the family.

I’ve always been a rather private man, which is why I’ve resisted the temptation of revealing the inside story until now. As a child refugee from Nazi Germany, I’d learned not to reveal too much about my deepest feelings. It’s a strategy adopted by most children who come to a strange country. They learn that there are times when you have to be careful about what you reveal of yourself, in order to fit in. So I’d always tended not to wear my heart lightly on my sleeve.

There’s part of me that still wants to ignore Ross and Brand’s sordid rantings, but I cannot ignore the whole subject — sadly, it wouldn’t go away even if I tried. I certainly never thought I’d give my name to a scandal: Sachsgate. Readers need to judge how Ross and Brand egged each other on. What is so surprising is that Ross, a middle-aged man, did nothing to restrain either himself or Brand’s ‘performance’. The initial thing to note is that it is not Brand but Ross who first launches into abusive material and swearing.

This was exceptionally nasty and the text makes it obvious that Jonathan Ross could not bear to be uncool or seem middle-aged, though he was nearing 50 at the time. He wanted to act as if he were a young lad, when, of course, he was nothing of the sort.

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