Cleese recalls golden age of Fawlty Towers

They don’t make ’em like they used to. Bunch of money-chasing idiots. Not like in my day!

The cast of Fawlty Towers from left

LONDON — They don’t make ’em like they used to. Bunch of money-chasing idiots. Not like in my day!

Sounding rather like an inn keeper on a short fuse, John Cleese reminisced Wednesday about making Fawlty Towers, back in the epoch he remembers as television’s golden age.

“I don’t think the writers work as hard as they used to, and I think they may lack experience because I don’t think the writing is as good as it used to be,” said Cleese, who wrote the classic comedy series with Connie Booth, who was then his wife.

“But I do proudly say that in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s we did have the least bad television in the world, and that’s quite a claim. I think the main problem now is it’s run on the basis of money.”

Cleese was reunited with Booth, Prunella Scales (Sybil Fawlty) and Andrew Sachs (Manuel) at an event to publicize an upcoming 30th anniversary documentary on the making of Fawlty Towers.

Cleese recalled submitting the first script to Jimmy Gilbert at the British Broadcasting Corp. Gilbert responded that the script was “full of cliched situations and stereotypical characters, and I cannot see it as being anything other than a disaster,” Cleese said.

“And Jimmy himself said, ‘You’re going to have to get them out of the hotel, John, you can’t do the whole thing in the hotel.’ Whereas, of course, it’s in the hotel that the whole pressure cooker builds up.”

Though the show was done for noncommercial television, Cleese said it couldn’t have been made without commercials — the ones he did on the side.

“I have to thank the advertising industry for making this possible.

“Connie and I used to spend six weeks writing each episode and we didn’t make a lot of money out of it,” he said.

Just Posted

Rimbey-area landowner believes earthquake damaged his electricity supply

Underground line was damaged at same time quake hit, says landowner

Reliance on equalization not a factor in Quebec’s low productivity rate: author

MONTREAL — Despite low unemployment and a strong economy, Quebec continues to… Continue reading

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

MONTREAL — Air Canada says it intends to remove its grounded Boeing… Continue reading

Toronto stock market hits nearly seven-month high on rise in crude oil price

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index returned to its highest closing in… Continue reading

Budget to tout Liberal economic record, provide distraction from SNC furor

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will attempt to set the stage for… Continue reading

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Florida Georgia Line, Glorious Sons headline concert series at Canadian Open

HAMILTON — Florida Georgia Line and the Glorious Sons will headline a… Continue reading

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

‘Captain Marvel’ soars even higher with stellar 2nd weekend

LOS ANGELES — “Captain Marvel” has continued to dominate the global box… Continue reading

Most Read