List of guest characters in Fawlty Towers
||This article possibly contains original research. (July 2010)|
This is a list of notable guest characters from the television series Fawlty Towers written by and starring John Cleese and Connie Booth. The list below is currently incomplete, and includes some characters which are not strictly guests of the hotel, but are nonetheless 'guest' characters. Major characters for the series and cast members are listed in separate articles.
|First appearance||The Psychiatrist|
|Portrayed by||Basil Henson
When the Abbots arrive at the hotel expecting a relaxing holiday away from their stressful careers they find themselves bitterly disappointed because of the insane manager Basil Fawlty.
Mr. Abbot is a psychiatrist, and his wife is a paediatrician. Basil does an instant double take when learning of Mr. Abbot's profession, believing that psychiatrists are all obsessed with people's sex lives, a touchy subject for Basil, as he is obviously sexually repressed.
Doctor Abbot clearly becomes a source of gossip when rumours spread around the hotel of his profession, to the extent that Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby believe that he has come to take Major Gowen away, due to the old war veteran's clearly unstable mental state.
The doctor is clearly overwhelmed by Basil's mad behaviour – remarking "there's enough material in here for an entire conference" – a sneaky play upon a similar quote said in conversation to John Cleese by Humphrey Barclay about Donald Sinclair – the hotel manager who was the sole inspiration for Basil Fawlty, and could possibly have been the sentence which seeded the existence of the entire show.
The Abbots are clearly bewildered by Basil's erratic behaviour, especially when he starts sneaking around their room, tapping on the walls, claiming that he has had complaints about them before. In reality, Basil is actually trying to catch out Mr. Johnson who has snuck a girl into his room. Eventually we learn that the young woman has switched places with Johnson's mother, and Basil famously mimicks a headless chicken. As the Abbots witness this, they protest that they are "on holiday."
|First appearance||The Wedding Party|
|Portrayed by||Trevor Adams|
Alan (played by Trevor Adams) features in "The Wedding Party". He is a hip young man who arrives with his fiancée Jean. Basil constantly appears unamused at the couple's openly flirtatious relationship, to the extremes of believing their hanky-panky is 'dis-gust-ing'.
He tries to separate the couple in different rooms, because they aren't married. They specifically ask for a double bed, but Basil is adamant on giving them two singles. This is the first episode to feature the Fawltys' mutual sexual repression.
Alan is bamboozled when Basil interrogates him after he asks whether a chemist would still be open. Basil presumes that Alan wants to purchase a condom, and then when he states that he just wants batteries Basil presumes that they are for an adult toy. All he wants in reality is two batteries for his electric razor. The tables are soon turned on Basil, as Alan bears witness to the hotel manager in uncompromising positions with a drunken Manuel on top of Fawlty claiming that he 'loves him', and an equally inebriated Mrs. Peignoir bouncing on his back.
After Jean's parents turn up at the hotel things become more complex, and Basil presumes more hanky-panky is going on, until the situation is spelt out for him in black and white by Sybil, by which time Basil has nearly sacked Polly after getting the wrong end of the stick once more.
|Portrayed by||Una Stubbs|
A timid and temperamental woman, she arrives at the hotel with her irritating husband Roger (Ken Campbell) to celebrate their good friends the Fawltys' fifteenth wedding anniversary. She clearly shows signs of impatience towards her husband who deliberately tries to wind people up to a breaking point.
Many strange circumstances occur at the hotel, leading the party guests to wonder what is really going on. In reality Sybil has stormed off for a round of golf after Basil has deliberately pretended that he has forgotten their wedding anniversary.
Farcically, Basil dresses Polly up to look like Sybil, in order to keep the guests happy, which results in several guests injuring themselves in the dark. She is baffled after Basil pretends that Sybil (who has forgotten her golf clubs and returned to the hotel to get them) is not his wife, but merely a northern woman with a striking resemblance to Sybil, whom they met at a fete, and has arrived at the hotel in order to purchase one of their fridges.
Una Stubbs was once married to Nicky Henson, who appeared as Mr. Johnson in the episode The Psychiatrist.
|Portrayed by||André Maranne|
André is clearly of French origin (as was the actor who played him). He is a distant friend of Basil's and Sybil's, who both respect him after he helped them with the employment of the alcoholic Greek chef Kurt (who was once André's apprentice).
André owns a highly respectable four-star restaurant in Torquay. He is also clearly aware of Kurt's condition and sexuality, for Kurt has fallen in love with Manuel, and is now pursuing him. André warns the temperamental chef to go easy on the alcohol.
He witnesses the argumentative banter between the Fawltys, where Sybil memorably gets drunk and calls Basil a: big bad tempered tomato, resulting in clearly hidden bewilderment on André's behalf at the couple's exceedingly farcical relationship.
Basil later orders a duck from André's restaurant to make up for Kurt, who has gotten drunk on wine. André, aware of the possibility that this would happen, kindly produces two ducks (the first one gets trodden on by Manuel) for Basil and some sauces. However, due to a mix-up at the restaurant, Basil accidentally takes a trifle rather than the duck, causing Fawlty Towers' gourmet night to be reduced to a laughingstock. André is bewildered when he witnesses Basil's borderline mental breakdown after he almost explodes after he offers him more sauces for the duck.
|Portrayed by||Norman Bird
Mr. Arrad appears to be fairly insecure, and is scared of his wife, who constantly henpecks him. While the guests wait patiently for their meals (which have been a long time coming) Mrs. Arrad tries to get her husband to stand up for himself and ask where their dinner is, as opposed to doing it herself.
When the meal finally arrives, Mrs Arrad nearly chokes: the staff has put sugar in the salt cellar, and she has put it all over the plaice, which caused confusion as Basil thought she had thrown it around the room as opposed to using it on her fish meal. Manuel and Basil also find that there is a fly in Mr. Arrad's salad, which they try to disguise.
The Arrads have a horrible experience at Fawlty Towers, and when the Hamiltons declare liberation in the hotel, packing all the guests' luggage bags, Mr. Arrad finally speaks up for himself, and complains.
|Portrayed by||Christine Shaw|
Audrey is Sybil Fawlty's best friend. Sybil often talks about her, and often goes to spend the night at Audrey's whenever she and Basil have an argument; Audrey's marriage with her husband George is as equally stormy as Basil's and Sybil's. Most of the time Audrey is unseen. However, she does make a one-time appearance in The Anniversary, as she comforts Sybil in the car shortly after she drives off and comes back to the hotel to collect a few belongings, believing Basil has forgotten their 15th wedding anniversary. Basil makes a few sarcastic comments about her, as well as Sybil's other friends, throughout the series.
|Portrayed by||Robin Ellis|
He is a member of the CID posing as an innocent member of the public. His real purpose in Torquay is to arrest the confidence trickster under the pseudonym of Lord Melbury.
He has a white sports car, speaks with a distinct Cockney accent, and is the only person capable of communicating with Manuel, for he can speak fluent Spanish. His personality is not dissimilar to that of Mr. Johnston from The Psychiatrist. When Polly tries to apologise about the circumstances which have occurred at the hotel, he merely brushes it off with the remark: I like a bit of cabaret. He takes an instant shine to Polly (which she totally blanks out), and tries to decipher a very badly misspelt menu while staying at the hotel.
|Portrayed by||John Quarmby|
Carnegie is found by Basil snooping around in the kitchen. Basil immediately assumes he is a guest and upon getting the wrong end of the stick starts insulting the inspector. This doesn't amuse the inspector, and in his reedy voice, Carnegie clearly reads out a list of problems that the hotel has (including the appearance of two dead pigeons in the water tank).
Carnegie returns to reinspect the hotel the next day. Calamity strikes while the hotel staff are cleaning the hotel: Manuel's pet rat (mistaken for a Siberian hamster, and, as a further source of confusion, named Basil like Manuel's boss) escapes, creating havoc for Basil. Carnegie is bewildered upon his return, after he hears Major Gowen shoot at the rat (and miss), and witnesses Manuel go absolutely crazy at the thought of Terry putting too much 'basil' in the ratatouille.
Mr. Carnegie takes a fancy to the veal that Fawlty Towers is serving; unaware that one of the cutlets has rat poison on it, Basil comes close to killing Carnegie. When Carnegie asks for a side order of cheese and biscuits, the tin lid of the biscuits is removed, revealing 'Basil' the rat. The hotel staff quickly make it look as though nothing has happened, leaving Carnegie in a daze – wondering whether he has indeed seen anything at all. Whether or not Carnegie will decide to recommend that the hotel be closed is left open to debate.
|Portrayed by||Mavis Pugh|
Mrs. Chase is an elderly widow who appears in the episode "The Kipper and the Corpse".
The somewhat fussy owner of a pampered shih-tzu dog named Prince, Mrs. Chase dotes upon her dog and rather bores the other guests with her long, dreary anecdotes about her beloved pet. In her first scene with the dog, she is fawning over him in the bar and chatting to a drunk Major Gowen about Prince's favourite food. She insists on having all the windows in the bar shut lest the draught hurt her dog, prompting Basil to comment snidely, "A rapid movement of air could damage him irreparably; if only one could keep him in airtight containers."
The next day Manuel (whom Mrs. Chase believes to be from Calcutta) and Polly are both bitten by the dog in the dining room, and in an act of revenge, Polly laces the dog's sausages with chilli powder, tabasco sauce, and hot pepper before returning the meal to Prince. After eating the meal, the dog suffers a severe stomach ache, much to Mrs. Chase's horror. The death of a guest, Mr. Leeman, and Basil's desperation to hide the body cause him to neglect Mrs. Chase's cries to call a vet to treat her seriously ill dog which is still in pain from Polly's "bangers a la bang."
At the end of the episode, Mrs. Chase appears in the lobby to demand why a vet hasn't been called for her dog, which she believes to be dying.
Mr Firkin makes an appearance in Communication Problems. He is played by Johnny Shannon. Mr Firkin is the person who gives Basil the tip for the 3 o'clock at Exeter with a horse called Dragonfly, which leads to a whole load of problems. Mr Firkin has the rare distinction of being satisfied with his stay and paying his bill without any issues. When he is out of earshot Basil says to Sybil: "Satisfied customer, we should have him stuffed".
|Portrayed by||Allan Cuthbertson
They are respected members of Torquay society and members of the Rotary golf club and are both JPs. They attend a gourmet night at the hotel along with The Twitchens, which was an invention of Basil's to enhance the standard of clientele and its reputation amongst the community.
Colonel Hall has a very prominent nervous twitch, and his wife is almost a midget. Basil and Sybil, no matter how hard they try, can't keep from mentioning these delicate points accidentally in conversation, to the extent that Basil pretends to faint when introducing the 'Twitchens' so he doesn't have to use their name (not realising it is pronounced 'Twy-chen')
The night doesn't go well, after several mess-ups whereby the Greek chef gets drunk and spews up over the starter dish, and Manuel steps on the duck (Colonel Hall is not keen on duck anyway). Mrs. Hall's dish is then served raw by mistake. Sybil and Manuel then unconvincingly keeep the guests amused (Sybil then gets drunk), while Basil gets another duck... only to realize that he has picked up the wrong silver platter, and, humiliated, he serves up a huge trifle ... claiming the duck is 'off'.
|Portrayed by||Bruce Boa
Harry Hamilton is a loud, boisterous American from California. Upon arriving at Fawlty Towers, Harry is quite clearly tired and in a bad mood from his long drive down to Torquay from London, and heartily complains about the climate, the size of British cars and having to drive "on the wrong side of the road." This makes the immensely patriotic Basil irate and causes him to throw some anti-American remarks back at him, all of which go over his head.
Mr Hamilton is used to quality service and bribes Basil with twenty pounds to keep the kitchens open so that he and his wife can have a hot meal before going to bed. Basil is only too glad to accept the money, but Terry has already left his shift, leaving Basil to deal with things. Whilst Basil and Harry are at loggerheads, though, Sybil makes good friends with them.
Mr Hamilton puts Basil on the spot when he wants a Waldorf Salad (an American salad served in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in New York City, consisting of walnuts, apples, celery and grapes in a mayonnaise sauce), and a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice), which confuses Basil as he thought the actual tool is meant. In fact this is not entirely fair for Basil, as neither item is on the menu.
Basil is terrified of Mr Hamilton, and does all he can to serve him his salad, but his farcical behavior and overblown excuses only succeed in making things worse. Sybil, however, is totally capable of handling the situation, yet loses patience with Basil and slaps him in the face after he steals Mr Hamilton's salad minutes after Sybil has served him it. After several more cock-ups, Hamilton makes a stand against Basil in front of the other guests, vilifying Basil for his unprofessional and outrageous behavior and branding the hotel as "the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of Western Europe"; several guests agree with him. After this, Basil tells all the guests to leave but then ends up leaving himself, only to come back as a guest.
Despite Mr Hamilton's threatening manner to Basil, he never actually assults him, apart from peanutting his tie.
Mrs Hamilton, who is English but has lived in California for almost twelve years, tries to calm Harry down numerous times, and keep the peace. Basil seems to take a very slight fancy to her before he realizes she is married. Her first name is never mentioned, even by her husband.
|Portrayed by||Jeffrey Segal
The three are shown near the beginning eating dinner in Basil's dining room. Ronald, the son, is a rude, pampered and bratty boy about 13 years of age who had obviously been treated like a baby and as if he were the most important person in the world, with a doting mother and a hen-pecked father.
Encouraged by his mother, Ronald heartily complains about the chips being "the wrong shape," and when he is served fresh mayonnaise rather than Salad cream, he calls it "puke" (Basil then responds "At least it's fresh puke"). He is perhaps the only Fawlty Towers guest who is as rude as Basil himself. Basil snaps back by making fun of the several different shapes that it could be and "accidentally" elbows him in the head, to the horror of the pampered Ronald and his fussing mother but evidently to the delight of his father, who nervously comments, "Nice man". It is thought that they leave afterwards, possibly at Ronald's insistence. It is because of this that Basil includes a "no riff-raff" notice on his advertisement for his Gourmet Night.
This is the first of two appearances by Elisabeth Benson, who will later appear as Mrs. White in the Kipper and the Corpse. She remains the only actress outside of the regular cast to have played more than one role in the series.
|Portrayed by||Bernard Cribbins|
Mr. Hutchinson (played by Bernard Cribbins) is a self-righteous, loud and annoying guest with a brash, uncompromising, precise attitude and an irritating tendency to use many words when only a few would suffice, which he claims is because he "finds the air here most invigorating." He is Basil's main antagonist in The Hotel Inspectors, and bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler. He has a great interest in Squawking Bird, leader of the Blackfoot Indians in the late 1860s.
He is very persuasive in getting exactly what he wants. If he does not get what he wants, he argues about how other hotels have done things for him and how what is happening is wrong. He obviously considers himself to be very important and believes that as a customer, he really should come first. Polly comments on this, asking Hutchinson if he is the Duke of Kent; however, once again, Mr Hutchinson fails to realise the sarcasm, and believes that she means this literally—he tells her she has the wrong person.
When Hutchinson reveals he had a wide experience of hotels, Basil assumes he is a covert hotel inspector, whereupon Basil's attitude to the man switches from sarcasm to grovelling. It turns out (Sybil overhears a phone conversation) he is not a hotel inspector, but a spoon salesman. It is not revealed whether Mr Hutchinson knew about the hotel inspectors planning on making a visit and tries to play on this, or whether it is pure coincidence.
Hutchinson is the only guest to act with reasonable violence against Fawlty, hitting him in the face, kicking him in the groin, and reducing him to agony on the floor after Basil assaults Hutchinson in the dining room (and tries to make it look like he is trying to save his life by performing the Heimlich Maneuver). Basil retaliates (aided by Manuel) by filling Hutchinson's briefcase with cream and smashing pies into his face and groin. Unfortunately only the last retaliatory attack against Hutchinson is witnessed by the three actual hotel inspectors, seeing Basil's psychotic manner as Basil throws Hutchinson out the front entry of the hotel as they arrive (although it can be assumed that Basil gets off this one by explaining that Hutchinson had in fact started it or that it was a game he liked to play, as indeed he states to Mr Walt).
Later on, when Basil and Manuel are trying to hide Mr. Leeman's corpse, the two accidentally stumble into Mr. Ingram's room while he is blowing up an inflatable sex doll. Mr. Ingrams later appears in the final scene where Basil promises that Sybil will give all the guests answers and explanations. Mr. Ingrams goes to complain, probably due to the lack of privacy.
|Portrayed by||Nicky Henson|
Basil takes an instantly pessimistic view of this particular guest because of his crass, cheeky mannerisms and his attire, consisting of leather trousers and a loud shirt unbuttoned to the waist, with various symbolic trinkets around his neck. Basil decides to see Mr. Johnson from a certain angle, believing he resembles an ape.
In reality Basil is jealous, because Sybil is haplessly attracted to him: she goes immediately misty-eyed and smitten when in his presence. This is a minor irritation to Mr. Johnson, who tries to make a phone call while Sybil recounts various random objects that her mother felt were macabre (even cows and bicycles).
Johnson smuggles an attractive young girl into his room, much to the chagrin of Basil, who is constantly on the prowl trying to catch him out. This time Basil's effort backfires, leaving him the butt of the situation once again, looking insane in front of a psychiatrist and his wife, and a young Australian woman whom he accidentally gropes on several occasions.
The girl manages to sneak out of Johnson's room before Basil catches her and, in the morning, when he arrives to confront Mr. Johnson, she has been replaced by Johnson's elderly mother, who intends to stay at the hotel.
Nicky Henson, who plays Mr Johnson, was once married to Una Stubbs, who stars in the episode The Anniversary. Johnson will be best remembered for his quick-fast wit such as his ideas for very short books: The Wit of Margaret Thatcher, and Great English Lovers, and also his punchline which tickled Sybil so much: Pretentious, Moi?
|Portrayed by||Denyse Alexander|
Kitty is one of the friends who come over to the hotel to visit Basil and Sybil on their anniversary in the The Anniversary episode, along with her husband Reg. She is played by Denyse Alexander. It is not disclosed whether they are friends of Basil, Sybil or both. It is this couple that causes the initial upset about Sybil being ill in bed when they announce that they have just seen her in town. This leads to Roger passing a few remarks and thus causing Basil to stage the whole bedroom scene.
|Portrayed by||Steve Plytas|
Though Kurt is a professional Greek chef, his masterpiece creations aren't appreciated by young Master Heath, who doesn't like the chips as they are "the wrong shape and just awful". He was hired by Basil from Andre, who was clearly aware of Kurt's drinking problem. It is presumed that Kurt once worked at Andre's four-star restaurant. He is openly homosexual, and clearly temperamental; he develops a crush on Manuel. He also acknowledges his tendency to drink early on in the episode when he refuses a glass of wine and, when asked if he doesn't like it, he responds "Too much, but not when I'm working."
Kurt's purchase of a sketch of Manuel from Polly is the first indication that Kurt wants more than friendship with his associate. He constantly praises him, calling him 'cute', kissing him on the forehead, and noting that their tremendous partnership would make Fawlty Towers famous for its culinary standards.
When Manuel does not return his affections, Kurt gets blind drunk (for he is an alcoholic), ruining the gourmet night at Fawlty Towers, and soiling what little reputation the hotel has built up.
Kurt is unlike many comedy characters from the 1970s era, when the issue of homosexuality was in most cases ignored, despite clearly camp characters such as Mr. Humphries in Are You Being Served?.
In the second season, Kurt is replaced by a full-time chef: Terry.
|Portrayed by||Derek Royle|
Leeman complained he was feeling unwell after three businessmen guided him to the hotel. After he ordered breakfast in bed, Basil made fun of both Sybil's over-specific breakfast options and perhaps the absurdity of the breakfast-in-bed request, asking him what he would "like his breakfast tray made out of".
In the morning, Basil took up Leeman's breakfast, totally unaware that Leeman was stone dead. He had obviously died before he'd gone to sleep due to his eyes being wide open and the book he was reading still being in his hands. After Polly took up Leeman's milk (which Basil had forgotten) she announced the man was dead, and Basil made a song and dance, believing that the out-of-date kippers had killed him. Doctor Price announced he'd been dead for several hours, and that situation was totally impossible.
Basil made many attempts to conceal Leeman's body from guests, a guest had never died at the hotel before, so he was unsure what to do. Miss Tibbs had the misfortune to repeatedly suffer unexpected encounters Leeman's corpse, causing her to become hysterical. Basil, Manuel and Polly hid Leeman and an unconscious Miss Tibbs in a wardrobe belonging to the Whites, and fabricated the excuse that Miss Tibbs is a madwoman who likes to hide in people's wardrobes. Leeman was later put in the office, but was stuffed into washing linen basket after he'd yet again horrified Miss Tibbs. At the end of the episode he is propped up against a coat rack and seen by the guests at Fawlty Towers, and once again frightening Miss Tibbs.
Mr. Leeman was named in honour of a hotel manager who told John Cleese (who was researching for new concepts in the series) the fiasco of hiding deceased guests in the hotel business. The real manager was called Andrew Leeman, although the fictional Mr Leeman in the show did not have his first name revealed.
|Portrayed by||Anthony Dawes|
Mr Libson was a guest who appeared at the beginning of the Waldorf Salad episode talking to Sybil, though she was doing much of the talking and he did not seem to be enjoying it, however he was politely acknowledging what she said and agreeing with it. He was played by Anthony Dawes. Mr Libson is also seen towards the end of the episode when guests are joining together to complain saying that he asked for his "radiator to be fixed three times and nothing's been done".
|Portrayed by||Michael Gwynn|
Melbury saw Basil as an easy target, and reserved a room at the hotel, lying low there while planning a huge scam in Torquay. He was later caught out and arrested by Danny Brown, a member of the CID, who posed as a guest for a short while. Basil treated the phoney Lord ridiculously deferentially and pandered to his every need.
Melbury spoke with a refined English accent, deposited a hefty suitcase of valuables in Basil's safe (which later turned out to be several bricks), conned him out of £200, and almost got his greedy mitts upon Basil's collection of fine antique coins (a small investment) which Melbury insisted he should get valued by the Duke of Buccleuch (whom Basil later joked had had his head knocked off by a golf ball).
The circumstances of Melbury's arrest ironically scared away real aristocrats: Sir Richard Morris and his wife who vowed that they had never been in such a terrible place in all their lives – many innocent people would later think exactly the same.
|Portrayed by||Luan Peters|
Basil (while being sexually repressed) undeniably took a fancy to her during her stay at the hotel. This obvious attraction created carefully concealed jealousy within Sybil, ironically however this was a two way situation because Basil felt the same way when she had been attracted to Mr. Johnson earlier in the episode. By sharp contrast, however, she did not insult Raylene as Basil had done with Johnson, but rather apologises for her husband's behaviour and berates Basil.
Despite taking an obvious fancy to her, Basil's attention was quickly taken up by his efforts to catch the young girl that Mr. Johnson had hidden away in his room. Becoming increasingly paranoid, Basil deliberately took steps to try and catch Johnson with the girl. In turn, Basil kept accidentally finding himself in compromising positions with Raylene in the presence of Sybil, while trying to do something totally different. This created conflict between the Fawltys, and Basil spent a night sleeping in a broom cupboard as a punishment for his accidental crimes.
Raylene was clearly bewildered by her stay at Fawlty Towers, and the management, due to her encounters with Basil, however she tried to remain as laid back about the events as much as possible.
Sir Richard and Lady Morris
|Sir Richard and Lady Morris|
|Portrayed by||Martin Wyldeck
Basil announced to Sybil he would be expecting these notorious, well-respected aristocrats early in the episode, after they had seen a £40 advertisement in a respectable magazine indicating that Fawlty Towers accepted no riff-raff, this phrase obviously attracted the stuffy couple.
After Lord Melbury had been uncovered as a confidence trickster, Basil went slightly mad, and the aristocrats happened to check in at the hotel at the worse possible moment. Clearly emotionally unstable Basil almost thought that the Morris' were part of the scam. Basil confronted Lord Melbury, and the Morris' watched as the police raided the hotel, and as Basil yelled out swear words to the conman.
Clearly baffled and bewildered by what they had seen, the Morris' left the hotel, clearly stating that they had: never been to such a dreadful place, and Basil showered them with insults as their car left the driveway.
|Portrayed by||David Kelly|
Mr. O'Reilly was an ineffective and God-fearing Irish builder played by actor David Kelly who Basil hires in The Builders. His shoddy workmanship and complete lack of knowledge in the field of building works almost resulted in the Fawlty Towers hotel collapsing.
In the episode, Basil and Sybil are going away for the weekend and want some foundation work done on the hotel during their absence. Sybil sensibly decides to use professional builders, but foolishly lets Basil oversee everything. Not wanting a huge bill to pay, Basil hires O'Reilly. O'Reilly and his men are totally incompetent cowboys, but Basil frequently uses him because he's cheap. Sybil mentions that O'Reilly has worked for them three times in the past year and every time, it has been a catastrophe. O'Reilly was called in to build a garden wall and simply left the huge pile of bricks in the driveway instead of actually building it. He also attempted to change a washer in the hotel, resulting in the hotel having no running water for two weeks. Sybil abhors O'Reilly, which is totally understandable and attacked him after he dared to smile cheerily at her when she was viciously insulting him about how completely useless he was.
O'Reilly is the only character, other than Basil himself, who gets to be on the receiving end of Sybil's wrath. He is also one of the very few guest characters to receive a mention in more than one episode: we see Basil complaining to him over the phone, about the garden wall, in A Touch of Class. Memorably, Sybil noted that she had seen more intelligent creatures than O'Reilly lying on their backs at the bottom of ponds. She then hit him several times with an umbrella.
Basil convinced O'Reilly into doing the best day's work he'd ever done. The hotel looked faultless after O'Reilly had worked upon it, however rival builder Mr. Stubbs realized that the supporting walls were in fact in danger of falling down because of the incorrect usage of materials, leaving the Fawltys in a complete crisis.
Basil then stormed away, vowing to insert a large garden gnome in O'Reilly's behind.
The Paperboy is rarely seen, but is revealed to be the prankster who rearranges the letters on the "Fawlty Towers" sign to read various (sometimes rude) phrases. This may be as a result of when Basil sarcastically stares at him, tapping his watch, strongly implying that he is late, which leads to him making a quick exit. A few times, Major Gowen asks Basil if the papers have arrived, only for Basil to tell him "Not yet, Major".
|Portrayed by||Geoffrey Palmer|
Doctor Price was staying at the hotel at the time that Mr. Leeman was found dead in his sleep, he calmed Basil down and convinced him that the out-of-date kippers he had served Leeman for breakfast were not responsible for the guest's death.
He wasn't impressed by the standards of hygiene in the hotel, because Basil was occupied with hiding the dead body in inconvenient places. He was bewildered by the lack of service, and by Manuel's erratic behaviour.
He wanted sausages for breakfast, which results in the famous line: "I'm a doctor and I want my sausages." He gets tired of waiting and ends up cooking them himself. However, the sausages are off, having passed their best before date.
|Portrayed by||Yvonne Gilan|
Mrs. Peignoir (Yvonne Gilan) appears in the episode The Wedding Party. She is a wealthy French antique dealer who is in Torquay seeking out valuable antiques to buy and sell. She takes a shine to Basil throughout the episode. When she gets back to the hotel slightly drunk after a night out, she trips over Basil when he is kneeling down trying to pick up her dropped purse. Unfortunately, as she is sitting on him, Alan and Jean, the couple staying at the hotel, walk into the lobby, making it look as though he is in an intimate situation.
Later in the episode, Mrs. Peignoir, who is once again slightly inebriated, flirts with Basil when she learns that his wife is out. Basil, who does not particularly like her much, attempts to ward her off and eventually locks his door. Sybil returns and tries to gain entrance to the bedroom, with Basil, still thinking that it is Mrs. Peignoir, tries to ward her off.
Quentina and Ronald
|Quentina and Ronald|
Quentina and Ronald (Sabina Franklyn and David Neville) are a couple who appear in the episode Basil the Rat. Ronald, a short-tempered man with a posh accent and his fiancee, Quentina, are at Fawlty Towers to have lunch. Manuel spots his rat, Basil, under their table. As neither Ronald nor Quentina can see the rat Ronald assumes Manuel is ogling at her legs. When he calls Basil Fawlty over to complain that Manuel is ignoring him when he tries to take his order, Basil ignores him as well and looks under the table.
After eventually managing to get Basil's attention, Ronald orders the veal. Unfortunately, as Basil has put rat poison on a piece of veal that had gotten mixed up with the others, he is told that the veal is off. Ronald is annoyed by this, especially when he sees Mr. Carnegie, the health inspector, being given some veal and is told that it is "veal substitute." Eventually, Ronald decides to go and have lunch at a restaurant rather than the hotel. However, Polly spots the rat in Quentina's handbag and Basil tries to fish it out while she distracts them. However, Quentina catches Basil red-handed. Ronald hits breaking point and angrily says to Basil "You know something? You're getting my dander up, you grotty little man! You're asking for a bunch of fives!" However, Polly tells them that they had had a bomb scare and that this was why Basil was looking in her bag and under their table and that they didn't want to alarm them. Quentina and Ronald, seemingly satisfied with this explanation, then leave for lunch.
Sabina Franklyn, who had portrayed Quentina, had had a severe phobia of rats and, in order to calm her nerves, Cleese gave her a series of humorous anecdotes to think about while the rat scurried about at her legs during filming.
Reg was one of the friends which came over to the hotel to visit Basil and Sybil on their Anniversary in "The Anniversary" episode, along with his wife Kitty. He was played by Roger Hume. It was not disclosed if they were friends of Basil, Sybil or both. It was this couple who caused the initial upset about Sybil being ill in bed when they announced that they had just seen her in town. This led to Roger passing a few remarks and thus causing Basil to stage the whole bedroom scene.
|Portrayed by||Joan Sanderson|
Mrs Alice Richards was played by Joan Sanderson in the first episode of the second series Communication Problems. Besides Basil, her personality was enough to cause Manuel, Polly and Sybil to dislike her as well, with Basil describing her as "deaf, mad and blind".
Alice Richards was an uncompromising, selectively deaf battleaxe from Brighton (or at least she had a house there which was being put up for sale), she constantly complained about the hotel service, even though nothing was notably wrong with it. She had the will and the power to bend everyone and anyone's patience to get her own way.
She complained with relish about her room to Basil (even though, on this occasion, nothing was apparently wrong with it at all), during one memorable scene where she claimed the room was cold, the bath was non-existent, the radio didn't work, and the view of Torquay was invisible, despite all of these factors being perfectly satisfactory (she couldn't see the bath or the view and couldn't hear the radio). Mrs. Richards said she wanted a reduction, to which Basil responded very quietly "60% if you turn it (her hearing aid) on" (she refused to have her hearing aid on because it wears the battery down).
She easily misunderstood situations (either deliberately or because she was hard of hearing), this created more friction between her and Basil Fawlty, whom she had christened C.K. Watt (Si Que What) through her own misapprehension. Basil at one point gained some revenge by mouthing silently at her to make her turn her hearing aid up to full volume and then bellowing into the microphone.
The major plot throughout the episode was that while she stayed at the hotel lost £85, which she believed has been stolen. It was later revealed that (partly due her dottiness) she had kept it inside a glove that she left at an antique shop when she brought a highly valuable vase. However, due to the madness of Major Gowen, a frightful mix-up occurred, resulting in Mrs Richards claiming the ill-gotten £75 Basil had won on a horse, which he had been forced to hide from Sybil, as she had banned him from gambling. Basil came close to having the upper-hand for once, after Mrs Richards' own money was returned and he plotted to keep it. However, the Major stormed in and merrily revealed to Sybil that Basil had won the money on a horse, and a horrified Basil broke Mrs Richards' frightfully expensive vase. Basil was verging on a nervous breakdown as he bade farewell to this frightful 'old bat'!
She is billed as Mrs. Richards in the credits and called this through the episode however in her fifth line, she announces her name when Polly asked her.
|Portrayed by||Ken Campbell|
Roger was married to Alice (Una Stubbs), and the couple visited Fawlty Towers for the Fawlty's fifteenth wedding anniversary. He was the first to suspect that something fishy was going on, after Sybil refused to come down to say hello, due to her being 'ill'. In reality, Sybil had left the hotel in a fury after Basil deliberately pretended to forget their Anniversary (which was part of the surprise).
Roger had an extremely annoying personality, and was constantly cheeky, trying Basil's patience with his witty remarks. Basil coolly tried to snub off indications and retorts that Roger made, with replies such as: you read a lot of Oscar Wilde, do you Rog?
After the fiasco that occurred at the hotel, whereby Polly had to dress up as Sybil, after Roger's persistence to see her overwhelmed Basil. Polly had to hide under the guise of Sybil in a room so dimly lit that many of the guests fell over, or caused injury to themselves.
Roger was one of the few people to come out of the room unscathed, and he remarked to Basil that he had had great fun.
|Portrayed by||James Appleby|
He was a professional, reliable man, as was his firm. Sybil wishes to use him to spruce up the hotel, but Basil hires the cheaper – but totally incompetent cowboy Mr. O'Reilly instead. He does not actually appear on-screen until the very end of the episode.
After several cock-ups Mr. Stubbs inspects his rival O'Reilly's shoddy work, and comes to realise that the hotel is in danger of falling down, and Basil then storms off vowing to insert a large garden gnome in O'Reilly, and then possibly going to Canada.
Mr. and Mrs. Twitchen
|List of guest characters in Fawlty Towers|
Lionel Twitchen, one of Torquay's leading rotarians and that year's treasurer, along with his wife, Lotte, were two of the four guests, along with the Halls, who attended Basil Fawlty's Gourmet Night. When Basil attempts to introduce the two to the Halls, he stumbles on their name, because the Colonel has a nervous twitch, and their name, Basil believed, was pronounced "Twitchen." As a result, due to his unwillingness to cause offence, he was unable to introduce them properly, and pretended to faint to avoid it. Fortunately, Mr. Twitchen sees the Colonel's nervous twitch for himself and reveals that his name is, in fact, pronounced "Twychen."
At the beginning of The Builders, there is a guest who returns to the reception desk saying "Sorry, I forgot my key" he hands the key to Polly and leaves. He is not seen again and this very small part is removed from the audio adaptation to avoid needless confusion. The character and actor are not mentioned in the end credits, therefore very little else is known about them.
Unnamed Taxi Driver
Made a very brief appearance in Communication Problems. He walks into the hotel with Mrs. Richards, carrying her case. He does not say anything but just waits while Mrs. Richards gets change for him at reception. She pays him and he walks out. The character and actor are not mentioned in the end credits, therefore very little else is known about them.
|Portrayed by||Pat Keen|
Virginia was one of Basil and Sybil's friends whom Basil had invited to Sybil's surprise anniversary party in the episode The Anniversary. She was portrayed as the perfect comic foil for Basil, repeatedly demanding to see the absent Sybil, despite Basil's increasingly erratic attempts to prevent her.
In the episode, Sybil furiously believes Basil has (again) forgotten their wedding anniversary, and storms off in despair. Ironically, Basil had organised a surprise party for her, and had invited all of her best friends to visit. Thus, he was left in a desperate situation. He continued to spin a relentless web of increasingly absurd and horrifying lies to explain Sybil's absence from the party. Basil fabricated the story that Sybil was in bed, suffering horrendous symptoms: losing her voice, severe swelling up around her eyes and also swollen thighs. Virginia, a fully trained nurse, became distraught upon hearing this and became determined to examine Sybil. After Basil finally relented and decided to show them "Sybil" (actually Polly in disguise), Virginia attempted to treat Sybil/Polly, and ended up being struck violently across the face by a frantic Polly when she came too close.
|Portrayed by||James Cossins|
|Occupation||Outboard Motor Salesman|
Mr. Walt seemed brash, and abrupt. He liked to be left alone, and seemed rather irritable (which may have been due to Basil's extreme behaviour). He expressed a good knowledge of wine, and he caught Basil out, for the manager believed that a Bordeaux was not a claret, he was particularly annoyed when his wine was corked and had to explain a few times to Basil that the wine was corked, and eventually got Manuel to pour a glass out for him offscreen. Not much attention was paid to him, for Basil was concentrating on Mr. Hutchinson, whom he believed was a hotel inspector. When Basil finally got round to sorting out a glass of decent wine for Mr. Walt, he saw that he already had one, after opening yet another bottle. Basil then asked him how he done that, to which he replied "Well the waiter opened it for me", Basil then jabbed Manuel, who was just passing by, in the behind with the corkscrew.
After a mix-up in communication (Mr. Walt mentioned to Basil that he was in Torquay with two partners), Basil swapped his focus from Mr. Hutchinson to Mr. Walt, believing him to be an inspector. Basil felt worried after the way that he had treated the man and how he may have felt after seeing the trouble arise with Mr. Hutchinson so he spun a little story of how it was all a game and how he really enjoys it there and is a regular guest. Basil then offered Mr. Walt dinner, then when Mr Walt said he could not partake, Basil then bribed him £50 (then upped it to £60, when Mr. Walt looked a little perplexed, which Basil mistook for looking offended) not to mention the situations that had occurred at the hotel that afternoon.
Bewildered, Mr. Walt confessed that he sold outboard motors, after Basil was humiliated, and crying like a sinisterly overgrown baby, when he let slip that he believed he was a hotel inspector. Mr. Walt said he had nothing to do with any hotel guides or inspections (not even on the side) and Basil quickly stopped crying, thanked him and rushed off.
|Portrayed by||Terence Conoley|
The Wareings were a family who stayed at Basil's hotel in the episode A Touch of Class. They ended up suffering from Basil's heavy doting on the supposed aristocratic guest, Lord Melbury. For instance, at lunch time, Basil forces them to move from their table, which is next to the window, midway through their meal so that Lord Melbury can have it. As a result, Mr. Wareing grew steadily more annoyed by the service. Later on, the two are seen in the bar waiting for Basil to take their order (Gin and Orange juice, Lemon squash and scotch and water). However, due to a combination of Basil's fawning over Lord Melbury and the latter's arrest, with Basil trying to attack Melbury, the Wareings are neglected and are understandably annoyed by this. Eventually, as Basil is hanging up Sybil's picture, she shows Mr. Wareing to Basil and Wareing angrily states "A Gin and Orange, a lemon squash, and a scotch and water, please!" Basil, annoyed by this and the fact that Sybil has been too lazy to bother serving the Wareings herself, shatters Sybil's picture, frogmarches Mr. Wareing to his table and finally serves him and his family.
|Portrayed by||Richard Davies
This marks the second appearance of Benson, who appeared as the mollycoddling Mrs. Heath in Gourmet Night. She was the only actress who appeared in more than one role in the show.
The Whites came to their room one afternoon to find it was being 'Spring Cleaned'. In reality, Basil, Manuel and Polly were trying to hide the deceased Mr. Leeman, and the unconscious Miss. Tibbs in their wardrobe for the time-being. After they protest, the Whites were eventually allowed into their room, and they became frantic after Miss. Tibbs awoke, and Basil made up the excuse that she was a mad widow whom he repeatedly told off for hiding in people's cupboards.
The couple made a mutual agreement that they were going to find another hotel elsewhere. As they drove away, they saw Basil and Manuel holding the remains of Mr. Leeman, and crashed before they left the premises. They were later seen re-entering Fawlty Towers at the end of the episode, clearly in a state of trauma/shock. Basil accidentally walks in on them fast asleep in their room.
Seen when Basil is trying to carry out the fire drill in The Germans episode, Miss Wilson, commonly called the large woman is played by Claire Davenport. Her character is of a posh, educated nature. It is she who asks Basil how people are supposed to distinguish between the burglar alarm and the fire alarm. In the audio adaptation, she is referred to as "Bossy Woman". Despite her vain nature, she is not really bossy, although some of Claire Davenport's other roles, especially those in On The Buses were very much so.
|Portrayed by||Robert McBain|
Mr Xerxes was a colleague of Mr Leeman in The Kipper and the Corpse, who accompanied him along with Mr Zebedee and Miss Young as he was not feeling very well. Mr Xerxes was played by Robert McBain. It was agreed that the three of them would return to collect Mr Leeman and take him to the important business meeting. It was not disclosed what the meeting was about. When Mr Xerxes returned with Mr Zebedee and Miss Young, there was (deliberate) confusion as Basil had not been able to hide Mr Leeman's corpse before the undertaker arrived and so Polly had to try and stall them by saying that she thought they had come for the linen. Mr Xerxes's first name was never disclosed and he is never referred to by name in the show at all, except in the credits and in the official script book, which was released generally.
Mr Xerxes was generally a little outspoken. While he and the other business associates are checking in Mr Leeman, it is he who is generally taking the lead, assuring Mr Leeman to have a good rest and they would come to collect him in the morning. After the confusion the following day of collecting Mr Leeman (as opposed to the linen), it is Mr Xerxes who firmly, but politely tells Polly that they had come to collect Mr Leeman so that they could go for a meeting with the company director. At this point, Sybil takes over and asks them to go into the office where she could discreetly tell them what had happened.
|Portrayed by||Pamela Buchner|
Miss Young was a colleague of Mr Leeman in "The Kipper and the Corpse", who accompanied him along with Mr Zebedee and Mr Xerxes as he was not feeling very well. Miss Young was played by Pamela Buchner. It was agreed that the three of them would return to collect Mr Leeman and take him to the important business meeting. It was not disclosed what the meeting was about. When Miss Young returned with Mr Zebedee and Mr Xerxes, there was (deliberate) confusion as Basil had not been able to hide Mr Leeman's corpse before the undertaker arrived and so Polly had to try and stall them by saying that she thought they had come for the linen. Miss Young's first name was never disclosed and she is never referred to by name in the show at all, exempt in the credits and in the official script book, which was released generally.
|Portrayed by||Raymond Mason|
Mr Zebedee was a colleague of Mr Leeman in The Kipper and the Corpse, who accompanied him along with Mr Xerxes and Miss Young as he was not feeling very well. Mr Zebedee was played by Raymond Mason. It was agreed that the three of them would return to collect Mr Leeman and take him to the important business meeting. It was not disclosed what the meeting was about. When Mr Zebedee returned with Mr Xerxes and Miss Young, there was (deliberate) confusion as Basil had not been able to hide Mr Leeman's corpse before the undertaker arrived and so Polly had to try and stall them by saying that she thought they had come for the linen. Mr Zebedee's first name was never disclosed and he is never referred to by name in the show at all, exempt in the credits and in the official script book, which was released generally.
Mr Zebedee was a calm man who went to take his hat from the small cloak area in the lobby, however Basil was standing in front of it, to hide Mr Leeman's corpse. Mr Zebedee proceeded to ask for his hat in quite a calm manner and was persistent as Basil tried to think of ways to avoid giving Mr Zebedee his hat for fear of exposing Mr Leeman. Basil quickly turned round to get it and passed it to Manuel to give it to him so that Mr Leeman would still be hidden.
- Source: The Museum of Curiosity, Series 6 – Episode 4, BBC Radio 4, First Broadcast 14 October 2013
- All About Two: BBC Two's 50th Anniversary special ~1:18:00