|The classic British comedy series Fawlty Towers has turned 30 years old and in honor of the occasion BBC Video has just released a 3 disc box set containing all 12 episodes of the original series, plus interviews, commentaries, outtakes and a whole disc worth of special features. The Times Online recently ran an interview with an interview with Prunella Scales (Sybil Fawlty) where they discussed the 30th anniversary of the series and her role in British television history:
One of the striking things about the shows is that most scenes were filmed once without the opportunity to reshoot if things weren’t quite right. On the new set of remastered DVDs, Cleese provides a commentary that reveals him as a frustrated perfectionist. He chuckles along at classic moments “” “excuse me laughing at my own jokes, but I think that was Connie’s” “” but is also hypercritical. He points out where moments of slapstick weren’t spot-on, analyses how lines could have been tweaked and picks over minute editing decisions: “Could have taken the first three seconds off that shot.”
But what is striking is how quick the show still seems. “It hasn’t lost pace, that’s the great thing about it,” says Scales. “And that’s because of the talent of Connie and John and the rigour of John; how fast he played. If you couldn’t keep up with him you had to really get in there. That’s what its enduring quality is, the pace.”
The reaction of the audiences when they recorded the shows was positive, but she had no inkling that she was involved in something that would go on to top polls of the greatest British television programmes. [Times Online]
This set is truly a gem and something every comedy fan should own, that’s why I’m pleased to offer 3 copies of Fawlty Towers: The Complete Series Remastered DVD box set to three lucky readers of this site. To enter the contest, just fill out the entry form after the jump (just don’t mention the war!). Winners will be notified and selected on November 11, 2009. Contest is available to US and Canadian residents.
But wait, that’s not all, in addition to my contest, there is a “Fawlty Towers Lookalike Contest” going on right now on Facebook where you can win even bigger prizes including a signed John Cleese Photo, a John Cleese signed Fawlty Towers DVD and a bunch of other FT related items. John Cleese himself will be picking the winners of this contest!
Actors: John Cleese, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Prunella Scales
Format: Box set, DVD, Full Screen, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 3
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Warner
DVD Release Date: October 20, 2009
Run Time: 374 minutes
Coming to Special Edition DVD for the first time, it’s the complete Fawlty Towers collection with all-new commentary from John Cleese! Hot off the runaway success of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, John Cleese embarked on his now-legendary sitcom, Fawlty Towers, creating one of the most memorable and best loved characters in all of British comedy, Basil Fawlty. Basil Fawlty is a much put-upon, hard-working hotel manager whose life is plagued by dead guests, hotel inspectors, and riff-raff. Of course his biggest headache is his “little nest of vipers,” his nagging wife Sibyl. Together they run their hotel, Fawlty Towers, with a little help from the unflappable Polly and the trainee waiter from Barcelona with marginally more intelligence than a monkey, Manuel.
-Exclusive commentary by John Cleese
-2009 extended interviews, including exclusive interview with Connie Booth
-Interviews with John Cleese, Prunella Scales, and Andrew Sachs
-Series 1 director’s commentary by John Howard Davies
-Series 2 director’s commentary by Bob Spiers
-Torquay Tourist Guide (short documentary film)
-Cheap Tatty Review
A Touch of Class – Basil Fawlty is in a campaign to improve the class of his clientele at Fawlty Towers. His efforts have spectacular results – in the short term.
The Builders – Sybil has picked a professional firm for the alterations to the hotel. But Basil makes an executive decision that his friend can do a better job.
The Wedding – Basil occupies himself in a losing battle against moral turpitude. His predicament is exacerbated by Manuel’s birthday celebrations.
Hotel Inspectors – One of the dreaded events in a hotel manager’s life is the inspector’s visit. One calls, and Basil has to decide which of the guests he is.
Gourmet Night – It is Gourmet Night at Fawlty Towers, and it seems that Basil’s long cherished dream will be realized. But the chef lies drunk on the floor.
The Germans – A moose head falls on Basil during a fire drill, giving him a concussion. But he must leave hospital to deal tactfully with a group of German tourists.
Communications Problems – A nearly deaf and very difficult Mrs. Richards arrives at the hotel. When she loses a large sum of money, she demands that the police be called.
The Psychiatrist – Basil is certain one of the guests has smuggled a girl into his room and sets out to investigate. Unfortunately, he is caught in a compromising situation by Sybil.
Waldorf Salad – An American guest tips Basil to keep the kitchen open late, but chef has left for the day. Basil steps in, but he meets his Waterloo when the guest requests a Waldorf Salad.
The Kipper and the Corpse – What should a hotelier do when he serves a guest breakfast in bed and finds that guest dead? Whatever that something may be, Basil does not do it.
Anniversary – It is Basil and Sibyl’s anniversary, and Basil has actually remembered. In true Basil fashion, however, he has not told Sybil he has remembered and she is hugely upset.
Basil the Rat – Manuel has been ordered to get rid of his pet rat before the health inspector pays a visit. But the pet breaks away, leading the Major to trying to shoot the rodent in the bar.
Fawlty Towers Lookalike Contest (http://tr.im/fawltycontest)
One (1) grand prize winner receives a prize pack that includes:
*Signed John Cleese Photo
*Signed Fawlty Towers DVD
*Fawlty Towers embroidered white terry-cloth bathrobe
*Fawlty Towers story of Britain’s Favorite Sitcom book
*Fawlty Towers corgi toy car
One (1) second prize winner will receive:
A signed Fawlty Towers DVD and a Fawlty Towers corgi toy car.
One (1) third prize winner will receive: A signed Fawlty Towers DVD.
This contest is open to people at least 18 years old that reside in United States.
October 21, 2009 @ 12:00 pm (PDT)
November 15, 2009 @ 08:59 pm (PST)
Need more Details?
Read the Official Rules