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John Cleese Considering Legal Action Against ‘Fawlty Towers’-Inspired Show: ‘I Never Realised 'Tribute' Is A Synonym For Rip-Off'’

'Seems they thought that by not asking, and by changing the 'w' to a 'u',they'd be in the clear.'

24/03/2016 10:07 GMT | Updated 24/03/2016 10:09 GMT

John Cleese is NOT happy with an Australian theatre company who he claims have ‘shamelessly ripped off’ his classic comedy ‘Fawlty Towers’.

The actor and comedian wrote and starred in all twelve of the episodes of the 1970’s BBC sitcom, in which he played the put-upon Basil Fawlty, owner of the titular seaside hotel.

BBC
John Cleese as Basil Fawlty

But in a series of tweets, the 76-year-old has blasted the Faulty Towers Dining Experience for not seeking his permission to use the show’s title, themes or characters.

He added that he had also not received any royalties from the show, which reportedly makes almost A$2m ($1.4m; £1m) a year.

However, the production company behind the tribute show, which has been staged all over the world including in London, Sydney, said the actor had been aware of its existence for years.

In a statement to the BBC, Imagination Workshop added that they were ‘staggered’ by the star’s claims.

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John Cleese

The statement read: "We are staggered by John Cleese's vitriol towards us and our tribute show.

"We are not an unauthorised rip-off show - anyone who knows the law in this area will understand that we do not require authorisation to use the concept of Fawlty Towers.

"We are not the bad guys he is painting us to be. It is a shame he has chosen to air his frustrations so publicly rather than contacting us directly about this matter."

John Cleese also told Fairfax newspapers in Australia that he was amused by the irony of the tough legal language used by the production company on its website.

"These people are shamelessly ripping off Connie Booth and myself, and they are publishing aggressive threats against anyone else who would seek to rip them off in the same way," he said.

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