John Cleese Announces New Adaptation Of Fawlty Towers To Coincide With Show's 50th Anniversary

Fans of the original sitcom will be able to enjoy this new version later this year.
John Cleese on stage in 2022
John Cleese on stage in 2022
Amanda Stronza via Getty Images

John Cleese has announced he’s bringing Fawlty Towers to the West End for the first time, around the classic sitcom’s 50th anniversary.

On Friday morning, the Monty Python star confirmed he had penned a new production based on the show, which he originally created and wrote with his co-star and then-wife Connie Booth.

Fawlty Towers: The Play is based on three episodes of the original sitcom – The Hotel Inspector, The Germans and Communication Problems – and will run at the Apollo Theatre in the West End from May until September.

John enthused: “What a thrill to be bringing Fawlty Towers to the West End for the first time – nearly 50 years since the show was first recorded, in December 1974.”

John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs on the set of Fawlty Towers
John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs on the set of Fawlty Towers

He added: “I’ve adapted three of my favourite episodes for the stage and written one huge finale, which will bring together the endings of all three episodes.

“So here we are, all the way from Torquay, via the old BBC Television Centre, to the West End! I do hope some of you will come to the Apollo to laugh together. And laugh. And laugh…”

Adam Jackson-Smith will take on the lead role of Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese in the original show, while Anna-Jane Casey, Hemi Yeroham and Victoria Fox will play Sybil, Manuel and Polly, respectively.

The cast of Fawlty Towers: The Play
The cast of Fawlty Towers: The Play
Trevor Leighton

Although John is not expected to star in the show himself, he did announce last year he would be reprising the role of Basil Fawlty in a new reboot, which he’d co-written with his daughter Camilla.

It was said this new version would see Basil navigating “the modern world”, while working alongside a daughter he never knew to run a boutique hotel.

Fawlty Towers has repeatedly been ranked as the best British sitcom of all time, although it famously only ran for two seasons in 1975 and 1979, with only 12 episodes existing.

John and co-writer Connie Booth – with whom he co-created Fawlty Towers, and was married between 1968 and 1978 – made the joint decision not to write any more episodes as they felt they’d “done our best” and any follow-up would be “good but not very good”.

Tickets for Fawlty Towers: The Play will go on sale on Wednesday 7 February at 10am. For more information, visit the show’s official website here.


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