A Devon hotel, Hotel Gleneagles in Torquay, which inspired the legendary TV comedy series Fawlty Towers has been officially re-opened by one of the show’s stars.
Prunella Scales (who played Sybil Fawlty) has officially re-opened Hotel Gleneagles after arriving in a replica of the red Austin 1100 car, which, in one of the series’ most famous scenes in 1975, Basil gave a good hiding with a branch when it conked out and wouldn’t restart.
The reopening followed a major refurbishment. The hotel was recently bought by local businessmen Brian Shone and Terry Taylor. They have spent Â£1 million on refurbishing the facilities, and Prunella Scales was guest of honour at the official relaunch on 18th September 2006.
Fawlty Towers was based on the Gleneagles, where John Cleese stayed with other members of the Monty Python team in the early ’70s. Cleese, who of course played Basil Fawlty, based the character on the owner of the hotel, Donald Sinclair, who he described as “the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met.”
Mr Sinclair, who died in 1981, is said to have thrown Eric Idle’s suitcase out of the window “in case it contained a bomb” and complained about Terry Gilliam’s table manners.
Looking back, the real Sybil, Beatrice Sinclair, agrees her husband was not good with the guests. “Not really, he was a commander in the Royal Navy and he liked to have the last word. I don’t think he ever really enjoyed the hotel life.”
The Gleneagles was not the location where the series was filmed. That was done in Thames Valley. The hotel shown in the series was the Woodburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire, but that burned down in 1991.
By comparing the two photo’s you can see that Prunella didn’t age at all!
Only 12 episodes were made of Fawlty Towers, and they were first aired on BBC1 more than 30 years ago.
But the legend of Basil and Sybil lives on…
With thanks to: Â»BBC