John Cleese 'apologises' over Fawlty Towers reboot

John Cleese ‘apologises’ over Fawlty Towers reboot with bizarre Twitter post asking for ‘forgiveness’ for ‘releasing tide of negative emotion’ over ‘fun’ idea to ‘write new sitcom’

  • Earlier this month, Cleese announced Fawlty Towers, would be making a return 
  • Decision to write new episodes with his daughter Camilla was met with backlash

John Cleese has ‘apologised’ to his fans after the Fawlty Towers star announced he was working on a reboot of the classic sitcom.

The actor, 83, who played hotelier Basil Fawlty, said he ‘had no idea that the idea of writing a new sitcom with my daughter would cause so much anger and distress’.

In a Twitter post, he added: ‘I truly meant no harm. Naively I thought it might be fun.’

Cleese told his fans he felt ‘terrible’ about ‘having released this tide of negative emotion’, before asking his fans: ‘Please forgive me’.

Earlier this month, Cleese announced Fawlty Towers, one of Britain’s most beloved sitcoms, would be making its return to the small screens after four decades away.

However, the news of the decision to write new episodes with his daughter Camilla was met with backlash by some fans.

John Cleese played hotelier John Fawlty in the original BBC sitcom

John Cleese tweeted his ‘apologies’ over the ‘anger and distress’ caused by announcing the revival series

John Cleese pictured in March last year

Some fans claimed that if the original series was launched today, it would have been ‘cancelled’, as they questioned whether the nature of the slapstick humour would be appropriate for a modern audience.

Some lovers of the iconic original, which ran for 12 episodes even took to social media, with some begging for Cleese not to remake the show. 

One person said: ‘The very reason that this is held to be one of, if not, the greatest sitcom of all time is that there were only 12 episodes. 12 episodes of genius. Might be best to leave it there.’


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Another agreed, saying: ‘It was a classic. The characters, the way Fawlty said things, his mannerisms. 

‘They way he treated [Manuel]. It was funny at a time when we could actually have a laugh. Now we have a generation of people who get shocked and easily offended. Leave it as a classic.’ 

A third lambasted comedy remakes, insisting they never worked, saying: ‘These reboots or remakes of British comedy shows are often terrible. 

‘They lack the writing and energy of the originals and often the returning actors fail at getting back into the role and the new characters lack any sort of substance.’

While a fourth person on Twitter simply wrote: ‘Oh, no. Leave perfection as it is.’

He also previously hinted that the new episodes could be set in the Caribbean instead of Torquay, as the TV legend revealed he refused to let the series return to the ‘woke’ BBC.

Speaking to GB News about its revival, he also claimed he would not be allowed the necessary ‘freedom’ with the public service broadcaster.

Speaking about the new series on Dan Wootton Tonight on GB News, he said: ‘When I look at old clips now all these wonderful English character actors aren’t with us anymore, so suddenly we thought that if the only continuing character is Basil, then we can come up with something surprising.

John Cleese hinted that his Fawlty Towers reboot could be set in the Caribbean instead of Torquay, as the TV legend revealed he refused to let the series return to the ‘woke’ BBC

The actor, who played grumpy hotelier Basil Fawlty in the classic sitcom, claimed he wouldn’t be allowed the necessary ‘freedom’ with the public service broadcaster

‘Then we thought, ‘Where?’ Not in a small English town, but somewhere more fun and much more different – say a Caribbean island or something like that with a small bijou hotel with a few rich people coming to stay!’

When Fawlty Towers was originally broadcast in the 1970s, it won several Baftas, including for best scripted comedy, with Cleese also picking up the award for best entertainment performance. 

The Monty Python star is yet to say which channel will show the remake, and while details are secret, it is assumed it will avoid very ‘un-woke’ scenarios of the original show. 

READ MORE: 10 Fawlty Towers jokes that might not make it past TV censors in John Cleese’s modern-day reboot


One episode, The Germans, featured Basil leaving a German guest in tears with repeated mentions of the war.

In another the character Major Gowen, played by Ballard Berkeley, repeatedly used the N-word about the West Indies cricket team. It was temporarily pulled by streaming service UKTV.

The sequel will be written alongside his daughter, Camilla Cleese, as he revealed they have been working together for some 16 years.

However, he acknowledged there would have to be changes following the death of Andrew Sachs, who played hapless waiter Manuel, and the Alzheimer’s diagnosis of Prunella Scales, who starred as his on-screen wife, Sybil.

Cleeves previously announced he will front a new GB News programme called the Dinosaur Hour. 

About hosting the new programme, he said: ‘I’m excited. I’ve been working with a couple of guys on it. And the whole idea of being able to create a show from scratch without anyone looking over our shoulders is extraordinary. 

‘I mean, you wouldn’t get an offer like this anywhere else on the planet. It’s extraordinary. And I’m really looking forward to it because I think that there are so many cliches in ordinary television so it would be nice just to try and avoid those.’

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