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Fawlty Towers: A Worshipper’s Companion

Published by Leo Publishing

Fawlty Towers: A Worshipper's Companion — Buy it Now!

Probably the first thing you'll notice about this book is the lack of photographs and stills from the episodes which make up a large chunk of the content in the only other book to really give Fawlty Towers the in-depth treatment it deserves. Of course, this lack of photos etc means there is reading material a-plenty in this particular volume, but the pages aren't totally devoid of visual interest, as the author has decorated the pages with his own pencil sketches of characters and scenes from the episodes! Obviously the author doesn’t have the same freedom to use photos and screenshots as the BBC does but his original illustrations more than make up for this, and most people thinking about buying The Worshipper's Companion will probably already own Fully Booked.

I'll try to give you a taste in a chapter-by-chapter summary of just some of what you can find if and when you decide to purchase The Worshipper's Companion.

Foreword by John Cleese

It is interesting that John Cleese now publicly states that he no longer wishes to receive any material forwarded to him on the subject of Fawlty Towers. Nevertheless, after some pestering by the author of The Worshipper's Companion, he relented on this occasion then subsequently provided an interesting foreword for this book.

John Cleese had this to say about the series and this latest guide book to it:

For me, Fawlty Towers belongs to a painful, confused, not to say disturbed, period of my life.

Fawlty Towers: A Worshipper’s Companion is…incredibly well written and witty.

There you go; not only do you get a book which comes highly recommended by the big man himself, you also get an insight into a period of John's life which he confesses was painful and disturbed!

Condensed Biographies of the inhabitants of Fawlty Towers.

The first chapter is made up of rather interesting biographies filling in the blanks regarding the lives of the main characters before they suddenly appeared in Fawlty Towers all those years ago. These bios detail the military career of The Major, the paths which led Polly and Manuel to Torquay, and the true story of how Basil and Sybil met and fell in love.

The Neuroses

This chapter explores, for those of you brave enough to venture there, the many phobias and obsessions festering in Basil’s dark mind. Topics covered here include Basil's frequent battles with the English class system, his uptight views about sex, his racial prejudices and also his irrational (for a hotelier) distrust of guests and strangers.

The Secondary Characters

This is a short insight into some of the guests, delivery men etc who appeared in the series…some of them twice!

The Bleeding Unobvious

Up next is one of my favourite chapters in A Worshipper's Companion. It explains the references littered throughout Fawlty Towers to the many historical events and cultural characters, most of which are uttered by Basil during his outbursts of despair and fury. These explanations are something I had subconsciously neglected to include during the creation of this website, simply because I (probably incorrectly) assumed that everyone would know to whom Basil was referring when he mentions people such as Harold Wilson and Denis Compton. What I had forgotten was the success of Fawlty Towers led to it being broadcast around the entire globe, so it is essential that some background should be given to some of the references which might be a mystery to a lot of people. So, in that respect, this book quite rightly covers all this in sufficient detail.

The Occult Fawlty Towers(!?)

Much strangeness! Surely you can’t gain a deeper insight into the workings of Fawlty Towers and its creators by delving into the mysteries of numerology and Tarot Cards? The author tries to do just that in the weirdest chapter in this interesting book. If you really need proof that the Devil is at His twisted work in the leafy boulevards of Torquay then you’ll have to buy this book. Is that really Adolf Hitler sitting down to lunch at our favourite hotel on page 153? And why is the handkerchief pocket of his suit jacket on the wrong breast? Eek!

How It All Came About

"How It All Came About" firstly deals with how and why Fawlty Towers began and then focuses on the Production, Sets and Costume. As A Worshipper's Companion is aimed at the Fawtly Towers aficionado (okay, so I had to check the spelling of that), they will probably know the background to the series so I'll move swiftly on to the larger part of the chapter which is subheaded Production, Sets and Costumes. This begins with giving the reader all the information they need to go on a pilgrimage taking in all the outdoor locations including the site of Andre's Restaurant and the hallowed spot where Basil whacks his car with a branch. One location still remains a mystery though, where is/was the location of the premises filmed as the jeweller's shop in A Touch of Class? [UPDATE!] Unlikely that is was actually in Torquay of course, but does anyone know exactly where? Perhaps the author could pester John Cleese again for an answer in time for the second printing :-). The rest of the chapter is an interesting summary of things the eagle-eyed author has noticed about the infrastructure and fixtures and fittings. Like the rest of this book, this is full of interesting facts that will probably be new stuff to the vast majority of even the most avid viewers. The costumes worn by the cast also receive the same in-depth treatment. It is this attention to the minute details in the episodes which makes this book well worth buying for all Fawlty fans.

The Scripts

This chapter looks at how the personal and professional relationship between Cleese and Booth has a crucial role in the brilliance of the scripts. The chapter also discusses the many comic influences which left their mark on John Cleese; the linguistic games, puns and word-plays which crop up time and time again in the twelve episodes. Oh, and if you thought that "I'm afraid it's started to rain again!" from Basil The Rat was really the final ever line of dialogue, then it seems you were mistaken!

The Thirteenth Episode

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Myth? Legend? A reality that's been threatening to surface for the last twenty-six years? Maybe I'm "In The Know" but sworn to secrecy? Who really knows for sure? This final chapter in A Worshipper's Companion contains the best evidence yet. Lars Holger Holm claims to have been shown the illusive 13th episode of Fawlty Towers by a former BBC employee, and managed to sneakily make a copy of the script. The script of the thirteenth episode is published in full as a final and compelling reason for you to buy this book!

Fawlty Towers: A Worshipper's Companion — Buy it Now!

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