Awards and audiences for Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers, being such a great comedy show, has won many deserved awards over the last twenty-five years. This page details those awards given to the show itself and also to the characters e.g. Basil Fawlty. I have also tried to find details of audience and viewing figures for Fawlty Towers over the years.


British Film Institute

Year of award: 2000

Link to relevant webpage: Here

A poll by the British Film Institute surveyed 1600 TV critics, programme makers and writers, industry executives, etc, and the result was that Fawlty Towers was voted the UK television industry's favourite British TV programme. It is no surprise that Fawlty Towers also topped the Comedy and Variety category of the same poll.

The "short" list of 100 programmes covered half a century of the best of British television encompassing all genres — with the classic British comedy Fawlty Towers topping the lot — high praise indeed. This award is even more remarkable when you consider that Only Fools and Horses failed to make the top twenty and only one soap (sorry, serial drama) Coronation Street made the 100.

British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA)

Year of award: 1975 and 1979

The show won the award for Best Comedy Series in both the years it was broadcast i.e. 1975 for the first series, and 1979 for the second.

Year of award: 1980

In 1980, John Cleese won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for his portrayal of Basil in Fawlty Towers.

Royal Television Society Programme Award

Year of award: 1976

John Cleese was recognised for "outstanding creative achievement" for his work on Fawlty Towers.

Nat West Car Insurance "Momentous Motoring Moment"

Year of award: 1999

Link to relevant webpage: Here

The famous scene from Gourmet Night, in which Basil thrashes his car with a branch, has topped a poll to find the most momentous motoring moment in history.

Basil giving his car a whipping topped a poll by Nat West Car Insurance to find the most momentous motoring moment

The classic car chase from film The Italian Job came in second.

Channel 4 100 Greatest… Awards

Year of award: 2001

Link to relevant webpage: Here

Viewers of UK television Channel 4 voted Basil Fawlty the second greatest TV character of all time in their survey which voted Homer Simpson the greatest of all.

Year of award: 1999

Link to relevant webpage: Here

The Germans episode was voted No. 11 out of the 100 Greatest TV Moments, again by Channel 4 viewers in the 100 Greatest… series of polls. The first moon landings topped the poll in this one.

Back to the top

Penguin Books TV Companion to Cult TV

Year of award: 2001

TV critic Jeff Evans compiled a list of the top twenty cult TV shows of all time for the first edition of the above book. Fawlty Towers was given the number two slot, beaten for first by Doctor Who.

Asked about the definition of "cult" television, Evans told the Daily Mail, "It is hard to define a cult but it is more than just getting good viewing figures. Cults engender a devoted following and go beyond mere popularity."