Wooburn Grange after the fire
Fawlty Towers destroyed :-(
If you have the DVD box set of Fawlty Towers you can find a "hidden" extra short film showing Wooburn Grange after a fire damaged the building which was used for the exterior of Fawlty Towers. It was beyond repair and was eventually demolished. Or was it? See below.
To find the clip, put the third "Extras" disk in and go to the menu screen as shown above. Select the small clip above the word "Subtitles" and play it (highlighted above in red by me in the screenshot).
The clip should start just like a regular episode of Fawlty Towers then cuts to footage of Wooburn Grange Country Club after the fire. Outside and inside shots are shown and you can recognise various parts of the hotel. The clip is accompanied by some classical music.
Polly!…what have you done to my hotel?" — Basil in The Builders
Watching this short film is an eerie experience for fans of the show.
Above: New houses being built on the site of Wooburn Grange. The house I have arrowed in red looks to be the closest to the hallowed ground.
For the benefit of those using text browsers and for those with images turned off, the above screenshot says: The Grange (Fawlty Towers) was demolished. Bought by developers after the fire in March 1991 it was soon flattened to make way for eight new houses, despite the existing planning permission for a 39 bed hotel.
Courtesy of those new satellite imagery web services, here is a picture from above of how the Wooburn Grange site looks now. The two houses which lie parallel to where the text says Wooburn Grange are I think the closest to the exact location of the former country club.
Fawlty Towers rises again from the ashes!
Fawlty fans James Walshe (above), from Kerrang Radio, and his friend Simon Hirst (below) from Galaxy Radio visited the site of Wooburn Grange in August 2009 and found to their surprise that the former country club has risen again! — not really, they cleverly "photoshopped" in an old picture of the building in the exact location where it used to stand.
More on Wooburn Grange
Apr 2011: Mike G from New Zealand has sent me the following info about Wooburn Grange.
Thought you'd like a bit more background on The Grange.
In 1973 (or '74), my sister met a Frenchman there who was recently arrived from Montpellier, having trained in catering at the famous Troisgros restaurant.
The owner at the time was French too (Corsican). He was an extravagant, Gauloises-smoking guy with an E-type Jag and seemingly loads of money.
The Casino there was leaking money and my sister's boyfriend advised the owner to close it and concentrate on the disco and restaurant. It worked.
Meanwhile I, as a naive 16-year-old, was given Saturday and Sunday morning work cleaning up the disco after the previous night's opening. This was lucrative as, not only did I get paid but the amount of money collected from the floor whilst hoovering usually doubled that. One day I was asked to clear the weeds from the side of the drive opposite the main entrance and found a roll of fifty one-pound notes. 1974, remember!!
The Frenchman married my sister and went on to huge success in the hotel industry in the Cotswolds. Curiously, they divorced and he subsequently married my ex-wife.
Hope this is of interest. The Grange brings many happy memories, even from here in New Zealand.