Other Appearances of Characters
With the popularity of Fawlty Towers recognised all over the UK and the world, it is no surprise that these well loved characters crop up from time to time – sometimes in the most unexpected of places. This page will attempt to list these appearances.
Actor, Andrew Sachs played the iconic character of Manuel in all twelve episodes of Fawlty Towers. He also cropped up from time to time in various commercials…
This first example is for “Willow” butter. In this advert, we are led to believe that the taste of Willow butter takes Andrew Sachs back in time – to when he was playing Manuel. As Manuel he tries to help a fellow diner, played by John XXXX – until he is wrestled away by the waiter. Click HERE to view on YouTube
In the 1980’s Andrew appeared in full character as Manuel in a series of adverts for the Halifax Building Society. In this one he is seen being asked various financial questions that he cannot answer – until he speaks to the friendly staff. Click HERE to view on YouTube.
In this commercial Manuel causes chaos as a hotel prepares to celebrate a wedding. They discuss insurance. He is completely covered! Click HERE to view on YouTube
To my knowledge there was at least one more commercial in this series. In this, Manuel dreams of taking over the hotel – I “seem to” remember him standing in a fairly faithful recreation of the reception set – but I could be wrong!
In this Australian commercial, Manuel is confused by the name of the wine: Carte, D’or. He brings the diners – a car door! Click HERE to view on YouTube
There is another commercial for Polycell, which was shown in New Zealand. At the moment I can’t find any footage of this.
CHILDREN IN NEED: SYBIL
By special permission of John Cleese, the character of Sybil was seen taking over “Hotel Babylon” for Children in Need in 2007. She featured alongside various other famous personalities from the 1970’s and 1980’s, including Adam Chance from Crossroads, Dorien Green from Birds of a Feather, June from Terry and June and Ted Bovis from Hi-De-Hi.
WE ARE MOST AMUSED – GALA PERFORMANCE: MANUEL AND BASIL
During this very brief sketch from 2008, “Basil” starts coughing and asks for a glass of water. It is brought on stage by Manuel. Although Manuel is definitely “in character” – it isn’t clear whether John is playing himself or Basil. Click HERE to view on Youtube
TRAINING VIDEOS – MANUEL AND BASIL
In 2007 John Cleese was persuaded to resurrect the characters of Basil and Manuel for a series of training videos made for Norwegian company, Statoil. This footage was never meant to be made publicly available, and the only visual record I can find is the following photographs…In the episodes, Basil runs an establishment known as Basil’s Brasserie, while Manuel owns a Michelin Starred Restaurant. The film is called “Basil’s Brasserie”, and it is split in six episodes. The themes are: Compliance, communication, correct prioritisation, open dialogue, mistakes and continuous risk assessment – (Sounds like a great description of Fawlty Towers!)
In 2016, the creative geniuses at Specsavers managed to convince John Cleese to resurrect the character of Basil in a light-hearted sketch / commercial for the well-known optician chain. John Cleese was interviewed as part of a behind the scenes feature and seemed genuinely pleased to be bringing Basil back one last time. It is called “Fawlty Car” and is clearly inspired by the “damn-good-thrashing” scene from “Gourmet Night” but is suitably different to still raise a few laughs. CLICK HERE to view on youtube
Andrew Sachs appeared dressed as Manuel at the BAFTA awards ceremony in 1979
Andrew Sachs appeared on TISWAS in character as Manuel, singing in 1979
Andrew Sachs appeared on “Not the nine o’clock News” as Manuel in 1979
Andrew Sachs appeared as Manuel at a “Help a London Child” celebrity lunch in 1982
Andrew Sachs appeared at an event for “Skip a lunch, save a life” for Save the children in 1992
John Cleese recorded an introduction for “Not the Nine O’Clock News” 1979
In the late 1970’s a child wrote in to Jim’ll Fix It to ask whether they could teach Manuel to learn to speak English. Actor Andrew Sachs remembers popping up to surprise the child in a hotel which had been decked out to resemble Fawlty Towers.
Gilly Flower as Miss Tibbs and Renee Roberts as Miss Gatsby appear in episodes of “Only Fools and Horses”