The Builders SYNOPSIS:
Builders are arriving to fix some doorways and Polly is left to supervise while Basil and Sybil treat themselves to a weekend away. However Basil has swapped builders behind Sybil's back from her choice of Mr. Stubbs for cheap fix-it man O'Reilly . The Irish builders arrive with Manuel in charge while Polly is sleeping.
Basil returns Sunday morning to find the job botched as the dining room is now blocked off. He has four hours to get it fixed before Sybil arrives back from golf. He drags O'Reilly over to fix the damage but Sybil unexpectedly returns early and despite Basil and Polly attempts at feigning that builder Stubbs had done the work both they and O'Reilly suffer Sybil's temper.
Once she departs Basil decides to get back at her by helping O'Reilly fix both doorways before Sybil returns on Monday with her builder Stubbs to fix the shoddy work. Basil succeeds in embarrassing Sybil until Stubbs informs him O'Reilly has used inferior building materials. Basil avoids Sybil's outburst by heading off to remonstrate with O'Reilly armed with a garden gnome
The Builders CAST & CREW
Basil Fawlty: John Cleese
Sybil Fawlty: Prunella Scales
Manuel: Andrew Sachs
Polly Sherman: Connie Booth
Major Gowen: Ballard Berkeley
Miss Tibbs: Gilly Flower
Miss Gatsby: Renee Roberts
Mr. O'Reilly - David Kelly
Mr. Stubbs - James Appleby
Delivery Man - George Lee
Lurphy - Michael Cronin
Jones - Michael Halsey
Kerr - Barney Dorman
Writers - John Cleese & Connie Booth
Director - John Howard Davies
Producer - John Howard Davies
The Builders REVIEWS
The Builders is great as unlike the premier, it doesn't need a whole episode to introduce the hotel, it's staff, regular guests and get the audience used to the complex character of Basil Fawlty. The first episode needed to ensure it's success by mainly focussing on Basil and ridiculous and stuffy way of treating people at the opposing ends of the class structure. But I'll stop reviewing A Touch Of Class and move onto The Builders.
Here we get to enjoy the other characters a bit more than just having them spout throw away lines. They all develop a bit more to compliment Basil Fawlty. The Builders also explores how the pivotal relationship between Basil and Sybil works. We already see she rules the roost but haven't seen just why she does. The whole episode is built around Sybil. Why it's not wise to piss her off and here we see for the only time what happens when she loses her temper and it is quite frightening.
Frightening enough that Polly attempts to help cover Basil's lies about it being Stubbs who did the shoddy work with a fake phone call. this being the first instance where we see her trying to help Mr. Fawlty out of a jam that she partly responsible for so she has plenty to do in this one. She's also looking more glamorous. Manuel gets a chance to shine having grasped a bit of English by now he likes being left in charge by Polly despite having no idea of what to do.
David Kelly is perfect as O' Reilly, the lazy and incompetent Irish builder who is must be the only man in the entire series to stand up to Sybil; "I like a woman with spirit" he says confidently before she batters him to the ground with a golf umbrella. Think he went on to play another incompetent on armed Irish dishwasher in Robin's Nest?
Prunella Scales is great as Sybil. Her character coming to the fore greatly. She seems competent and capable but also unreasonably nasty when she gets her gander up. Apparently she even took actor David Kelly by surprise and gave a him a nasty few bruises in the actual take. You really can't help but feel sympathy for Basil as she starts trying to chuck heavy objects at him in temper. But it's this sort of behavior that got the episode as playing with stereotypes such as the shrill and unreasonable housewife, the shoddy Irish builder and dumb foreign waiter left in charge. Maybe this is why we don't get to see Sybil's temper again?
Seems to also be the first time we see more of Basil's regular traits, resorting to his old 'war wound' when in a fix and having at least a couple of panic attacks. Despite the critics finding too many cliches in this one I'm going to give it a good score if only for the brilliant pay off line:" I'm off to see Mr. O'reilly dear"