Basil and Sybil return from an outing to find a health inspector inspecting the contents of their fridges. Mr Carnegie of the Public Health Board issues them a warning notice for failing to meet health requirements and instructs them to have his prepared list of inspected defects fixed by the time he returns the next day or he will issue a writ to have Fawlty Towers closed down.
All the staff get to work and Basil goes to Manuel's room to get his help only to find the waiter is keeping a pet rat thinking that it's actually a hamster. Manuel pleads with Basil not to get rid of his pet and Polly offers to take it to her friends animal farm.
The next day the hotel has been fixed and all are prepared for Mr. Carnegie's return inspection. However unbeknown to Mr. Fawlty, Manuel's pet rat also named Basil was not taken away but was hidden by Manuel and Polly in the shed and has now escaped. Basil eventually finds out and wants it found before the health inspector arrives.
He covers a piece of veal with rat poison to kill the rodent but this gets mixed up with the other uncooked pieces and could kill a guest. Mr Carnegie finishes his inspection and decides to stay for lunch and have the veal. After the poisoned veal mix up is eventually sorted out Manuel manages to capture Basil the rat and hides him in the dry biscuit box. However Mr. Carnegie gets to the biscuit box before anyone realises where Manuel has put his pet and is confronted by Basil the rat at last.
CAST & CREW
Basil Fawlty: John Cleese Sybil Fawlty: Prunella Scales Manuel: Andrew Sachs Polly Sherman: Connie Booth Major Gowen: Ballard Berkeley Terry: Brian Hall Miss Tibbs: Gilly Flower Miss Gatsby: Renee Roberts
Guest Stars: Mr Carnegie - John Quarmby Ronald - David Neville Quentina - Sabina Franklyn Mr Taylor - James Taylor Mrs Taylor - Melody Lang Guest - Stuart Sherwin
Writers - John Cleese & Connie Booth Director - Bob Spiers Producer - Douglas Argent
Basil the rat is a great finisher for the series. It ends on a high note with the episodes I love the best, where Basil still comes up with feeble excuses and ideas but it's mainly directed at other guests thanks to a tricky situation he and the others have been out in. This time the board of health is out to get them. Not surprising they've been reported with the amount of episodes where guests complain about their food.
Anyways it's an all rounder which gives the whole cast plenty to do. Andrew Sachs is still bumbling as Manuel and is great as the centre point of the story for once. It seems Manuel's English has come a long way since the start of the show and his guitar playing. Interesting to note for a change the staff conspire to keep something from Basil, in this case Manuel and Polly pretending that Manuel's pet rat has been put down and that Basil is so easily taken in by their lie. Manuel lays on his depression extremely well and still has a soft spot for his boss naming his hamster after him.
Terry's in on it too and is the main subject of Basil's rant after the health inspector has torn through the place and labeled the kitchen unhealthy. Lastly much mention Ballad Berkely who makes a valuable contribution as the Major trying to kill a rat with a shotgun and getting kneed in the bollocks when he starts to babble on about rats in front of the inspector, His face goes very red when he gets one in the nethers wonder if Cleese actually connected?
John Quarmby is perfect as the officious but efficient Health inspector; droopy drawers is a perfect Basil descriptive insult for him and has a priceless reaction when he is finally confronted by the rat the staff are all conspiring to catch before the inevitable happens. Yeah so it's a toy rat in the biscuit box at the end but because it is somehow it makes the the whole moment funnier. David Neville as the snotty, young upper class twit guest is great too in his small part "You're getting my gander up you grotty little man".
Funny how a Fawlty Towers script brings out the best in actors, there's barely any sub standard performances in the entire series. After all the stuff ups and mix ups with a piece of rat poisoned veal the series has one last big one pay off line and it ends as incongruously as it began. But one wonders why they don't show Basil collapsing unconscious just to explain why he's being dragged off along the floor by Manuel in the end. Then again after a day like that who wouldn't collapse like that?Perfect ending so Basil The Rat is another 10/10.