Communication Problems: Fawlty Towers: Season 2:
Communication Problems SYNOPSIS:
Mrs.Richards arrives at Fawlty Towers, a guest who complains and makes demands to any one who will listen to her providing they shout or she turns on her hearing aid. Polly manages to fob her off onto Manuel who confuses her entirely. She further raises Basil's ire when complaining about her room.
A guest gives Basil a tip on the horses but and despite his promise to Sybil never to bet again, he places a bet getting Manuel to put the money on the horse for him. It wins and Sybil spots Polly counting the cash Manuel had given Polly to pass onto Basil. Unfortunately the impossible Mrs. Richards is convinced someone has stolen seventy five pounds from her room.
Basil hides the winnings with the Major and unfortunately doesn't get to Polly in time to tell her Sybil saw Polly counting his race winnings. Using bizarre sign language he manages to get Polly to pretend she won money on the horse tip. Sybil is unconvinced of Basil's non involvement but they have to band together to convince Mrs. Richards not to call the police about her stolen money.
The next morning, the forgetful Major accidentally produces the horse winnings in front of Sybil and Mrs. Richards and they take it believing it to be the stolen money. Despite having a near breakdown, fortune smiles on Basil when a delivery man drops off a vase Mrs. Richards bought the day before and gives him ninety five pounds Mrs. Richards had left behind at his store.
Unable to convince Mrs. Richards the money she has been handed is in fact his horse winnings Basil decides to keep her cash that has an extra ten pounds in it for him but things quickly reverse when the Major reveals to everyone the found money must be the cash Basil won at the horse races.
Communication Problems 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
Mrs Richards - Joan Sanderson
Mr Thurston - Robert Lankesheer
Mr Firkins - Johnny Shannon
Mr Mackintosh - Bill Bradley
Mr Kerr - George Lee
Mr Yardley - Mervyn Pascoe
Writers - John Cleese & Connie Booth
Director - Bob Spiers
Producer - Douglas Argent
Communication Problems REVIEWS:
Communication Problems has to be my favorite Fawlty Towers episode out of the lot. Yeah the Germans has the moose falling down the silly walks, the insults to German guests, Basil the rat has them chasing a rat around but this season opener is the gem of the bunch. Yes it's a simple premise, Basil places a horse bet despite being not allowed to do so by his commandant wife Sybil and is forced into a number of tricky spots trying to keep the truth from her when the horse wins.
But just to throw icing on the sitcom cake in Communication Problems we have the world's most impossible guest, Mrs. Richards. A stuffy, upper class, complaining, nasty and rude old woman (she'd have to be a widow wouldn't she?) who is almost deaf without her hearing aid. Finally the perfect match to the world's rudest hotel owner. Thing is Basil's wit would whittle her down to size except for the fact his insults bounce off her thanks to her near deafness. It adds so much more to what could have been a standard; "Sybil-gets-angry-at-Basil-for-something-he's-done-that-he-tries-to-cover-with-shithouse-lies".
Communication Problems is a great introduction to the Basil and Sybil relationship for those who hadn't seen the show before and the simple hide the betting wins from the wife premise goes through so many twist and turns thanks to Mrs. Richards also losing money that it's not surprising each of the shows scripts took nearly six weeks to write and virtually gave John Cleese a nervous breakdown by the end of the first series.
Every one of the main characters is given a decent serve in the plot, Manuel whose English has advanced by not as much as expected has some great set pieces with Basil including the line basil coached him on used at the wrong time "I know nothing".
Polly has a great role again attempting to protect her boss from his wife's wrath the Major has meatier role in the actual plot instead of being a bystander for once and Sybil is coolness hiding fury at Basil. Even cooler toward him than in season 1.
The treat is seeing any one or combination of them be it Polly and Basil, Sybil and Manuel or Sybil and Basil uniting together to try and placate the angry and deaf Mrs. Richards who wrongly believes she has had her money stolen from her room at what she sees as a shabby little hotel. Which sort of mirrors the view Basil usually reserves for many of his guests. The way the two plots intertwine at the end is genius writing and deserves it's place at the top of the Fawtly Towers ladder am giving it 10/10
Return from Communication Problems to Fawlty Towers
Return to the Old TV Shows home page