Fawlty Towers

Season 2 Episode 1

Communication Problems

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Feb 19, 1979 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
95 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The disgreeable and hard - of - hearing Mrs. Richards drives Basil crazy with her complaining especially when a large amount of money is stolen from her room. Basil also must hide his winnings from betting on a horse from his wife.

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  • very well written

    A slightly deaf woman named Mrs Richards insists that she has had a large amount of money stolen at the hotel, and blames it on falwty for stealing it she also becomes the worst guest when she complains about everything and against Sybil's wishes Basil puts a fiver on Dragonfly a race horse.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • It's revealed in this episode that Basil is from Swanage (a town on the South coast of England, East of Torquay).

    • This is the first appearence of Terry the chef.

    • Right after Basil says "The radio works, you don't", Mrs Richards says "What?" but her lips are completely out of sync.

    • When Sybil asks Basil what they should do, referring to Mrs Richards' missing money, Basil replies "Give it another fifteen years?". This is the first proper indication of how long Basil and Sybil have been married.

    • At one point, Polly says to Mrs. Richards that she doesn't use her brain as "it wears the batteries down". This is a clear reference to an earlier scene in which Mrs. Richards said the same thing about her hearing aid. However, Polly wasn't there to hear her say it, so she couldn't refer to something she knew nothing about.

    • When Basil is explaining to Polly that Mrs. Richards's money is ten pounds up on the deal, a crew member is seen briefly scuttling about on the office floor behind him, they bump the office door causing it to move a little behind Basil.

    • When Mrs. Richards says "I'm not listening to anymore of this rubbish..." and walks into the dining room, the shadow of a boom mike and other equipment is visible above the dining room door.

    • Just after Mrs Richards realises her money is short, she announces "I am going to finish my breakfast and when I come back I want the rest of my money." Immediately after this, the delivery man arrives with Mrs Richards' vase. He comes in and says "Good afternoon Mr Fawlty". Why is Mrs Richards having breakfast in the afternoon?

    • John Cleese lives up to his self-promotion as the "worst singer in Europe." Basil starts singing Camptown Ladies way off-key.

    • When Basil grabs the charity collection box for the "Whip-round", Sybil throws the cup of coffee over him to make him stop creating a fuss. But watch carefully as she throws the contents of the cup, Basil gets splashed, but the Major gets the majority of it over him. Watch closely, it is very funny. Through the rest of the scene the Major has to act covered in coffee!

    • Look at the beginning shots of the reception desk when Polly is talking to the customer and Mrs Richards and watch the layout of papers on the desk in each frame. !!!!

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Mrs Richards: Didn't God give you eyes?
      Polly: Yes, but I don't use them 'cos it wears the batteries out.

    • Mrs Richards: I asked for a room with a view!
      Basil: [muttering to Manuel] Deaf, mad, and blind...
      [He goes to the window and peers through it.]
      Basil: Ah, this is the view as far as I can remember, madam... yes, yes, this is it.
      Mrs Richards: When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
      Basil: That is Torquay, madam.
      Mrs Richards: Well, it's not good enough.
      Basil: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? The Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeasts sweeping majestically—
      Mrs Richards: Don't be silly! I expect to be able to see the sea.
      Basil: You can see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky.
      Mrs Richards: I'd need a telescope to see that.
      Basil: Well, may I suggest that you consider moving to a hotel closer to the sea?! [muttering] Or preferably in it.

    • Basil: A satisfied customer. We should have him stuffed.

    • Sybil: You seem very jolly.
      Basil: Jolly?
      Sybil: Yes, jolly. Sort of happy.
      Basil: Oh, 'happy'. Yes, I remember that

    • Sybil: If I find out the money on that horse was yours, you know what I'll do, Basil.
      Basil: You'll have to sew 'em back on first!

    • Basil: There is your bath.
      Mrs Richards: You call that a bath? It's not big enough to drown a mouse. It's disgraceful.
      Basil: I wish you were a mouse, I'd show you.

    • Mrs Richards: I expect a reduction [in my hotel bill].
      Basil: Why? Because Krakatoa isn't erupting at the moment?
      Mrs Richards: Because the room is cold, the bath is too small, the view is invisible, and the radio doesn't work.
      Basil (not as loud): No, the radio works. You don't.

    • Manuel: You see, I know nothing.
      Basil: I'm going to sell you to a vivisectionist.

  • NOTES (5)


    • Basil: I can't stand that Frank Sinatra...

      Frank Sinatra was a hugely popular American singer and actor, he is best known for his crooning voice.