Fawlty Towers

Season 2 Episode 5

The Anniversary

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Mar 26, 1979 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
88 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

It's Basil and Sybil's anniversary and Basil has to fake his wife's illness to his friends when she storms out of the hotel and enlists Polly's help to keep up the act. Also the cook Terry and Manuel can't seem to agree on the proper way to cook paella.moreless

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  • GodI miss comedy this funny! Its hard to compare John Cleese to any present day comics because he is justso fabulous and has teh greatest timing! Whata great show.

    It\'s Sybil and Basil\'s 15th wedding anniversary and Basil has arranged a surprise party and invited all their friends. In the meantime he swans around pretending he has forgotten which ultimately leads to Sybil driving off in a huff before Basil can explain he hasn\'t forgotten at all. The guests start to arrive but Sybil has gone so Polly is persuaded to pretend to be Sybil, Basil tells them Sybil is ill in bed. The plan might have worked but the guests insist on popping their heads round the door to say hello. Will they notice?

    Enter one very annoyed looking Sybil who tells Polly that Basil has forgotten the anniversary…or has he? Enter one very smug looking Basil; Sybil excepted, it is obvious to everyone including the viewer that Basil hasn\'t forgotten but is merely stringing Sybil along for his own twisted amusement. His blatant sarcasm and manner are a dead giveaway, except to Sybil, who gets even more annoyed when a simple \"Do you know what day it is today, Basil?\" leads to more heavy sarcasm from Basil — he is enjoying this!moreless
  • awesome

    Sybil leaves before Basil's surprise anniversary party thibking that once again he has forgotton there anniversary and Basil spends the evening trying to convince their friends she's ill not wanting to admit she has left him but when they persist and want to see her he makes polly dress up and be sybil but ill
  • Weak effort!

    Thought I'd catch up on these 'Fawlty Towers' episodes that were being repeated on Channel 7 in Australia on Satarday nights for some comedic nostaglia with John Cleese. Well did this one miss the mark or what! Nothing really happened! And the main story, revolving around Basil seemingly forgetting their wedding anniversary, Sybil taking off, and Basil trying to convince his invited guests (he didn't forget but planned a surprise party [out of character for Basil?]) that she is still around and dresses Polly up in bed to immitate her! This was a seriously unfunny episode and was painful to watch. What was this doing on prime time!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • It is revealed in this episode that Basil and Sybil's wedding anniversary is on the 17th of April.

    • Basil and Sybil's bedroom looks nothing like it did back in "The Wedding Party".

    • This is the only episode where Manuel doesn't utter his catchphrase "que?".

    • This episode contains the only onscreen appearence of Sybil's frequently mentioned friend Audrey.

    • This is the only time the anagram of "Fawlty Towers" uses up every letter.

    • Towards the end of the episode, when Polly lashes out at Virginia to stop her uncovering her disguise, she apparently hits her in her left eye. But when Virginia comes downstairs with the other guests, she seems to be nursing her nose rather than her eye.

    • In several episodes, for example "The Anniversary", we see a sign saying "Wooburn Grange Country Club" above the front driveway to Fawlty Towers. Wooburn Grange Country Club was the building filmed for the exterior of Fawlty Towers, it would seem the director forgot to remove this giant sign before filming.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Basil: Oh, can't complain. Well, I could, but it wouldn't do any good. Would it?

    • Basil: They're here, they're here! What do I say? ... What am I going to say?
      Polly: Oh ... say she's ... er...um...
      Basil: She's 'er, um' ... oh, brilliant! Problem solved. She's 'er, um'.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The actor who was originally supposed to play Roger was Julian Holloway but Ken Campbell appeared as Roger in the final filming. A strike which halted filming for one week ruled out Julian Holloway who had a prior commitment.

    • Opening scene sign: FLOWERY TWATS


    • Polly: (re: Basil's plan to dress her up as Sybil) You want to be in a Marx Brothers film, that's your problem. I'm not interested.

      Polly is referring to the famous "mirror" sequence in the Marx Brothers' 1933 film Duck Soup, in which Harpo and Chico both end up disguising themselves as Groucho's character.