Fawlty Towers

Season 1 Episode 6

The Germans

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Oct 24, 1975 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
137 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Sybil goes into the hospital for toe surgery, leaving Basil to cope with a fire drill single-handed. After a couple of blows on the head, Basil tells some German guests where Germany went wrong in WWII.

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  • Germans Invade Fawlty Towers.

    Of all the "Fawlty towers" episodes that I love, the one episode "The Germans" is the episode I most fondly remember of the series. the series was well-written and well-acted. In between the fire drills and the visiting Germans, there's not a moment of quite in the show. I couldn't stop laughting. It was a riot. I can't believe the things they done in this episode. The best moment is the arguement between John Cleese and the visiting Germans on who really started World War Two. And the fire drill is whacked. See Cheese inpersonated a German is very funny indeed.moreless
  • Easily the best Fawlty Towers ever!

    If you want a great example as to why Fawlty Towers is a hilarious comedy, you simply cannot pass The Germans...

    This is classic, quite easily the greatest one ever made...It had some many \"moments\" and great lines I quote from and still find hilarious to this day...

    The fire drill was hilarious, with all the miss communication going on when everyone thought that the burglar alarm that went off was really the fire alarm warning them of the fire drill there were supposed to be happening...

    It was hilarious to watch Basil struggle to explain to them what was really going on and in the end eventually give up and yell \"I don\'t know why we bother we should let you all burn!\" Haha, hilarious stuff...

    And the argument he was having with the Germans about the war. How after being told by one of the Germans to stop mentioning the war he says \"You started it\" and the German replies \"We did not\" and Basil comes back with that classic line \"Yes you did you invaded Poland\" that gets me every time...

    Any fan of comedy, would love this show and would definetly love this episode...And I would strongly recommend that you watch it whether you\'re a fan of the show or not...You\'ll love it!

  • "Will you stop talking about the war!" "You started it!" "No we didn't!" "Yes you did, you invaded poland!"

    This episode whilst being controvertial is in my opinion the best episode of the series. A pure british comedy gem. While it was a bit of a cheap shot at our european neighbours it touched on a prominant feature of post war resentment. However making jokes out of such things took away from their seriousness and importance. John Cleese is at his prime goose stepping about the place with his freakishly long limbs. The scene with Manuel behind the stuffed moose talking to the major is hilarious as well. The best bit of this episode is when he is taking 'orders' from the germans in the dining room. "Orders please, which must be obeyed at all times!!" Fawlty yells.

    Comedy Gold.moreless
  • Easily the best ever episode of John Cleese's classically funny and quintessentially British 1975-1979 comedy.

    At the time of the episode's writing, filming and screening, there was still bad feeling between many World War Two veterans and any Germans they happened to meet, so this episode was particularly funny to British audiences, although that's not to say people from other countries wouldn\\\'t find it hilarious. Except perhaps the Germans themselves. The iconic "funny walk" that John Cleese, as crazed hotelier Basil Fawlty, executes has gone down in pop culture history, along with his food order mix-up of "prawn Goebbels" and his defiant reply to an angry German customer who wants him to stop referring to WWII -

    GERMAN: Will you just stop talking about the war?!

    BASIL: Well you started it!

    GERMAN: We did not start it!

    BASIL: Yes you did, you invaded Poland! Such an excellent episode as it is, it makes me proud to be British.moreless
  • so funny its unreal

    Sybil goes into the hospital for toe surgery, leaving Basil to cope with a fire drill single-handed. Thinking he cant cope she constanly phones up to check on him. So when the real drill happens he sustains a blow to the head and to ends up in hospital but worried abut his hotel he escapes and half consiously runs it not with a fall set of marbles so when some Germans come to stay he trys his best not to mention the war but thats all he talks about:D and then he accidently tells them where they went wrong oh dear!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Basil: I thought there was a dog in here.
      Sister: Oh no, no dogs in here.
      Basil: (Looking at her) I wouldn't bet on it.

    • Manuel: (speaking from beneath the desk so it appears that the moose head is talking)How are you, sir? I can speak English. (rising) Ah, hello Major, how are you today? (disappears beneath desk)
      Major: (shocked)W-w-w-w-w-w, I-I-I-I I'm fine, thank you.
      Manuel: It's a beautiful day today!
      Major: Is it? Oh, yes yes, I suppose it is.
      Manuel: Yes. I can speak English. I learned it from a book.
      Major: Did you? Did you really?

    • (after explaining to everyone about the fire drill moments away)

      Basil: Splendid, we will have the fire drill which will commence in exactly 30 seconds from now. Thank you.

      (Everyone stands still)

      Basil: What are you doing? Are you just going to stand there?

      Mr. Sharp: Well, what do you suggest?

      Basil: Well, couldn't a few of you go into the bar or dining room... I mean, use your imagination?

      Mr. Sharp: Why?

      Basil: This is supposed to be a fire drill.

      Mr. Sharp: There's only a few seconds.

      Basil: ...Right. Well, obviously if there was a fire you would all be standing down here like this, right here in the lobby. Wouldn't you? I don't know why we bother. We should let you all burn.

    • Basil: (Yelling in hospital.) What's the bloody point of having a fire extinguisher? It's there for bloody months and when you need it in a actual emergency, it just bloody blows your head off!

    • Basil: Don't touch me! I don't know where you've been.

    • Younger Herr: May we have two eggs mayonnaises, please?
      [Basil]: Certainly! Why not, why not indeed? We are all friends now, eh?
      Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail.
      Basil: All in the Market together, old differences forgotten, and no need at all to mention the war … SORRY! Sorry. What was it again?
      Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail.
      Basil: Oh, prawn! That was it! When you said "prawn", I thought you said "war". Oh, y— Oh, the war! Oh, yes, completely slipped my mind! Yes, I'd forgotten all about it. Hitler, Himmler, and all that lot… Oh, yes, completely forgotten it, just like that.
      [He looks around for a moment in confusion.]
      Basil: Sorry. What was it again?
      Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail!
      Basil: Oh, yes, Eva Prawn. Yes, of course. And Goebbels too, he's another one I can hardly remember at all.
      Younger Herr: And ein pickled herring!
      Basil: Hermann Goering, yes, yes, and, uh, von Ribbentrop, that was another one.
      Elder Herr: And four cold meat salads, please.
      Basil: Certainly. Well, I'll just get your hors d'oeuvres… hors d'oeuvres vich must be obeyed at all times vithout qvestion! Sorry! Sorry!
      [Polly enters the dining room.]
      Polly: Mr Fawlty, will you please call your wife immediately?
      [Basil looks around frantically.]
      Basil: Sybil? Sybi— She's in the hospital, you silly girl!
      Polly: Yes, call her there!
      Basil: I can't! I've got too much to do. '[whispering loudly] Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright.
      [Basil returns to the Germans.]
      Basil: So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads.
      [The younger Frau is sobbing openly now, consoled by the elder Herr.]
      Basil: Now, wait a minute. Well, I got a bit confused here. Sorry! I got a bit confused, 'cause everyone keeps mention the war. So, could you— what's the matter?
      Elder Herr: It's all right.
      Basil: Is there something wrong?
      Elder Herr: Will you stop talking about the war?!
      Basil: ME?! You started it!
      Elder Herr: We did not start it!
      Basil: Yes you did — you invaded Poland!

    • German: Will you stop talking about the war!
      Basil: Me? You started it!
      German: We did not start it.
      Basil: Yes you did, you invaded Poland...

    • Basil: Oh yes, in the bag. You let me do lt. You just lie there with your feet up and I'll go and carry you up another hundredweight of lime creams... [he hands her the book]
      Sybil: I'm actually about to undergo an operation, Basil.
      Basil: Oh yes, how is the old toe-nail? Still growing in, hmmmm? Still burrowing its way down into the bone? Still macheting its way through the nerve, eh? Nasty old nail.
      Sybil: It's still hurting, if that's what you mean, Basil.
      Basil: Well, it'll be out in the morning, poor little devil. I wonder if they'd mount it for me, just for old time's sake?
      Sybil: I'm sure it's worth asking. You could hang it on the wall next to the moose. They'd go rather well together.
      Basil: Ha ha ha.

    • German man: Entschuldigen Sie, bitte, können Sie Deutsch sprechen?
      Basil: I'm sorry, could you say that again?
      German lady: You speak German?
      Basil: Oh, German! I'm sorry, I thought there was something wrong with you. Of course, the Germans!

    • Basil: Yes, Fawlty Towers, yes, hello? ... I was just doing it, you stupid woman. I just put it down to come here to be reminded by you to do what I'm already doing! I mean what's the point of reminding me to do what I'm already doing. I mean what is the bloody point?! I'm doing it, aren't I!?

    • Basil: Right, right!! Just stay where you are, because obviously if there was a fire you'd all be standing around here like this in the lobby, wouldn't you?...I don't know why we bother, we should let you all burn...

    • Basil (after goose-stepping): I'm trying to cheer her up you stupid kraut!

    • Sister: You're still here?
      Basil (looks around): Apparently.

    • (At the hospital)
      Sister: I'll go get the doctor.
      Basil: You need a plastic surgeon dear, not a doctor.

    • Major (about Germans): Krauts! All of them!

    • Manuel (speaking through the moosehead's nose): Ooooooh, he hit me on the head...
      Major (slapping the moose's nose): No, you hit him on the head. You naughty moose!

    • German Guest: However did they win?

    • Basil: [to Polly] Don't mention the war, I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.

  • NOTES (2)

    • There is no sign for this episode, as the titles are placed on the backdrop of a hospital, this is the only episode that doesn't show the sign at the start.

    • Andrew Sachs (Manuel) actually sustained chemical burns from the scene where Manuel's sleeves caught fire.


    • Basil: "we're all part of the continent now"
      Basil is referring to the EC (precursor to the EU). Throughout the 60s the UK was kept out of the EEC/EC by the French president but political circumstances allowed it to join in 1973. In June, 1975, just a few months
      before this episode, a UK referendum was held approving the membership 2-1. Basil references this by saying he was against it, but it's all done now.