Fawlty Towers

Season 1 Episode 4

The Hotel Inspectors

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

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Episode Summary

Basil is fearful when hotel inspectors are rumoured to be in his hotel and goes out of his way to fawn over an assumed inspector.

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  • Hotel Inspectors is arguably the funniest episode of the hit British TV series; Fawlty Towers.

    In it; There is rumour of a hotel inspector in Fawlty Towers and Basil is lead to believe that it's the incredibly fussy Mr. Hutchinson (Bernard Cribbins) and he must make up for his previous rudeness with unflappable fawning but when suspicions arise that the abrupt Mr. Walt (James Cossins) is the inspector Basil finds himself in a difficult position. Not much can be said about the plot without spoiling it but long story short it's very unpredictable and hilarious. This episode is timed to perfection unlike others that move too fast and some that move too slow; this one is shown in real time and every second is classic.

    If you ask 10 people what the funniest part of the episode is you'll get 10 different answers as there're plenty of side - splitting gags, most of them involve Mr. Hutchinson either annoying Basil or being annoyed by Basil but any scene with the manic Basil Fawlty and the awkward Mr. Walt like the wine bottle scene and the bit at the end deserve special mention. Bernarnd Cribbins as Mr. Hutchinson steals the show with a humorous and believable performance; the Director John Howard Davies stated in the commentary that he would've preferred a serious actor for that role but with James Cossins playing the deadpan Mr. Walt so acutely, another actor of the same genre would've effected the hilariousness of the episode. John Cleese can go from aggressive to pompous to sycophantic at the drop of a hat and this episode explores all 3 of those traits; his domineering wife and bewildered Spanish Porter Manual are given generous appearences; all in all the acting is first - rate. If the charming cheapness of the show appeals to you then rejoice as there are plenty of boom mics visible, cameraman reflections and 2D sets but none of these compare to the most stilted fight scene since WWF starring Basil Fawlty and Mr. Hutchinson, let's get ready to rumble!

    This episode is one of the finest from Season 1 if not the series, a must - see for everyone.moreless
  • Basil as much of a hypocrit as ever.

    This episode is my personal favourite of the whole series. As always John Cleese is in fine form as Torquay hotel manager Basil Fawlty.

    Rumour has it three hotel inspectors are in town. Basil is immediately on the defensive looking at every new arrival as a potential threat to his "well" run establishment. The episode shows at what lows Basil will swoop to get his way. Every person suspect of being an inspector he treats like a king, whilst every one gets his usual unpleasantness.

    The evolution of his exchanges with a client named Mr. Hutchinson are the classic example. When it turns out he is in fact a spoon salesman, Basil almost kicks him out for having misled him when it was of course totally the hotel manager's assumption.

    All in all a hilarious episode of a brilliant series.moreless
  • well funny

    Some inspectors are in town and Basil gets paranoid, so he alternately fawns over and offends his guests. But when he believes he has found out who the holtel inspecter is he sucks up to him and allows him to do what he wants unfortunatly he later finds out hes been tracking the wrong person this episode is extremley funny and a classic.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Mr Hutchinson: All I wanted was a cheese salad, it's not like I ordered and elephant sitting on a bun!

    • Basil Fawlty: Pens? Looks more like "Ben's" to me.
      Sybil Fawlty: Well, when Ben comes, you can give it to him.

    • Sybil: Don't shout at me. I've had a difficult morning.
      Basil: Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your eclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn't have time to perm your ears?

    • Mr Hutchinson: How do you do?
      Polly: How do you do?
      Mr Hutchinson: Wait a minute, we've met before I think.
      Polly: Yes, I served you at breakfast.
      Mr Hutchinson: Oh yes, and you spilled the grapefruit juice didn't you, you naughty girl?
      Polly: And you moved the glass, didn't you?

    • Basil: I would find it a bit easier to cope with some of the cretins we get in here, my little nest of vipers, if I got just a smidgen of co-operation from you.
      Sybil: Co-operation? That's a laugh. The day you co-operate, you'll be in a wooden box. I've never heard such rudeness.

    • Basil: And what can I do for you three gentlemen?
      (Looks at the men, realizing they're the REAL Hotel Inspectors!)

  • NOTES (3)