Fawlty Towers

Season 2 Episode 4

The Kipper and the Corpse

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Mar 12, 1979 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
87 votes

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Episode Summary

When a guest dies during the night, Basil thinks it was the kippers he had for breakfast (which should have been thrown out weeks ago) that killed him. Basil attempts to conceal both the body and the extremely fishy breakfast. Meanwhile, Polly and Manuel try to get revenge on a disagreeable woman who demands the best service for her dog.moreless

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  • cool

    Unknown to Basil, a guest dies in the night and he tries to serve him breakfast anyway but thinks the guest has died because of a dodgy kipper and when the dctor comes tries all he can to hide the innocent kipper and doesnt believe polly when she says hes been dead for hours because he is in a big panic and an obnoxious woman insists on service for her dog whio also becomes ill so basil runs for it.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • This is the only time either Miss Gatsby or Miss Tibbs plays a part in the storyline.

    • The dead Mr. Leeman is put in laundry basket with the number four written on the top. Basil, Manuel and Polly take this basket upstairs, but run into guests carrying while Leeman's dead body, they then rush downstairs with the corpse, leaving the basket behind. The next shot shows them coming down into the lobby, where the same basket (with number four on it) now sits. The basket managed somehow to get down the stairs itself in front of Polly, Manuel, Basil and the corpse.

    • The couple leaves the bar before Basil, yet he somehow manages to overtake them by the time they reach reception.

    • Watch Basil's arm as he is saying he might get a few hours sleep. He raises his arm to look at his watch and when it switches to a different view it is at his side again.

    • Time Index : 13:26 - When Polly is ringing the Undertaker the microphone is visible on the right side of the screen

    • Time Index: 21:14 - A lighting error reveals the shadow of the boom microphone on the wall of the back office when Miss Tibbs faints.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Basil: Well, I mean it does actually say "Hotel" outside, you know. Perhaps I should be more specific. "Hotel for people who have a better than fifty per cent chance of making it through the night".

    • Dr. Price: Do you mean to tell me you didnt realize this man was dead?
      Fawlty (shouting): People dont talk that much in the morning... Well look, Im just delivering a tray, right? If the guest isnt singing, Oh What A Beautiful Morning. I dont immediately think: Oh theres another snuffed it in the night. Another name in the Fawlty Towers Book of Remembrance. I mean this is a Hotel, not a Burma Railway. I mean it does actually say HOTEL outside, you know. Perhaps it should be more specific. Hotel for people who have more than a fifty percent chance of making it in the night. What are you..what are you looking at like that for?
      (Sybil walks over, pulls Basil asside)
      Sybil: Basil... theres a Kipper sticking out of your jacket.
      Basil: Oh.. There it is. I was looking for that. Thats the other one.

    • Basil (shouting) : If the guest isn't singing Oh What A Beautiful Morning I don't think "Oh great there's another one popped it in the night.

    • The Ladies: Ooh, you're careful today Mr. Fawlty!
      Basil (happily): Yes, well one of our guests has just died.

    • Sybil: Oh, do get a move on! We've got a busy day. I've got the laundrymen coming.
      Basil: The laundrymen?! My God! A woman's work is never delegated, is it.

  • NOTES (5)

    • "The Kipper and the Corpse" was the result of a conversation between John Cleese and a friend of his called Andrew Leeman who worked at the Savoy Hotel in London. When John asked what the worst part of running a hotel was, Mr Leeman replied the people who die in the night and getting them out quietly. John was inspired to write an episode featuring just such a scenario, as a tribute to his friend he named the fictional guest who dies in his sleep Mr Leeman.

    • Andrew Sachs has named the scene where Dr. Price comes for breakfast as Manuel is cleaning up as his favourite of the series.

    • Geoffrey Palmer (Dr. Price) would later have small parts in the movies "Clockwise" and "A Fish Called Wanda", both of which starred John Cleese.

    • 'The Kipper and the Corpse' was nominated as the BBCs entry for the Golden Rose of Montreux, in 1979. It failed to pick up an award, but John Cleese did not go away empty handed for his short film 'Norway Land of the Giants' won an award.

    • Opening scene sign: FATTY OWLS


    • Basil: (shouting) If the guest isn't singing Oh What A Beautiful Morning I don't think "Oh great there's another one popped it in the night.

      Oh What A Beautiful Morning is the opening song from the musical Oklahoma! and was written by Oscar Hammerstein II.