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The Hotel That Inspired Fatty Owls … No … Watery Fowls … No ... Fawlty Towers Will Be Demolished


Sad news for fans of John Cleese’s virtuoso sitcom Fawlty Towers: According to the Guardian, Gleneagles, the seaside Torquay hotel that inspired the show, will be demolished and replaced with retirement flats. As the story goes, Cleese and the Monty Python gang stayed at the hotel in the early 1970s while filming Flying Circus; the hotel’s owner, Donald Sinclair, was so misanthropic that Cleese described him as “the rudest man I’ve ever come across in my life.” (Sinclair’s many indiscretions included stealing Eric Idle’s briefcase and hiding it by a garden wall, because of the suspicion it contained a bomb, and disparaging Terry Gilliam’s table manners.) The Pythons decamped to another hotel out of frustration, but Cleese and Connie Booth, his wife and writing partner at the time, decided to stay, believing there might be something intriguing enough to translate onto the small screen.

Sure, Gleneagles might not be the sexiest hotel we’ve laid eyes on, but without it, there would be no Fawlty Towers. And with no Fawlty Towers, we wouldn’t have one of the most critically acclaimed television comedies of all time. So with that, we give you a proper 21-gun salute, Gleneagles Hotel. Long may your legacy reign. (Just don’t mention the war.)

Fawlty Towers Hotel Inspiration to Be Demolished