John Cleese is set to reboot the much-loved comedy series Fawlty Towers.
The actor and writer will join with his daughter Camilla Cleese, with the pair both set to write and star. The new series will “explore how Cleese’s over-the-top, cynical and misanthropic Basil Fawlty navigates the modern world”, according to early information, with the plot focusing on his relationship with his daughter as they manage a boutique hotel together.
The Cleeses are working with filmmaker Rob Reiner and his team at Castle Rock. John Cleese called a first meeting there “one of the best creative sessions I can remember”.
Reiner, who is also working on a sequel to This is Spinal Tap, said: “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”
The original series ran for two six-episode seasons and is viewed as one of the most defining TV comedies of all time. In 2019, it was named one of the greatest British sitcoms ever in a Radio Times poll. It followed the staff at an English seaside hotel as they found themselves in farcical situations.
The show was remade in the US three times – in 1979 as Chateau Snavely, in 1983 as Amanda’s, and in 1999 as Payne – but all failed. In 2009, John Cleese said that there would never be another episode of the show.
“I think everyone would be excited if we did it [a new series],” he said. “The problem is, when you do something generally accepted as being very good, a horrible problem arises: how do you top it? The expectation of what you will do is so high.”
In 2022, Cleese signed up to become a presenter for rightwing TV channel GB News, complaining that “cancel culture” has stopped him from being on screen. The 83-year-old refers to himself as “an old-fashioned liberal”.
Camilla Cleese has been also working as a comedian and actor in Los Angeles.