The Hotel That Inspired ‘Fawlty Towers’ Is Being Demolished

As is across-the-pond tradition, Fawlty Towers aired for only 12 episodes, but it’s one of the most legendary and influential comedies in BBC history, topping the British Film Institute’s list of the best British shows of all-time. John Cleese was inspired to write the sitcom, about the titular hotel and its staff, including the Monty Python legend, after visiting a seaside lodging, Gleneagles Hotel, in Torquay. In case that wasn’t the most British sentence of all-time, how about this? Gleneagles is ending before its time.

The 41-bedroom hotel closed last year and the site is being developed by Churchill Retirement Living, which has been granted permission to build 32 retirement flats on the site.

There was a sense of melancholy in and around Torquay as the demolition teams moved in. Ray Johnson, 57, from Paignton in Devon, said: “I’m a huge fan of Fawlty Towers and am really sad to see the old Gleneagles building go. My wife and I would often visit the hotel to meet up with friends for coffee. We used to enjoy looking at the Fawlty Towers memorabilia in the reception area. It’s another piece of local history that will soon be gone forever.” (Via)

Cleese based his snobbish Basil Fawlty on the hotel’s host, Donald Sinclair, whom he once called “the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met.” For Fawlty Towers fans, the demolition of the Gleneagles is a big deal. To put it into terms Americans can understand, imagine if the McDonald’s from Mac and Me was bulldozed and replaced with a Wendy’s. The horror.

(Via the Guardian)