Fawlty Towers to return with John Cleese starring

John Cleese holding a broomstick in Fawlty Towers
John Cleese in Fawlty Towers (Image credit: BBC/Allstar Picture Library Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)

More than 40 years after Fawlty Towers closed its doors for what we thought was the last time, John Cleese's classic sitcom is coming back with a modern-day revival. The show, which at one point was voted the most iconic UK comedy of all time, is getting new episodes thanks to a team that includes Cleese, Rob Reiner and Cleese's daughter, Camilla.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new Fawlty Towers is going to explore how Basil Fawlty navigates the modern world, while also teaming up with the daughter he recently learned he had to run a boutique hotel. Cleese is going to reprise his role as Basil Fawlty, with Camila Cleese playing Basil's long-lost daughter.

The pair also worked with Matthew George (A Private War) to develop the show. Rob Reiner is involved as an executive producer through his company Castle Rock Television, along with Michele Reiner and Derrick Rossi.

For anyone who needs a refresher, Fawlty Towers ran for two six-episode seasons, with season 1 airing in 1975 and season 2 arriving four years later in 1979. The show focused on the cynical, misanthropic Basil Fawlty as he tried to manage his hotel and try not to be driven crazy by his staff and guests.

While its run was brief, its impact was massive. The British Film Institute ranked it No. 1 in their 2000 list of 100 Greatest British Television Programs.

"I'm obsessed with Fawlty Towers and the legendary characters he [Cleese] created," said George. "I've watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count. I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true."

Cleese, who in addition to Fawlty Towers is best known for his time as part of the Monty Python comedy troupe and in movies like A Fish Called Wanda, has come under some fire in recent years as he has argued against cancel culture. That argument has even come up with Fawlty Towers, as the comedian blasted the removal of an episode of the show from a UKTV box set in 2020 (the episode was eventually reinstated).

The Fawlty Towers revival is still in development and at this time we don't actually know where it is going to air in the UK or the US, or when. Fawlty Tower's original run was aired on the BBC.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.