• Morgan Fagg

A real-life Faulty Towers

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Don’t mention the Pandemic, played on Athlone Community Radio.

If you are still waiting on a “gin and orange, a lemon squash and a scotch” then you might be surprised to learn that it has been 45 years since Faulty Towers first opened its doors and delivered those classic lines.

There have been many many memorable scenes where Basil Faulty played by John Cleese showed the warm hospitality in the chaotic hotel where he was joined by Manuel the waiter from Barcelona played by the late Andrew Sachs, Polly the receptionist and Cybil Faulty played by Prunella Scales.

In reality, John Cleese was married at the time to Connie Booth who played Polly and when she wasn’t sketching drawings behind the counter, and when Basil wasn’t writing out menus, the pair were busy writing the show.

It has been 45 years since the show first aired on the 19th of September 1975 and in that first episode, titled A Touch of Class, we see Basil Faulty being taking in by a conman pretending to be Lord Mulberry as Mr Faulty ignores the common people who actually make up his clientele.

On Saturday night, John Cleese tweeted:

"45 years later and I still haven't hung up the picture. Fawlty Towers premiered on this day in 1975. What was your favourite line?"

Whatever your favourite quote is or however you remember the show, I think I might have found a real life waiter, who knows nothings while I was visiting the touristic town of Torrevieja.

Torrevieja translates as Old Tower but it seemed more like an episode of Faulty Torrievieja as the Spanish waiter acted like he knew nothing.

While returning to Madrid by bus, I stopped at the bus station’s coffee shop in the touristy town of Torrevieja where a waiter who was not wearing a mask seemed to touch everyone and almost everything.

He quickly, moved tables and chairs, handled people’s bags, and back slapped customers who I presume he knew. The tables were packed tightly together without any signage and a waitress handed us a well-worn menu whereas every other bar and restaurant we had visited offered online menus through the use of QR codes that you had to scan with your mobile phone.

As I said, I translate Torrevieja as Old Tower but the staff acted like it was Faulty Towers and that they knew nothing about the global pandemic that had spread through-out Spain and the world.

A few feet away a security guard reminded people to queue one metre apart at the bus station’s ticket office as tourists and travellers packed the small footpath intended for passengers to use before boarding their buses.

I wasn’t worried about taking the bus originally as I had expected the buses to be almost empty but they weren’t and on the bus from Madrid, the bus driver had to pull over for half an hour to wait for the police to arrive to remind a passenger to wear his mask.

On the beach, the first day as I got badly sunburnt, I saw a topless woman putting on her mask before her bikini when she went to leave, which I thought was very responsible while a nearby a large group of young adults were partying in a cove without their masks.

The people in Madrid and Torrevieja have been fantastic in wearing masks in public from what I have seen and I am surprised how co-operative everyone has been with the exception of a handful of people, anti-mask protestors, partygoers, and one Spanish waiter who knew nothing.

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