John Cleese says he regrets one Fawlty Towers scene and wishes he could go back to it
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John Cleese only has one Fawlty Towers scene that he regrets, having previously admitted he wishes he could go back to it.
The episode, titled 'The Germans', is often remembered for the recurring line 'don't mention the war', which is said throughout.
One scene also involves hotel owner Basil Fawlty (Cleese) having a discussion with hotel guest Major Gowen, which results in racial slurs concerning West Indians.
But it’s actually another scene altogether that Cleese regrets the most, as he feels he didn’t get it ‘right’ when filming and should have tried another take.
Speaking on The One Show last year, he said: "There is a moment when the moose head falls on me and I would have retaken it, because if you watch carefully, I am waiting for it to fall on me because it didn't fall on cue, it was late.
“I'm very sorry we didn't go back to do that so every time I watch that sequence I go, 'Oh dear I wish we got that right.'"
In the scene, we see Basil trying to hang a moose head on the wall at the hotel, while colleague Polly (Connie Booth) is on the phone at the front desk.
The moose head ends up falling down onto his head – though not at the exact moment it was supposed to.
Cleese can be seen pausing for a brief moment under the animal head, before it comes crashing down.
But he said the end result was a fitting legacy to the show, adding that he ‘still laughs’ when he sees the argument about the fire drill at the beginning of ‘The Germans’.
"It's terribly well performed by everyone,” he continued.
“It was a group performance.”
In 2020, the entire episode was removed from UKTV, which said it wanted to ‘take time’ to consider ‘options for this episode’.
More than a decade ago, officials at UKTV also edited out the scene between Basil and Major Gowen, after which the BBC said in a statement: "Public attitudes have changed significantly since it was made and it was decided to make some minor changes, with the consent of John Cleese's management, to allow the episode to transmit to a family audience at 7.30pm on BBC2."
Featured Image Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo/BBC
Topics: TV and Film