The most famous fictional hotel in the UK has to be Fawlty Towers. First broadcast in the 1970s, the show was written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, his wife at the time, both of whom stared in the show. Set in the Devonshire seaside town of Torquay – where Terry Leaman is undertaking a one-place study – the plot centred around Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), the rude, arrogant hotel owner, his demonstrative wife Sybil (played by Prunella Scales), a relatively normal chambermaid Polly (played by Connie Booth) and Manuel, the clumsy Spanish waiter (played by Andrew Sachs). Eccentric guests at Fawlty Towers made for ludicrous situations and accidents were just waiting to happen!
In the titles sequence of each episode, some of the letters on the Fawlty Towers sign were usually mixed up or missing altogether. The signs appeared as Fawlty Towers, Fawlty Tower, Fawty Tower, Fawty Toer, Warty Towels, Watery Fowls, Flay Otters, Fatty Owls, Flowery Twats and Farty Towels…. the list is endless.
Although set in Torquay, the hotel used for the exterior filming was actually the Wooburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire. In several episodes of the series, the entrance gate at the bottom of the drive stated the real name of the location. The listed building later served as a nightclub named Basil’s for a short time after the series ended before being destroyed by a fire in March 1991.
In 2000, the British Film Institute named Fawlty Towers the best British television series of all time, after voting by industry professionals.