John Cleese is set to reboot his classic comedy series Fawlty Towers after 44 years.
Cleese, who played hotel owner Basil Fawlty, will be returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese.
The new series will reportedly “explore how Cleese’s over-the-top, cynical and misanthropic Basil Fawlty navigates the modern world”, with the plot focusing on his relationship with his daughter as they manage a boutique hotel together.
The reboot will be executive produced by Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap), who said of the project (via BBC News): “John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.”
Cleese said that his idea for the series led to “one of the best creative sessions I can remember”.
“By dessert we had an overall concept so good that, a few days later, it won the approval of Rob and Michele Reiner. Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.”
Director Matthew George, who is also on board to produce, said he was “obsessed with Fawlty Towers” and meeting Cleese and his daughter was one of the “great thrills” of his life.
“I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count,” he said. “I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.”
The original series ran for two six-episode seasons between 1975 and 1979. In 2019, it was named the greatest British sitcom ever in a Radio Times poll.
The show was remade in the US three times – in 1979 as Chateau Snavely, in 1983 as Amanda’s, and in 1999 as Payne – but none achieved the same level of success. In 2009, Cleese said that there would never be another episode of the series.
“I think everyone would be excited if we did it,” he said. “The problem is, when you do do something that is generally accepted as being very good, a horrible problem arises, which is: how do you top it? The expectation of what you will do is so high.”
Last year, Cleese signed up to become a presenter for right-wing TV channel GB News, claiming that “cancel culture” had prevented him from being on screen.