John Cleese hits back at critics of Fawlty Towers reboot plans

The Monty Python star implied British critics do not understand comedy.

John Cleese during a book signing at Waterstones Piccadilly to promote his book
John Cleese has mocked critics for their negativity towards a Fawlty Towers reboot. (Getty Images)

John Cleese has hit out at critics of the planned Fawlty Towers reboot - joking the negative reaction might deter director Rob Reiner from working with him.

The Monty Python star – who played hotel manager Basil Fawlty in the 70s comedy – recently announced he would be reviving the sitcom alongside his daughter Camilla and with the When Harry Met Sally director at the helm.

Cleese, 83, tweeted: "I worry that so many of the British critics are saying that the FT sequel is such an awful idea. because Rob Reiner might start getting cold feet, and cancel the whole thing.

Read more: John Cleese's daughter says they're not 'out to get anyone' with Fawlty Towers reboot

"He's fairly new to comedy and doesn't have that fingertip sensitivity to it that British critics do."

His comment comes after his ex-wife Connie Booth - who co-created Fawlty Towers and starred alongside him as waitress Polly - revealed he had not informed her of his plans to reboot the show.

Connie Booth, John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs attend a photocall for
John Cleese with ex-wife Connie Booth at Fawlty Towers reunion in 2009. (Getty Images)

The 82-year-old psychotherapist divorced Cleese in 1978, in the midst of making the hit sitcom.

She told The Times newspaper: "I’d have appreciated learning about the project from John rather than reading about it in the papers.

“Because a previous American reboot of Fawlty Towers had failed some years ago, I was surprised that another was being planned.

"I was even more surprised to read that John intends to write and to perform in it together with his daughter Camilla.”

Camilla Cleese and John Cleese speak onstage at 'Comedy with the Cleeses' during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Creek and the Cave on March 12, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Amanda Stronza/Getty Images for SXSW)
Father and daughter team Camilla and John Cleese will write and star in the Fawlty Towers reboot. (Getty Images for SXSW)

Camilla Cleese, 38, is the actor's child with second wife Barbara Trentham. He and Booth share a 51-year-old daughter Cynthia.

Fawlty Towers stars Cleese, Booth, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs reunited in 2009 to promote two new documentaries about the series for UKTV Gold. Boot did not speak to the press at the time but pose briefly for photos.

Cleese said at the time: "We both felt we had done our best. We just knew if we did more it wouldn't be as good."

Director Rob Reiner at the Q&A for the screening of And So It Goes at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Chicago. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)
Director Rob Reiner is set to helm the new Fawlty Towers reboot. (AP)

He went on: "I did once speculate about doing a film but it never really got to the point of putting a word down. What I thought would be really funny was Basil and Sybil get on a plane to go to visit Manuel who perhaps has set up his own place...

"I don't think I ever mentioned it to Connie [Booth]. We didn't put a single line down."

He previously revealed the show would be set on a Caribbean island with Basil Fawlty and his daughter managing a hotel abroad. And has warned not to expect the show anytime soon, hinting that it could take up to three years to make.

John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in Fawlty Towers. (BBC)
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs in Fawlty Towers. (BBC)

Fawlty Towers originally aired for two seasons in 1975 and 1979.

Read more: BBC airs controversial 'Fawlty Towers' episode 'The Germans' after cutting racist terms

The comedy also starred Prunella Scales as Basil's wife Sybil and Andrew Sachs as Spanish waiter Manuel.

Scales, 90, announced her retirement from acting in 2020 having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Sachs died in 2016 at the age of 86.

Watch: John Cleese reveals Fawlty Towers reboot to be set in Caribbean