‘Basil the Rat’ (TV)

‘BASIL THE RAT’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

It’s the last ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode and it’s definitely one of my favourites. In this episode, a health inspector comes to the hotel to find many things wrong with it. Basil and everyone else get right to it to clean up the hotel and rid anything that’s unhygienic. There’s just one problem about this though.

Manuel’s hamster – which turns out to be a rat – may cause the hotel to be closed down. This is a very good episode for Manuel’s character, who names his ‘hamster’ after his boss that runs around the hotel. It’s so funny when Basil tried to convince Manuel his hamster’s not a hamster, but a rat. 🙂

Some of Basil’s funny lines to Manuel in this episode include, “Of course it’s a rat. You have rats in Spain, don’t you? Or did Franco have them all shot?” as well as “He’s not hamster. Hamsters are small and cuddly. Cuddle this; you’d never play the guitar again.” They’re just so easily memorable. 🙂

It was also funny when the Major twice tried to shoot Basil the Rat with a shotgun. When the gun goes off, Basil tells Mr. Carnegie, the health inspector, that it’s the television exploding again. It was very funny when Basil kicked the Major ‘in the balls’ to shut him up and he reacted in great agony. 😀

In this episode, John Quarmby guest stars as Mr. Carnegie, the heath inspector. It was so funny when Mr. Carnegie wanted to have lunch at ‘Fawlty Towers’ and have some veal. Basil drops bottles of wine in the process when he hears this. 🙂 It turns out that a slice of veal has some rat poison on it.

There’s also a funny scene where Manuel attends to a young couple during lunch – David Neville as Ronald and Sabina Franklyn as Quentina. The rat is underneath the table and Manuel and Basil are distracted when attending to the young couple. Ronald is annoyed when they don’t take their order.

And of course there’s Manuel’s filigree Siberian hamster called Basil. The final scene where Polly presents the box of biscuits and Basil the Rat is seen inside! The look on Mr. Carnegie’s face is hilarious. It’s funny when Basil asked, “Would you care for a rat?!” What a thing to say in the story?!

‘Basil the Rat’ is definitely one of the best episodes from the ‘Fawlty Towers’ TV series and rather appropriate to end the series on. It’s a shame that there aren’t any more ‘Fawlty Towers’ episodes after this one, but I suppose the hotel closed due to the rat incident. It happened in ‘Ratatouille’. 😀

On Disc 2 of the ‘Fawlty Towers – The Complete Collection Remastered’ DVD, there are two audio commentaries on ‘Basil the Rat’. There’s an audio commentary with director Bob Spiers and there’s an audio commentary with John Cleese.

On Disc 3 of the ‘Fawlty Towers – The Complete Collection Remastered’ DVD, there are extended interviews from 2009 with the cast and crew of ‘Fawlty Towers’, originally filmed for the ‘Fawlty Towers: Re-Opened’ documentary. These include interviews with John Cleese, Connie Booth, Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, Bernard Cribbins, Geoffrey Palmer, etc. There are also in-depth interviews with John Cleese; Andrew Sachs and Prunella Scales, which were filmed for the original DVD box set that my parents and I purchased in 2002. The other DVD extras include the ‘Helpful Staff’ cast profiles for John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Connie Booth, Andrew Sachs and Brian Hall. There’s the short documentary film ‘Torquay Tourist Guide’. There’s the ‘Guest Registry’ cast profiles for Joan Sanderson, Nicky Henson, Charles McKeown, John Quarmby, Geoffrey Palmer, Una Stubbs, Ballard Berkeley, Bernard Cribbins, Gilly Flower & Renee Roberts, Michael Gwyn, David Kelly and Robin Ellis. There’s a cheap tatty review, outtakes/bloopers and an Easter Egg to look out for.

‘Fawlty Towers’ is a true classic of a TV series. It’s surprising that it lasted only for twelve episodes. These episodes can still be enjoyed today with their classic situations; bumbling and dysfunctional characters; and a combination of clever writing and terrific performances from the cast throughout.

I know the series tended to focus on taboo topics that might be considered unfavourable in today’s society, but I appreciate the time the series was made in and what John Cleese and Connie Booth were trying to deliver in terms of the series’ stories. I still enjoy watching ‘Fawlty Towers’ to this day.

‘Basil the Rat’ rating – 10/10

‘Fawlty Towers’ (TV series) rating – 10/10


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