‘The Anniversary’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

In this ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode, it’s Basil and Sybil’s wedding anniversary. Some of their friends have been secretly invited by Basil to come to the hotel to celebrate. But Sybil believes that Basil has forgotten about their wedding anniversary. She leaves in a huff in the car, making Basil go in a panic.

When the friends arrive at the hotel, Basil covers up Sybil’s absence by telling them that she’s ill. The story keeps changing every time Basil tells it to them, from being ill to having her legs ‘puffed up’. Polly gets involved in Basil’s cover story, as he gets her to unwilling put on Sybil’s wig to become her.

You know, Basil could have easily said that Sybil’s gone out into town and that she didn’t know anything about him inviting friends over to celebrate their wedding anniversary. But then again, Basil isn’t one for thinking things like that. Polly should have suggested it instead of stating that Sybil is ill.

Behind-the-scenes, this episode got more rehearsal time compared to other ‘Fawlty Towers’ episodes in the making. This is because of a BBC strike that happened at the time, allowing the actors to rehearse for another week. However, John Cleese seemed to fumble on one of his lines. 😀

The line in question is “Look, it’s perfectly Sybil! Simple’s not well!” I’m sure it should have been the other way round with ‘Sybil’ and ‘simple’. I’m surprised they didn’t re-shoot that for the episode. But the character performances for this episode are stronger and entertaining, thanks to rehearsal time.

The guest cast are as follows. There’s Ken Campbell as Roger and Una Stubbs as Alice. There’s Pat Keen as Virginia and Robert Arnold as Arthur. And there’s Roger Hume as Reg and Denyse Alexander as Kitty. The episode also features Christine Shaw as Audrey, who is Sybil’s friend in ‘Fawlty Towers’.

Also in the episode, Manuel attempts to cook a paella for Basil and Sybil’s wedding anniversary. I enjoyed it when Manuel complains to Mr. Fawlty about Terry, who competes with him to make a paella as well. It was hilarious once Manuel interrupted Basil drinking from a bottle and soaking him.

‘The Anniversary’ is a very well-written, well-performed character-driven episode from the ‘Fawlty Towers’ series. It does highlight Basil’s relationship with Sybil quite well and how he thinks of her for the wedding anniversary. Although, why he couldn’t tell a half-truth to his friends is a bit beyond me.

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

‘The Anniversary’ rating – 8/10

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