‘The Builders’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

In this episode, builders come to ‘Fawlty Towers’ to do some renovation work. In the process, the dining room door goes missing and things are in their incorrect places. This makes Basil unhappy as he goes into a panic, especially since he’s afraid of Sybil, who will see he hired some ‘cheap’ builders.

This episode is considered to be the weakest of the 12 episodes of ‘Fawlty Towers’. This is due to the fact that members of the Icelandic Broadcasting Corporation didn’t laugh during the recording of the episode. But I like this episode a lot, especially in how it sets up Basil doing things on the cheap side.

David Kelly guest stars as Mr. O’Reilly, the builder responsible for the fiasco with the missing dining room door. I later saw David Kelly in the 2005 film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ with Johnny Depp. I enjoyed his performance as O’Reilly in this episode, especially when he gets to be so foolish.

There’s also James Appleby as Mr. Stubbs, another builder, who is far better than O’Reilly and is more expensive. Basil tries to prove a point to Sybil that getting builders on the cheap is better than expensive. But Mr. Stubbs proves Basil wrong as he discovers something wrong with O’Reilly’s work.

I loved it when Manuel ran the hotel reception desk downstairs for a bit whilst Polly was asleep upstairs. Manuel is brilliantly funny in his scenes. This is especially when he deals with George Lee as delivery man Bennion, who brings in a garden gnome. Manuel’s reaction to the gnome was hilarious.

“You want Room 16 for him?!” I felt sorry for Manuel when he got punched by calling the ‘man with beard’ a ‘hideous orang-utan’. I’m surprised Basil didn’t ask Manuel to call him a ‘disgusting wild boar’. Michael Cronin, Barney Dorman and Michael Halsey play O’Reilly’s three builders in the story.

I equally felt sorry for Manuel when Basil banged his head on the wall where the dining room door was. Sybil gets very cross with Basil for arranging O’Reilly behind her back. It was funny when Sybil thwacked O’Reilly with an umbrella. I also laughed when Basil tripped over the garden gnome in this.

For me, ‘The Builders’ is one of the finest episodes from the ‘Fawlty Towers’ TV series. It may not be the best, but I have fond memories of it when I first saw it years ago as a kid. It was funny to see how Basil dealt with covering up the story that O’Reilly did the building work instead of Stubbs and failed.

On Disc 1 of the ‘Fawlty Towers – The Complete Collection Remastered’ DVD, there are two audio commentaries on ‘The Builders’. There’s an audio commentary with producer/director John Howard Davies and there’s an audio commentary with John Cleese.

‘The Builders’ rating – 8/10

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