‘The Builders’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.


In this episode, builders come to the hotel to do some renovation work. But in the process, the dining room door goes missing and things go in their incorrect places. This makes Basil unhappy as he goes into a panic, especially as he’s afraid of Sybil who’ll discover he’s used some ‘cheap’ builders.

This episode is considered 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 as it sets up with 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 love it when Manuel runs the hotel at reception downstairs whilst Polly is upstairs asleep. Manuel is brilliantly funny in those scenes, especially when as deals with a delivery man with a garden gnome. I felt sorry for Manuel, as he got punched calling a ‘man with beard’, “You are a hideous orang-utan.”

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 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.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘Fawlty Towers’ – The Complete Collection (Remastered) DVD, there’s a commentary with producer/director John Howard Davies and there’s a commentary with John Cleese.

‘The Builders’ rating – 8/10

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