John Cleese slams critics as fan spots Fawlty Towers reboot ‘issue’
14th February 2023

Fawlty Towers: This Morning guest says 'don't ruin it'

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Basil Fawlty actor John Cleese, 83, has fired back at criticism surrounding his Fawlty Towers reboot announcement, which he will be working on alongside his daughter Camilla and American director Rob Reiner, 75. The comedic legend quipped that the backlash could put Reiner off from working with him, while aiming a thinly-veiled dig at British critics, implying they don’t understand the genre.

Taking to Twitter this morning, John swiped: “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

“He’s fairly new to comedy and doesn’t have that fingertip sensitivity to it that  British critics do,” he joked in view of his 5.7 million followers.

It wasn’t long before fans took to the comments section of John’s post to share their views on the negative response.

Twitter user @sparkymcj highlighted what they believe to be the main “issue” with the concept.

They wrote to John: “I am the biggest FT fan, however I worry that it will never live up to the original. And that’s the issue.”

However, the Fawlty Towers co-writer quickly hit back by saying: “Supposing it’s still quite good ?”

Actor and director Mike Batt sided with John, telling the star: “I find telling people to f**k off sometimes works in situations like this, John.”

Another Twitter user suggested: “The comparison is always distracting though.  

“Very few modern versions of classic shows have survived that. I am struggling to think of any bar Doctor Who… yeah, you need to aim for Doctor Who.”

A third fan added: “It won’t live up to the original but that would be impossible, and people would be silly to expect that. If it’s still good and makes me laugh then I’ll be very happy.”

A fourth urged fellow fans not to judge the reboot until they see it, writing: “If the new version is brilliant or terrible, the original remains unchanged. 

“Judge the new version on its own merits when it’s broadcast. All else is assumption and speculation.”

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John’s retort comes after his ex-wife and Fawlty Towers co-creator Connie Booth claimed the actor had not informed her of his decision to reboot the show.

She told The Times: “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, 38, is John’s child whom he shares with his second wife Barbara Trentham.

John also has a 51-year-old daughter, Cynthia, with Connie.

Camilla recently teased fans of the show about how it is being written, promising the inclusion of jokes that are “a little bit edgy”.

On co-writing with her father, Camilla told The Sun: “There will be jokes that will be a little bit edgy but we’re not out to get anyone, we don’t dislike any people.

“That’s not the basis of it. People are a little sensitive nowadays, to put it lightly.

“If anything we’re making fun of the show’s characters and their idiosyncrasies.”

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