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Fans buy ‘Fawlty Towers’ hotel

12-episode comedy regarded as one of best shows
/ Source: The Associated Press

Fans of “Fawlty Towers” have bought the hotel that inspired the show for about $2.8 million.

Husband-and-wife supermarket entrepreneurs Kumar and Panna Patel and Kumar’s brother Keethri said Tuesday that they purchased the Hotel Gleneagles in Torquay, in southwest England.

“We were big fans of the ‘Fawlty Towers’ program so we believe that it will prove to be a sound investment to have bought one of the best-known hotels in the United Kingdom,” Panna Patel said.

John Cleese, who co-wrote and starred in the ’70s British TV comedy series, based his outrageously rude character Basil Fawlty on Donald Sinclair, a former owner of the hotel, after staying there with other members of the Monty Python comedy team in 1971. (Repeats of “Fawlty Towers” are regularly shown on British television and many Britons regard it as the funniest TV sitcom ever made. Just 12 episodes were ever made.)

Although it was the Hotel Gleneagles that inspired the TV series, it’s not the building shown in the program, the hotel’s general manager Ricky Langton told The Associated Press. He said he believed that hotel was in Bournemouth, another English coastal resort.

Langton said many customers stayed at the hotel because of its connection to “Fawlty Towers,” which also has aired in the United States and some 60 other countries.

“It’s unbelievable, we get a lots of Americans, Australians and Germans,” he said.

Langton said the hotel employed a Manuel look-alike, referring to the show’s incompetent Spanish waiter. “His name is Michael, but he’s the spitting image of Manuel.”

He also said service at the 41-bedroom Hotel Gleneagles was nothing like that dispensed by Basil Fawlty.

“We’re absolutely fantastic to customers,” he said. “We’ve got a 70 percent rebooking rate.”