‘I’d have appreciated learning about it from him rather than in the papers!’ John Cleese’s ex wife and co-writer Connie Booth claims the star didn’t tell her about his Fawlty Towers reboot
John Cleese’s ex wife Connie Booth has claimed that the star didn’t tell her about the Fawlty Towers reboot which was announced last week.
Connie, 82, created the show with him and played Basil Fawlty’s chambermaid Polly in the sitcom, but has now told how news of the new series was a surprise to her.
The pair tied the knot in 1968 and they were married for 10 years before separating.
For the reboot John has teamed up with his daughter Camilla – who he shares with his second wife Barbara Trentham.
She told The Times of the reboot: ‘I’d have appreciated learning about the project from John rather than reading about it in the papers.
Lack of communication: John Cleese’s ex wife Connie Booth has claimed that the star didn’t tell her about the Fawlty Towers reboot which was announced last week (pictured together)
‘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.’
She added that she wished Cleese and his daughter well despite having been shocked at the way she found out about the project.
Last week it was revealed that John is set to return to screens as Basil Fawlty, with a reboot of the star’s famous comedy Fawlty Towers in the works.
The second and final series ended more than 40 years ago but Monty Python actor John, 83, is writing new episodes of the former BBC programme with his comedian daughter Camilla Cleese, 39.
Developed by actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment, the new series will look at how cynical and misanthropic snob Basil fares in the modern world, it was announced on Tuesday.
While plot details are mostly being kept under wraps, the story will look at hotel manager Basil’s relationship with his daughter, who he has only recently discovered he is father to.
Shock: Connie, 82, created the show with him and played Basil Fawlty’s chambermaid Polly in the sitcom, but has now told how news of the new series was a surprise to her (L-R: Prunella Scales as Sybil, John Cleese as Basil, Connie Booth as Polly and Andrew Sachs as Manuel in 1975)
Despite being tortured by ‘that annoying section of the general public who insist on staying at hotels’ in the previous two series which ran from 1975 to 1979 for 12 episodes, Basil and his daughter decide to reenter the industry and open up a boutique property.
The original series followed the unfortunate exploits of highly-strung Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil, portrayed by Prunella Scales, as they tried to keep their hotel and marriage afloat.
In 2019, the show was named the greatest British sitcom of all time by a panel of television experts for Radio Times magazine.
Relationship: The pair tied the knot in 1968 and they were married for 10 years before separating (John pictured in 2019)
Actor Rob Reiner, his wife and actress Michele Reiner, director and producer Matthew George and Derrick Rossi will act as executive producers on the series.
John said: ‘What I like about Matt is that, unlike many producers, he really “gets” the creative process.
‘When we first met, he offered an excellent first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla, and I had one of the best creative sessions I can remember.
‘By dessert we had an overall concept so good that, a few days later, it won the approval of Rob and Michele Reiner.
On air: The second and final series ended more than 40 years ago but Monty Python actor John is writing new episodes of the former BBC programme (John is seen as character Basil Fawlty in 1975’s episode one of series one, A Touch of Glass)
‘Camilla and I look forward enormously to expanding it into a series.’
Producer Matthew said that meeting John and Camilla was one of the ‘great thrills’ of his life, adding: ‘I’m obsessed with Fawlty Towers and the legendary characters he created.
‘I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I have lost count. I dreamed of one day being involved in a continuation of the story. Now it’s come true.’
Rob Reiner said: ‘John Cleese is a comedy legend. Just the idea of working with him makes me laugh.’
Family affair: For the reboot John has teamed up with his daughter Camilla – who he shares with his second wife Barbara Trentham (Camilla pictured in 2018)
Aside from Fawlty Towers, John is best known as one of the original members of the Monty Python comedy troupe.
The group produced a number of surreal sketch shows and films including Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life Of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.
The actor also revealed last year he was joining GB News after being told it is a ‘free speech channel’.
When announcing the move on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: ‘The BBC have not come to me and said, “Would you like to have some one-hour shows?”
‘And if they did, I would say, “Not on your nelly”, because I wouldn’t get five minutes into the first show before I’d been cancelled or censored.’
Today presenter Amol Rajan replied at the time: ‘Well, we’ve given you five minutes today and I can promise you you haven’t been censored yet.’
Update: The new series, of which there was originally just 12 episodes made, will see Basil open up a new boutique hotel with a daughter he didn’t know he was father to
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