English actor John Cleese talks to Tom McGurk about about being a member of the 'Monty Python' comedy group and his successful comedy series 'Fawlty Towers'.
Cleese cites an absurd situation with the owner of a hotel in which the 'Monty Python' group were staying as the inspiration behind Basil Fawlty, the owner of the fictional Torquay hotel in 'Fawlty Towers'. Co-written with his wife Connie Booth, who also plays Polly Sherman in the series, 'Fawlty Towers' has become phenomenally successful which comes as a relief for Cleese as he was,
Hoping it wouldn't be too much of an anti-climax after 'Monty Pyton'.
Cleese recounts a story told to him in by a man in Norway who had to remove the body of a deceased guest from his hotel. He would love to see Basil Fawlty deal with a similar situation and indeed this story line appears in season two of 'Fawlty Towers' broadcast in 1979.
A public schoolboy who attended Cambridge University Cleese did not set out for a career in comedy. However in Britain it is not unusual for Oxbridge educated people to be involved in the arts and many of them now control television, radio and repertory theatres in England.
Cleese gets fed up with things quickly and agrees the strength of 'Monty Python' and 'Fawlty Towers' comes from knowing when to end the series.
If you go on working at something, when you've really cracked it, then first of all the audience gets bored, maybe shortly after you do...and you're only doing it for your bank manager anyway.
The interview ends with John Cleese teaching Tom McGurk his legendary silly walk.
This episode of 'Last House’ was broadcast on 14 September 1976.