The Wedding Party (Fawlty Towers)
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|"The Wedding Party"|
|Fawlty Towers episode|
|Episode no.||Series 1|
|Directed by||John Howard Davies|
|Written by||John Cleese and Connie Booth|
|Original air date||3 October 1975|
In the episode, Basil is disgusted when two young lovers, Alan and Jean, begin 'hanky-pankying' under his very nose while checking in. He becomes convinced that they and two other guests (a couple called the Lloyds) are engaged in group sexual misbehaviour, somehow also involving Polly. Meanwhile, another guest, Mrs Peignoir, has become attracted to Basil, and circumstances conspire to put him in apparently compromising situations whenever any of the aforementioned are around.
A heatwave has hit Torquay, making Basil even more lazy and impatient than ever. When he realises that the two young lovers Alan and Jean, who are checking in, aren't married,[note 1] he tries to force them into single rooms on separate floors. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peignoir, an attractive French antique dealer, seems to be attracted to Basil, much to Sybil's disgust. Alan returns to the lobby and asks Basil if he knows whether any chemists are still open. Basil initially assumes he wants to buy condoms, then when Alan says he wants batteries, Basil – still assuming it must be sex-related – tells him that is "disgusting". When Alan explains that he wanted batteries for his electric razor, Basil tries to save the situation. Later that evening, Mrs. Peignoir arrives home and drunkenly trips over Basil as he crouches on the floor picking up her purse that she has dropped, ending up sitting on him. At that moment Alan and Jean also arrive, witnessing what appears to them to be a very sexual situation. Later that same night Manuel, who had been out celebrating his birthday, returns home drunk with his umbrella (a birthday gift from Basil) outside Basil and Sybil's door and accidentally hits Basil over the head with the umbrella. As Basil crumples to the floor in pain, Manuel drunkenly sits over him, saying "Mr Fawlty, I love you, I love you ...." and once more Alan walks in on the situation.
Jean's mother and stepfather Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd arrive next morning. Basil soon notices strange activities between the Lloyds, Jean, Alan, and Polly. For example, Basil accidentally walks in on Jean hugging Mr. Lloyd, and not realising that they are family he tries to keep Mrs. Lloyd from the room where he saw them embracing. He shows her the kitchen, where Manuel is sleeping off his hangover in the linen basket. Finally he lets her up to the room, only to discover Polly (a family friend of the Lloyds) is now hugging Mr. Lloyd. He again distracts the now very suspicious Mrs. Lloyd by showing her another room, explaining that the Lloyds' room is not as nice. When Mrs. Lloyd enters the room, she realises that it is exactly the same as the one Basil showed her. As he is leaving the room, Basil hears loud moaning noises from Alan and Jean's room and Polly hurries out, dressing herself (she has been trying on a dress Jean made for her and the moaning was because Jean had been massaging Alan's shoulders). Thinking the worst, Basil prepares to fire Polly and tells the Lloyds to leave. Sybil explains that they are one family and that Polly went to school with Jean, and has known them for years. Basil, feeling humiliated and regretful for his actions, argues with Sybil about apologising to them, saying sarcastically "No, no, I suppose it's all my fault, isn't it?" But Sybil insists and advises him to "Tell them you made a mistake." So he rehearses the apology (to Sybil, to Polly, to himself and to empty space) "I'm so sorry, I made a mistake", but by the time he reaches the guests' room, the sentence has become "I'm so sorry, but my wife has made a mistake!"
Sybil's good friend Audrey has split from her husband, much to Basil's irritation as she's constantly on the phone and repeating the phrase 'Ooh, I know'. She goes to visit Audrey the following day and, as Major Gowen puts it, "listen to all that rubbish" while consoling her friend. A flirtatious Mrs. Peignoir tries to charm Basil that night while Sybil is away, and he is very nervous in the evening. As he tries to undress someone keeps knocking at his door, and he believes it to be Mrs. Peignoir trying to seduce him again. However, when he realises it is actually Sybil returned early, he opens the door and unconvincingly says "Oh, what a terrible dream," trying to explain his previous whispers to Mrs. Peignoir (as he thought) to go away. Sybil, however, doesn't notice his odd behaviour, as she tells Basil that she has heard a burglar downstairs. Both are unaware that it is actually Manuel, who has awakened from the linen basket, still drunk. Basil quietly creeps downstairs in his underwear and hits 'the burglar' over the head with a frying pan. Manuel is revealed unconscious, and Basil crouches over him in the foyer. Just as Basil realises who it is, Alan, Jean and the Lloyds walk into the hotel, where they are confronted by the sight of Basil apparently lying on top of Manuel with no trousers on. They creep past, amused by his behaviour, and Mr Lloyd, slightly drunk, says to Basil "We've been to a wedding". In anger and despair, Basil draws back the frying pan for a final vengeful strike.
- John Cleese as Basil Fawlty
- Prunella Scales as Sybil Fawlty
- Andrew Sachs as Manuel
- Connie Booth as Polly Sherman
- Ballard Berkeley as Major Gowen
- Gilly Flower as Miss Abitha Tibbs
- Renee Roberts as Miss Ursula Gatsby
- Interior scenes of this episode were recorded on 10 August 1975, in Studio TC8 of the BBC Television Centre, before a live audience.
- In the scene where Cleese hits Sachs over the head with a pan, the prop designer installed heavy padding in one of the pans. But during filming, Cleese couldn't see in the dark and grabbed the wrong pan—one that was totally unpadded. Sachs was hit so hard he could not lift himself back up.
- It is later revealed that Jean is a successful couturier and other dialog among the guest cast strongly suggests that she and Alan are, in fact, married. So, while the script leaves it somewhat ambiguous, it may be that Basil's confusion was caused solely by a letter addressing Jean by her maiden name.
- Kempton, Martin. "An unreliable and wholly unofficial history of BBC Television Centre..." An incomplete history of London's television studios. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Andrew Sachs remembers filming Fawlty Towers in 1975". The Daily Telegraph. 14 March 2014.