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The TBTS Essay Contest: Win Fawlty Towers Remastered on DVD!

November 5, 2009

The story goes that in 1970, the Monty Python team booked a stay in the Gleneagles Hotel, in the seaside English town of Torquay. During this stay, the owner of the Gleneagles — well-documented as ex-Royal Navy man Donald Sinclaire — reportedly lambasted American Terry Gilliam for his poor table manners, suspected Eric Idle’s suitcase of being a bomb and left it in the garden, abused the foreign help and threw a timetable at a guest who asked about the bus routes.

As the rest of the troupe moved on, John Cleese and wife Connie Booth decided to stay, for research, and turned Sinclaire into the basis for Basil Fawlty, one of the most amazingly rude and unlovable leading men in sitcom history and the pivot point at the center the BBC’s 1975 12-episode run of Fawlty Towers. The comedy, which only ran in the US intermittently on PBS, detailed the goings-on at a luxury hotel run by Basil, his haughty and domineering wife Sybil (Prunella Scales), waitress Polly (Connie Booth) and non-English speaking spanish laborer Manuel (Andrew Sachs), who provided a great deal of the program’s physical comedy.

Though derided by critics at the time (a writer for Television Today called it “devoid of everything that makes good modern comedy”), Fawlty Towers was named number one  in the British Film Institute’s 100 Greatest British Television Programmes in 2000 and Basil Fawlty was named “Britain’s Funniest Comedy Character” by the UK’s Channel Five in 2006.

As 2009 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the program’s close, the BBC celebrates by releasing the three-disc deluxe, special edition Fawlty Towers Remastered on October 20. This special edition features each episode of the series in digital restoration, commentary by John Cleese, interviews with the cast, outtakes, a visit to Torquay and more. The Facebook Fan Page for Fawlty Towers is even running a Basil Fawlty Lookalike Contest with judging by Cleese himself.

And while you can buy Fawlty Towers Remastered now directly from the BBC, The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to announce its newest Essay Contest — in correlation with the BBC and American Pop Digital — for you to win a copy of the DVDs for free!

And it couldn’t be easier.

Here’s what we’re asking:

TO ENTER: In at least 150 words, detail what — in your opinion — has been the greatest post-Monty Python project (in any realm of popular culture) from a member of the troupe since the team disbanded. And, of course, support your decision.

C’mon now…that’s an easy one, we think. Lots to choose from. 

SEND IT TO: thebrowntweedsociety@gmail.com– with the subject headline “Fawlty Towers DVD Contest”

That’s not so hard now, is it? The winning entry will receive a copy of Fawlty Towers Remastered delivered right to their doorstep and will be printed at TBTS.

The deadline, you ask? How about Saturday, November 28 (midnight)?*

So visit the Fawlty Towers Facebook page to enter the Lookalike Contest for more great prizes and enter the TBTS Essay Contest today. There are few DVDs that look great for a comedy fan to have in his or her collection. Let us give you this one for free.

*This contest is open to entrants from any country, but bear in mind that the DVD is a Region 1 coded DVD. Those associated with The Brown Tweed Society are ineligible for tangible, physical prizes but remain–as always — more than qualified to receive long, lingering hugs.

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