John cleese

Fawlty Towers – The Play is the best museum piece you’ll ever see

Fawlty Towers at the Apollo may be the best museum piece you’ll ever see. A full-length play has been carved out of three episodes: ‘The Hotel Inspectors’, ‘The Germans’, and ‘Communication Problems’ in which the deaf guest, Mrs Richards, made a nuisance of herself by refusing to switch on her hearing aid in case the batteries ran out. For anyone who saw the sitcom in the 1970s, this is a pleasantly weird show. It’s like returning to a seaside funfair after half a century and finding all the rides unchanged and the staff more or less as you remember them. If Beckett had written family comedies he might have created

‘Comedy is much more important than I thought’: John Cleese on the press, his new talk show and the power of Fawlty Towers

John Cleese enjoys tough questions. He’s currently touring America with An Evening with the Late John Cleese, and a substantial part of the show is thrown open to the audience. He tells me that when someone asks a particularly rude question – such as ‘Why can’t you stay married?’ – it simply adds to the fun. Another one of his favourites is ‘What’s the worst film you ever made?’ I ask him the same question. ‘Well, there are a lot of contenders,’ John says. Apparently his ‘sabre-toothed daughter’ Camilla might have the answer, because she often introduces him to the stage as ‘the star of The Pink Panther 2’. When

John Cleese’s cancel culture hypocrisy

‘Always look on the bright side of life’ sang Monty Python. But it seems that for at least one of the legendary sextet, such sentiments are now a thing of the past. For the octogenarian John Cleese has today announced he will complain to the BBC over an interview conducted with one of their reporters. What heinous crime did the journalist in question commit? Which unfortunate anchor is to blame? How much trouble is the Corporation in this time? Well, judging from the footage in question, the answer to Mr S seems, er, not a lot. Cleese was riled earlier by an interview with BBC World News presenter Karishma Vaswani who chose to ask him about his

Why stop at destroying statues?

The actor John Cleese has been wondering if we should destroy Greek statues because Greeks believed ‘a cultured society was only possible if it was based on slavery’. That was not a Greek belief, but might the existence of ancient slavery suggest that their statues deserve to be knocked down anyway? Two points: first, the ancient world was one in which there were laws, but no concept of human rights, or of the sanctity of life; second, slavery was simply a universal fact of life, rather like hunting. Anyone could be enslaved at any time — captured in war or by pirates at sea — and many were born into