Torbay council’s Basil Fawlty comedy advertising campaign upsets upmarket hoteliers

Torbay council’s Basil Fawlty comedy advertising campaign upsets upmarket hoteliers

Torbay Council has walked into a war of words over a jokey Tweet aimed at raising awareness of the two metre social distance rule.

The council used famously-tall Basil Fawlty comedian John Cleese to demonstrate ‘Social distancing the Torbay Way!’ with a cartoon and the words: “2 metres = 1 Basil Fawlty”.

At 1.96m tall Cleese was the tallest of the Pythons.

But the lighthearted advertising campaign seems to have upset some of the resort’s posher establishments which have spent 45 years battling the Fawlty Towers image and replacing it with the palm-fringed English Riviera brand.



Fawlty Towers John Cleese as Basil Fawlty

The Council has been criticised by some for the “awful advertising” and for associating the resort with the “grotty” Fawlty Towers image.

However other people are loving the comedy approach. Percy Cross said: “A Council with a sense of humour, that’s a positive step!”

But Michelin-starred chef Simon Halstone, who runs upmarket harbourside restaurant The Elephant, said: “Do we still want to be associated with this as a hospitality industry ?

“We are meant to be encouraging business and visitors not telling them we don’t like them !!! As amusing as the series was it’s almost 50 years old. Awful advertising.”

Helen Brenton, marketing officer at the equally-posh Osborne Apartments, wrote: “Sorry but I really don’t like this.

“We’ve spent years as an industry trying to shake off the ‘grotty” Fawlty Towers association that has bestowed Torquay for decades. We should be encouraging visitors to see us as a classy resort with professional & welcoming operators.”

The Osborne is a Regency crescent overlooking the Bay at Meadfoot – a far cry from Basil’s run-down Fawlty Towers.

And writer Stewart Mandy tweeted Torbay Council saying: “Not sure that associating yourselves with John Cleese is a great idea nowadays Torbay Council.

“He has some pretty extreme views. Also, isn’t Torquay trying to be rather more upmarket nowadays than the association with Basil implies?”

Many others have liked the council Tweets and replied with laughing Emoji’s.

There has been a recent debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement over the racist comments made by the elderly Major in some episodes of Fawlty Towers.

The famous ‘Don’t mention the War’ German episode was temporarily removed and then reinstated by the BBC back catalogue.


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