When the Abbots arrived at the hotel expecting a relaxing holiday away from their stressful careers they find themselves bitterly disappointed because of the insane manager Basil Fawlty.
Mr. Abbot was a psychiatrist, and his wife was a paediatrician. Basil showed an instant double take when learning of Mr. Abbot's profession, believing that psychiatrists were all obsessed with people's sex lives, a touchy subject for Basil, as he was obviously sexually repressed.
Doctor Abbot clearly became a source of gossip when rumours spread around the hotel of his profession, to the extent that Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby believed that he had come to take Major Gowen away, due to the old war veteran's clearly unstable mental state.
The doctor was clearly overwhelmed by Basil's mad behaviour - claiming there was enough material within him for an entire conference - a sneaky play upon a similar quote said in conversation to John Cleese by Sir Humphrey Barclay about Donald Sinclair - the hotel manager who was the sole inspiration for Basil Fawlty, and could possibly have been the sentence which seeded the existence of the entire show.
The Abbots were clearly bewildered by Basil erratic behaviour, especially when he started sneaking around their room, and tapping on the walls, claiming that he had had complaints about them before. In reality, Basil was actually trying to catch out Mr. Johnson who had sneaked a girl into his room. Eventually we learn that the young woman had switched places with Johnson's mother, and Basil famously mimicked a headless chicken, as the Abbot's witnessed, claiming that they were on holiday. : : : :
He was a hip young man who arrived with his girlfriend Jean, and the couple became bewildered witnesses to Basil Fawlty's erratic behaviour. Basil constantly appeared unamused at the couple's openly flirty relationship, to the extremes of believing their hanky-pankying was 'dis-gust-ing'.
He tried to separate the couple in different rooms, because they weren't married. They specifically asked for a double bed, but Basil was adamant on giving them two singles. This is the first episode to feature the Fawlty's mutual sexual repression.
Alan was bamboozled when Basil interrogated him after he asked if a chemist would still be open. Basil had presumed that Alan wanted to purchase a condom, and then when he stated he just wanted batteries Basil presumed them for an adult toy. However all he wanted was two batteries for his electric razor. The tables soon turned on Basil, as Alan bore witness to the hotel manager in uncompromising positions with a drunken Manuel on top of Fawlty claiming that he 'loved him', and an equally inebriated Mrs. Peignoir bouncing on his back.
After the Lloyd's (Jean Wilson's parents) turned up at the hotel things became more complex, and Basil presumed more hanky-pankying was going on, until the situation was spelt out for him in black and white by Sybil, by which time Basil had nearly sacked Polly after getting the wrong end of the stick once more.
A timid and temperamental woman, she arrived at the hotel with her irritating husband Roger (Ken Campbell) to celebrate their good friends the Fawltys' fifteenth wedding anniversary. She clearly shows signs of irateness towards her husband who deliberately tries to wind people up to a breaking point.
Many strange circumstances occurred at the hotel, leading the party guests to wonder what was really going on. In reality Sybil had stormed off for a round of golf after Basil had deliberately pretended that he had forgotten their wedding anniversary.
Farcically, Basil dressed Polly up to look like Sybil, in order to keep the guests happy, Alice later cut her arm after falling over due to the darkness of the room in order to conceal Polly's true identity, and she was baffled after Basil pretended that Sybil (who had forgotten her golf clubs) and returned to the hotel was not his wife, but merely a northern woman with a striking resemblance to Sybil, whom they had met at a fete, and had arrived at the hotel in order to purchase one of their fridges.
Una Stubbs was once married to Nicky Henson, who appeared as Mr. Johnson in the episode The Psychiatrist.
Andre was clearly of French origin (as was the actor who played him) He was a distant friend of Basil and Sybil's, who both respected him after he helped them with the employment of the alcoholic Greek chef Kurt (who had been in Andre's service previously).
Andre owned a highly-respectable four class restaurant in Torquay, he was also clearly aware of Kurt's condition and sexuality, for Kurt fell in love with Manuel, and was now pursuing him, he warned the temporamental chef not to go too far on the alcohol.
He was a witness to the argumentative banter between the Fawltys, where Sybil memorably got drunk and called Basil a: bad tempered tomato, resulting in clearly hidden bewilderment on Andre's behalf at the couple's exceedingly farcical relationship.
Basil later picked up a trifle by mistake from Andre's restaurant after the original duck that the now drunk Kurt was to cook was trodden on by Manuel, causing Fawlty Towers' gourmet night to be reduced to a laughing stock.
Mr. Arrad appears to be fairly insecure, and is scared of his wife, who constantly henpecks him. When the guests wait patiently for their meals (which have been a long time coming) Mrs. Arrad tries to get her husband to stand up for himself and ask where their dinner is, as opposed to doing it herself.
When the meal finally arrives, Mrs Arrad nearly chokes, the staff had put sugar in the salt cellar, and therefore she had put it all over the plaice, which caused confusion as Basil thought she had thrown it around the room. as opposed to using it on her fish meal. Manuel and Basil also found that there was a fly in Mr. Arrad's salad,, which they tried to disguise.
The Arrads had a horrible experience at Fawlty Towers, and when the Hamiltons declared liberation in the hotel, packing all the guests luggage bags, Mr. Arrad finally spoke up for himself, and complained.
He was a member of the CID posing as an innocent member of the public. His real purpose in Torquay was to arrest the confidence trickster under the pseudonym of Lord Melbury.
He had a white sports car, spoke with a distinct cockney accent, and was the only person capable of communicating with Manuel, for he could speak fluent Spanish. His personality was not dissimilar to that of Mr. Johnston from The Psychiatrist. He commented sarcastically about the circumstances which occurred at the hotel: I like a bit of cabaret, took an instant shine to Polly (which she totally blanked out), and tried to interpret a very badly misspelt menu while staying at the hotel.
Carnegie was found by Basil snooping around in the kitchens. Basil immediately assumed he was a guest and upon getting the wrong end of the stick started insulting the inspector. This didn't amuse the inspector, and in his reedy voice, Carnegie clearly read out a list of problems that the hotel had (including the appearance of two dead pigeons in the water tank).
Carnegie would later come back and reinspect the hotel at a later date, however calamity struck while the hotel staff were cleaning the hotel - Manuel's pet rat (mistaken for a Siberian hamster) escaped, creating havoc for Basil. Carnegie was bewildered upon his return, after he heard Major Gowen shoot at the rat (and miss), and witnessed Manuel go absolutely crazy at the thought of Terry putting too much 'basil' in the ratatouille.
Mr. Carnegie took a fancy to the veal that Fawlty Towers was serving; unaware that one of the cutlets had rat poison on it, Basil came close to killing Carnegie. Upon asking for a side order of cheese and biscuits, the tin lid of the biscuits was removed and revealed 'Basil' the rat, muching away. The hotel staff quickly made it look as though nothing had happened, leaving Carnegie in a daze - wondering whether he had indeed seen anything at all.
They were respected members of Torquay society, and members of the Rotary golf club. They attended a gourmet night at the hotel along with The Twitchens, which was an invention of Basil's to enhance the standard of clientele, and its reputation amongst the community.
Colonel Hall had a very prominent nervous twitch, and his wife was almost a midget. Basil and Sybil, no matter how hard they tried, couldn't escape these notable points of interest and kept mentioning them accidentally in conversation, to the extent that Basil almost fainted when introducing the 'Twitchens'.
The night didn't go well, after several mess-ups whereby the Greek chef got drunk and spewed up over the starter dish, and Manuel trod on the duck (Colonel Hall was not keen on duck anyway). Mrs. Hall's dish was then served raw by mistake. Sybil and Manuel then unconvincingly kept the guests amused (Sybil then got tipsy), while Basil got another duck... only to realize that he had picked up the wrong silver platter, and humiliated he served up a huge trifle... claiming the duck was 'off'.
Harry Hamilton was a loud, boisterous American (from California) with a strong sense of superiority over the British, which made the immensely patriotic Basil Fawlty quite irate.
He demanded that Terry (who had already left his shift) make him a Waldorf Salad (an American dish served in the Hotel Waldorf, in New York City composing walnuts, apples, celery and grapes in a mayonnaise sauce), and a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) which confused Basil as he thought he meant the actual tool.
Mr. Hamilton called British currency Mickey Mouse money, complained how the British drove on the wrong side of the road, and how bad the weather conditions were - "Had to take a little backroad called the M5" he said. He made a stand, packing the bags of all of the guests after what occurred on the night. After several cock-ups Hamilton couldn't take anymore of the hotel.
Hamilton's wife (who was of British descent but had lived in California for almost twelve years) tried to calm Harry down, and keep the peace. Basil seemed to take a very slight fancy to her before he realized she was married.
The son Ronald was the most prominent of the three. He was a rude, pampered and spoiled boy about 13 years of age, obviously been treated as if he were the most important person in the world, with a doting mother and a hen-pecked father.
Encouraged by his mother, and Ronald heartily complains about the chips being the wrong shape, and when he is served fresh mayonnaise rather than Salad cream. He is perhaps the only Fawlty Towers guest who is as rude as Basil himself. Basil snaps back, and "accidentally" elbows him in the head, to the horror of the pampered Ronald and his fussing mother but evidently to the delight of his father, who nervously comments, "Nice man". It is thought that they left afterwards, possibly because of Ronald's demand.
This is the first of two appearances by Elisabeth Benson, who would later appear as Mrs. White, in the Kipper and the Corpse, she remains the only actress to have played more than one role in the series.
He was a very spoiled brat and incredibly demanding, and was very persuasive in getting exactly what he wanted. If he did not get what he wanted, he would thrown a tantrum. He obviously considered himself more important than anyone else. Polly commented on this, asking Hutchinson if he was the Duke of Kent, however this sarcastic comment flew straight over his pompous head, and Hutchinson believed that she meant this literally.
Basil mistakenly assumed Mr. Hutchinson was a hotel inspector because of his brash, uncompromising and precise attitude, and because he got the wrong end of the stick when Hutchinson revealed he had a wide experience of hotels Basil's attitude to the man switches from sarcasm to grovelling. It turned out he is not a hotel inspector, but a spoon salesman, after Sybil overheard a conversation that he was having with another official.
Hutchinson was the only guest gutsy enough to act with reasonable violence against Fawlty, kicking him in the groin, and reducing him to agony on the floor. Basil would not let the spoon salesman get away with this, and he later filled his briefcase with cream (aided by Manuel who helped out), and he left just as the three real hotel inspectors bore witness to him being victim of Basil's psychotic manner.
There is only a fleeting glance at this guest. Mr. Ingrams was checked in by Sybil half way through the Mr. Leeman fiasco. Originally we didn't even see him from the front, and his relevance was kept a tight mystery.
Later on, when Basil and Manuel are trying to hide Mr. Leeman's corpse, the two accidentally stumble into Mr. Ingram's room while he is blowing up an inflatable sex doll. Mr. Ingrams later appeared in the final scene where Basil promised that Sybil would give all the guests answers and explanations. Mr. Ingrams went to complain, probably due to the lack of privacy that he so obviously needed.
Mr. Ingrams existed as an in-joke: when the pilot episode A Touch of Class first aired it created many mixed reactions all around, some journalists believed it was a mediocre program, one of these being Richard Ingrams of the Private Eye, who slagged off the program with relish. After the show became a success, Cleese and Booth humiliated Ingrams, getting their revenge through this character.
Basil took an instantly pessimistic view of this particular guest because of his crass, cheeky mannerisms and his attire containing: leather trousers and a loud shirt unbuttoned to the waist, with various symbolistic trinkets around his neck. Basil decided to see Mr. Johnson from a certain angle... believing that he resembled an ape.
In reality Basil was jealous, because Sybil was haplessly attracted to him, she went immediately misty-eyed and smitten when in his presence. This was a minor irritation to Mr. Johnson who was trying to make a phone call, while Sybil recounted various random objects that her mother felt were macabre (even to the extent of 'cows' and 'bicycles').
Johnson smuggled an attractive young girl into his room, much to the chagrin of Basil, who was constantly on the prowl trying to catch him out, however this backfired and Basil ended up the brut of the situation once again, looking insane in front of a psychiatrist and his wife, and a young Australian woman who he accidentally groped on several occasions.
It was assumed that the girl sneaked out of the hotel during the night, for in the morning she is replaced by Johnson's elderly mother, who intended to stay at the hotel. Nicky Henson who played Mr Johnson was once married to Una Stubbs who starred in the episode: The Anniversary. Johnson will be best remembered for his quick-fast wit such as his ideas for very short books: The Wit of Margaret Thatcher, and Great English Lovers, and also his punchline which tickled Sybil so much Pretentious, Moi?
Kurt is a professional Greek chef, however his masterpeice creations aren't appreciated by young Master Heath, who didn't appreciate his mayonnaise sauce. He was hired by Basil from Andre, who was clearly aware of Kurt's sexuality. It is presumed that Kurt once worked at Andre's four-star restaurant. He was openly homosexual, and clearly temperamental, he developed a crush on Manuel.
Kurt bought a sketch of Manuel from Polly, this was the first indication that Kurt wanted more than a friendship with his associate. He constantly praised him, calling him 'cute', kissing him on the forehead, and noting that their tremendous partnership would make Fawlty Towers famous for its cuisine standards.
When Manuel does not return his affections, Kurt gets blind drunk (for he was an alcoholic), ruining the gourmet night at Fawlty Towers, and soiling what little reputation the hotel had built up.
Kurt is unlike many comedy characters from the 1970s era, for the issue of homosexuality would be ignored in most cases, despite clearly camp characters such as Mr. Humphries in Are You Being Served?.
Kurt was replaced by a full time chef: Terry in series two.
Leeman complained he was feeling unwell after three businessmen guided him to the hotel. After he ordered breakfast in bed, Basil exaggerated Leeman's tendency to be specific, asking him what he would "like his breakfast tray made out of".
In the morning, Basil took up Leeman's breakfast, totally unaware that Leeman was stone dead. He had obviously died before he'd gone to sleep due to his eyes being wide open. After Polly took up Leeman's milk (which Basil had forgotten) she announced the man was dead, and Basil made a song and dance, believing that the out-of-date kippers had killed him. Doctor Price announced he'd been dead for several hours, and that situation was totally impossible.
Basil made many attempts to conceal Leeman's body from guests, a guest had never died at the hotel before, so he was unsure what to do. Leeman was hidden in a wardrobe, in the hotel kitchen, in a washing linen basket and many other obscure places, while freaking out Miss. Tibbs and the Whites.
Mr. Leeman was named in honour of a hotel manager who told John Cleese (who was researching for new concepts in the series) the fiasco of hiding deceased guests in the hotel business.
Melbury saw Basil as an easy target, and reserved a room at the hotel while lying low while planning a huge scam in Torquay and was later caught out and arrested by Danny Brown, a member of the CID, who posed as a guest for a short while. Basil treated him very ridiculously and pandered to him every need.
Melbury spoke with a refined English accent, deposited a hefty suitcase of valuables in Basil's safe (which later turned out to be several bricks), conned the hotel manager out of £200, and almost got his greedy mitts upon Basil's collection of fine antique coins (a small investment) which Melbury insisted he should get valued by the Duke of Buckleigh (an imaginary invention on Melbury's behalf - who Basil later joked had had his head knocked off by a golf ball).
The circumstances in which Melbury was arrested, ironically scared away real aristocrats: Sir Richard Morris and his wife who vowed that they had never been in such a terrible place in all their lives - many innocent people would later think exactly the same.
Basil (while being sexually repressed) undeniably took a fancy to her during her stay at the hotel. This obvious attraction created carefully concealed jealousy within Sybil, ironically however this was a two way situation because Basil felt the same way when she had been attracted to Mr. Johnson earlier in the episode.
At that time in the hotel, he was trying to impress the Abbots, and sniff out the young girl that Mr. Johnson had hidden away in his room. Becoming increasingly paranoid, Basil deliberately took steps to try and catch Johnson with the girl. Basil kept accidentally finding himself in compromising positions with Raylene in the presence of Sybil, while trying to do something totally different. This created conflict between the Fawltys, and Basil spent a night sleeping in a broom cupboard as a punishment for his accidental crimes.
Raylene was clearly bewildered by her stay at Fawlty Towers, and the management, due to her encounters with Basil, however she tried to remain as laid back about the events as much as possible.
Basil announced to Sybil he would be expecting these notorious, well-respected aristocrats early in the episode, after they had seen a £40 advertisement in a respectable magazine indicating that Fawlty Towers accepted no riff-raff, this phrase obviously attracted the stuffy couple.
After Lord Melbury had been uncovered as a confidence trickster, Basil went slightly mad, and the aristocrats happened to check in at the hotel at the worse possible moment. Clearly emotionally unstable Basil almost thought that the Morris' were part of the scam. Basil confronted Lord Melbury, and the Morris' watched as the police raided the hotel, and as Basil yelled out swear words to the conman.
Clearly baffled and bewildered by what they had seen, the Morris' left the hotel, clearly stating that they had: never been to such a dreadful place, and Basil showered them with insults as their car left the driveway.
In the episode, Basil and Sybil are going away for the weekend and want some foundation work done on the hotel during their absence. Sybil sensibly decides to use professional builders, but foolishly lets Basil oversee everything. Not wanting a huge bill to pay, Basil hires O'Reilly. O'Reilly and his men are totally incompetent cowboys, but Basil frequently uses him because he's cheap. Sybil mentions that O'Reilly has worked for them three times in the past year and every time, it has been a catastrophe. O'Reilly was called in to build a garden wall and simply left the huge pile of bricks in the driveway instead of actually building it. He also attempted to change a washer in the hotel and thus, he caused them to have no running water for two weeks. Sybil abhors O'Reilly, which is totally understandable and attacked him after he dared to smile cheerily at her when she was viciously insulting him about how completely useless he was.
O'Reilly is the only character, other than Basil himself, who gets to be on the receiving end of Sybil's wrath. He is also one of the very few guest characters to receive a mention in more than one episode: we see Basil complaining to him over the phone, about the garden wall, in A Touch of Class. Memorably, Sybil noted that she had seen more intelligent creatures than O'Reilly lying on their backs at the bottom of ponds. She then hit him several times with an umbrella.
Basil convinced O'Reilly into doing the best days work he'd ever done. The hotel looked faultless after O'Reilly had worked upon it, however rival builder Mr. Stubbs realized that the supporting walls were in fact in danger of falling down because of the incorrect usage of tools, leaving the Fawltys in a complete crisis.
Basil then stormed away, vowing to insert a large garden gnome in O'Reilly's behind.
Doctor Price was staying at the hotel at the time that Mr. Leeman was found dead in his sleep, he calmed Basil down and convinced him that the out-of-date kippers he had served Leeman for breakfast were not responsible for the guest's death.
He wasn't impressed by the standards of hygiene in the hotel, because Basil was occupied with hiding the dead body in inconvenient places. He was bewildered by the lack of service, and by Manuel's erratic behavior.
He wanted sausages for breakfast, which results in the famous line: "I'm a doctor and I want my sausages." He gets tired of waiting and ends up cooking them himself. However, the sausages are off, having passed their best before date.
Alice Richards was an uncompromising, selectively deaf battleaxe from Brighton (or at least she had a house there which was being put up for sale), she constantly complained about the hotel service, even though nothing was notably wrong with it. She had the will and the power to bend everyone and anyone's patience to get her own way.
She complained with relish about her room to Basil (even though nothing was apparently wrong with it at all), during one memorable scene where she claimed the bath was too small, the radio didn't work, and the view of Torquay was invisible, despite all of these factors being perfectly satisfactory for other guests who have stayed in that particular room during the past.
She easily misunderstood situations (either deliberately or because she was hard of hearing), this created more friction between her and Basil Fawlty, whom she had christened C.K. Watt (Si Que What) through her own misapprehension.
The major plot throughout the episode was that while she stayed at the hotel lost £85, which she believed has been stolen. It was later revealed that (partly due her dottyness) she had kept it inside a glove that she left at an antique shop when she brought a highly valuable vase. Basil later broke this vase due to Major Gowen affecting his nerves, by giving the game away. Basil was verging on a nervous breakdown as he bade farewell to this frightful 'old bat', crying like a baby, and wearing nothing but a scabby old vest!
Roger was married to Alice (Una Stubbs), and the couple visited Fawlty Towers for the Fawlty's fifteenth wedding anniversary. He was the first to suspect that something fishy was going on, after Sybil refused to come down to say hello, due to her being 'ill'. In reality, Sybil had left the hotel in a fury after Basil deliberately pretended to forget their Anniversary (which was part of the surprise).
Roger had an extremely annoying personality, and was constantly cheeky, trying Basil's patience with his witty remarks. Basil cooly tried to snub of indications and retorts that Roger made, with replies such as: you read a lot of Oscar Wilde, do you Rog?
After the fiasco that occurred at the hotel, whereby Polly had to dress up as Sybil, after Roger's persistence to see her overwhelmed Basil. Polly had to hide under the guise of Sybil in a room so dimly lit that many of the guests fell over, or caused injury to themselves.
Roger was the only person to come out of the room unscathed, and he remarked to Basil that he had had tremendous fun.
He was a professional, reliable man, as was his firm. Sybil wishes to use him to spruce up the hotel, but Basil hires the cheaper - but totally incompetent cowboy Mr. O'Reilly instead. He does not actually appear on-screen until the very end of the episode.
After several cock-ups Mr. Stubbs inspects his rival O'Reilly's shoddy work, and comes to realize that the hotel is in danger of falling down, and Basil then storms off vowing to insert a large garden gnome in O'Reilly.
Mr. Walt seemed brash, and abrupt. He liked to be left alone, and seemed rather irritable (which was hardly surprising due to Basil's extreme behaviour). He was a connoisseur of wine, and he certainly caught Basil out, for the manager believed that a Bordeaux was not a Claret, he was particularly annoyed when Basil 'corked' his wine, and eventually he poured a glass out himself. Not much attention was paid to him, for Basil was concentrating on Mr. Hutchinson, whom he believed was a hotel inspector.
After a mix-up in communication (Walt mentioned to Basil that he was in Torquay with two partners), Basil swapped his focus from Hutchinson to Walt, believing him to be an inspector. Basil felt guilty after the way that he had treated the man, and even bribed him £50 not to mention the situations that had occurred at the hotel that afternoon.
Bewildered, Walt confessed that he sold outboard motors, and left Basil humiliated, and crying like a sinisterly overgrown baby.
This marks the second appearance of Benson, whom appeared as the mollycoddling Mrs. Heath in Gourmet Night, she remains the only actress who appeared in more than one role in the show.
The Whites came to their room one afternoon to find it was being 'Spring Cleaned'. In reality, Basil, Manuel and Polly were trying to hide the deceased Mr. Leeman, and the unconscious Miss. Tibbs in their wardrobe for the time-being. After a huge kerfuffle, the Whites were allowed into their room, they became frantic after Miss. Tibbs awoke, and Basil made up the excuse that she was slightly dotty and did that kind of thing all the while.
The couple made a mutual agreement that they were going to find another hotel elsewhere. As they drove away, they saw Basil and Manuel holding the remains of Mr. Leeman, and crashed before they left the premises. They were later seen reentering Fawlty Towers at the end of the episode, clearly in a state of trauma/shock.