We’ve probably mentioned this a few times over the years, but “Fawlty Towers” is one of our favorite series of all time. It was brilliant, irreverent, and it introduced British comedy to many of the world stage. As much as we love John Cleese (and we really do), this series will always remain the high point of his career in our mind. It’s incredibly short — you can get through the entire series in a day without too much strain — and it is worth every second of your time if you get a chance to check it out.
The news came in earlier today that actor Andrew Sachs, who played the brilliant bellman / waiter / man-of-man-other things Manuel on the series, passed away at the age of 86. He was known for some other shows including “Coronation Street,” but this is the case of a part being so iconic to us that it’s impossible to think of him as anything else. One of the running jokes throughout the series was that Manuel was from Barcelona, and Cleese’s Basil Fawlty often used that as an excuse to berate him when things weren’t quite going the way he expected. While it’d be easy to label the Basil character as xenophobic (in some ways it may be true), the show was satirical about it, and often Manuel knew what he was doing and Basil was the dullard.
There are so many great Manuel moments we could have mentioned within here, whether it be him singing during “Gourmet Night” or pretty much the entire episode “Basil the Rat,” but we bring you below one of our favorite clips: A moment where Manuel, while practicing his English, makes Major (one of the occupants of Fawlty Towers) believe that Basil’s moose head is speaking to him. This wasn’t intentional on Manuel’s part, and that was one of the reasons it was so hilarious.
We’ll remember Sachs fondly from his work on this show, and for being so game to take on any style of comedy thrown at him. You can also check out a personal tribute from Cleese’s official Twitter account from earlier in the day below.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Sachs’ family during this incredibly difficult time for them.