This episode is the one where Basil is notified of the impending visit of a hotel inspector, and of course immediately goes out of his way to please the wrong person. A lovely guest appearance from Bernard Cribbins (‘I’m not a violent man, Mr Fawlty’), a bit of farce with Polly over an omelette and a request to shut up, and a finely timed scream at the end.
John Cleese undoubtedly found the role of his life in the bossy and unhinged hotelier, trapped in an awful Torquay hotel with his fussy and domineering wife Sybil (Prunella Scales). Their waiter/dogsbody Manuel (‘from Barcelona’) may be a stereotype from a time when an international mix of neighbours was very rare, but as a comic creation he is so well drawn he remains amusing.
The Hotel Inspectors is one of the best of the series, tightly written, memorable, and doesn’t have a misplaced or unnecessary word in the scripts. Just don’t choose that particular place of repose for your seaside holiday!