Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 17:56 UK

Weston not so super says Cleese

John Cleese with lemur
John Cleese used to visit the lemurs at Bristol Zoo as a schoolboy

Actor John Cleese has criticised his former home town of Weston-super-Mare.

The Monty Python star spoke out during a visit to nearby Bristol.

Now living in the US, the star said: "I was very disappointed. It's really not very beautiful anymore. There used to be bits of it that were lovely."

Keith Morris, Weston Town Council leader, said: "I am very disappointed that he should make such disparaging remarks about his home town."

But Mr Cleese also seemed to indicate he thinks people who live in the North Somerset town would agree with his views.

He said: "The Westonians are aware of it and I think they are going to start doing something about it. It was very sad to see it - very unattractive.

I wonder just how much time he spent walking around Weston , I suspect very little.
Councillor Keith Morris
"Whereas I have to say in contrast walking around Clifton - it's staggeringly beautiful. The architecture here - beautiful house after beautiful house. It's a pleasure to walk round the streets."

The area should benefit from several regeneration projects including a 30m scheme for the former Tropicana site with a hotel, restaurant, cinema and swimming pool.

About 80,00 is also being spent on the dilapidated Birnbeck Pier.

Mr Morris added: "There are, of course, many current problems affecting the town, especially the essential works to the sea front which, when completed, will greatly improve the appearance of the area as well as protecting many thousands of properties from flooding.

"There are many other projects in hand which, had Mr Cleese contacted either the town or North Somerset Councils, could have been explained to him.

"I wonder just how much time he spent walking around Weston , I suspect very little."

The Fawlty Towers writer and star is being interviewed by Chris Serle at The Clifton Pavilion Theatre at Bristol Zoo Gardens for three nights from 23 to 25 July.

He has been involved in lemur conservation for many years since his schoolboy visits to the zoo when he would head straight for the lemurs.

He has even had one of the newer species of lemur named after him - Avahi Cleesei.

Cash grant to aid pier's future
10 Jun 08 |  Somerset
Zoo submits 70m park proposals
17 Jul 08 |  Bristol/Somerset


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