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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Sybil to return to Fawlty Towers
Basil and Sybil Fawlty
Prunella Scales shot to fame as Basil Fawlty's wife Sybil
Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales is to star at the reopening of the Torquay hotel which inspired the legendary series.

Scales, who played the long-suffering Sybil, is set to arrive in a replica of the Austin 1100 famously thrashed with a branch by her screen husband Basil.

The event on 18 September is to mark a refurbishment of the Hotel Gleneagles.

It will be the first time Scales has visited the hotel - which is a local landmark because of Fawlty Towers.

It is the spiritual home of Fawlty Towers
Hotel co-owner Brian Shone

Hotel co-owner Brian Shone, said: "We want to make her arrival as memorable as possible and what better way than to have her arrive in the back of a red Austin 1100."

Basil's thrashing of his recalcitrant 1100 in the Gourmet Night episode once topped a poll of memorable motoring moments, beating the Italian Job's car chase.

Show creator John Cleese based the character of Basil Fawlty on Donald Sinclair, a former owner of the Hotel Gleneagles.

Eric Idle's suitcase

Cleese, who stayed at the hotel with the Monty Python team in 1971, described Mr Sinclair as "the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met".

Mr Sinclair, who died in 1981, is said to have thrown Eric Idle's suitcase out of the window "in case it contained a bomb" and complained about Terry Gilliam's table manners.

Fawlty car
The car thrashing scene is a favourite among motorists

The actual hotel seen at the start and end of the series was the Wooburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire, but that burned down in 1991.

The Gleneagles has become a popular tourist destination.

Mr Shone, said: "We get about eight or 10 coaches a day stopping outside.

"Some people just want to walk about inside.

"It is the spiritual home of Fawlty Towers."

Mr Shone keeps Fawlty Towers memorabilia inside the foyer of the hotel which, with its new boutique hotel look, is otherwise very different from the hotel in the series.

Fawlty Towers has proved to be one of the most enduring sitcoms in TV history.

Despite only running for 12 episodes, it regularly tops polls of favourite TV shows.




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