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German Basil avoids 'war'

German Basil avoids 'war'

BBC Worldwide's German remake of classic comedy Fawlty Towers will be much like the British original - except for the absence of the "Don't mention the war" sketch.

The new series, announced by Worldwide last year, will be produced by Cologne-based company Clou Entertainment and shown on German channel RTL.

Other changes to the anarchic 70s sitcom - starring John Cleese as seaside guesthouse owner Basil Fawlty - include moving the hotel from Torquay to the North Sea island resort of Sylt.

BBC Worldwide's Catherine Powell said: "The scenes with the Germans will not be made - it wouldn't be that funny."

John Cleese loses control

The original 70s Fawlty Towers starred Monty Python veteran Cleese as the inept and irritable Fawlty, whose attempts to assert control inevitably spiralled into chaos.

Only 12 programmes were made but the series has acquired classic cult status.

The notorious episode The Germans saw Basil playing host to a family of German guests.

Inevitably, things descended into chaos as his exaggerated lengths to avoid any references to World War II proved as subtle as a brick.

Indeed, despite his efforts, Basil ended up shouting about Colditz salads and goose-stepping around the dining room.

Makeovers

So far, only a pilot episode has been filmed for the new series.

It sticks closely to the first episode of the original series and sees Basil's disastrous attempts to raise the tone of the hotel by excluding "riffraff".

Cleese acted as consultant on the new series

RTL will decide in the autumn whether to proceed with the full series.

If it does, Powell said, the producers will work with the original British scripts.

Cleese, who created Fawlty Towers with his then wife Connie Booth, worked as a consultant on the German version.

He said he was "looking forward to the German version because it gives me the opportunity to visit Germany to improve my terrible German".

The series has been popular in Germany since BBC Worldwide first sold it to the country in 1993.

The Fawlty Towers deal was part of an ongoing BBC Worldwide initiative to sell a number of popular BBC programmes to countries abroad.

It has since been sold to 70 countries. Other national makeovers include Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister in Hindi.

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