Polly Sherman, played by Connie Booth, is a waitress and general helper at the hotel. She is the most competent of the hotel's staff and the voice of sanity during chaotic moments, but is frequently embroiled in ridiculous masquerades as she loyally attempts to aid Basil in trying to cover a mistake or keep something from Sybil.
In "The Anniversary" she snaps and refuses to help Basil out when he wants her to impersonate Sybil in semi-darkness in front of the Fawltys' friends, Basil having dug himself into a hole by claiming Sybil was ill instead of admitting that she had stormed out earlier. Polly only finally agrees on condition that he lends her money to purchase a car, which he has previously refused to do.
Polly is generally good-natured but sometimes shows her frustration, and has odd moments of malice. In "The Kipper and the Corpse", the pampered shih-tzu dog of an elderly guest bites Polly and Manuel. As revenge Polly laces the dog's sausages with hot pepper, chilli powder and Tabasco sauce ("bangers a la bang"), making it ill.
Despite her part-time employment (during meal times), Polly is frequently saddled with many other duties, including manager in "The Germans" when Sybil and Basil are both incapacitated. In the first series Polly is said to be an art student who, according to Basil, has spent three years at university. In one episode, she is seen to draw a sketch (presumably an impressionistic caricature) of Basil, which everyone but Basil immediately recognises. Polly is not referred to as a student in the second series, although in both series she is shown to have a flair for languages, displaying ability in both Spanish and German. In "The Germans" Basil alludes to Polly's polyglot inclination by saying that she does her work "while learning two oriental languages". Like Manuel, she has a room of her own at the hotel.