John Cleese: “We were making fun of his views”
Updated: Fawlty Towers star & creator responds to temporary removal of comedy in the UK.
John Cleese has spoken following the temporary removal of a Fawlty Towers episode in the UK.
British-based streaming service UKTV withdrew Episode 6 “The Germans” to review its content.
Whilst some media have suggested this is due to Hitler references, the episode is also understood to include racial slurs made by a retired British general in reference to a West Indies Cricket Team.
An update on Fawlty Towers for our viewers pic.twitter.com/O0kFR4Md8E
— Official UKTV (@UKTV) June 11, 2020
But co-creator Cleese has told The Age, “One of the things I’ve learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour.
“Some of them understand that if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them.”
He added, “The Major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them.
“If they can’t see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?
“Fawlty Towers has given a large number of people a great deal of happiness, why would you want to stop that?” he asked “It reminds me of the definition of a Scottish Presbyterian as someone who has a nasty, sneaking feeling that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.”
But Cleese also expressed his support for the aims of the Black Lives Matter protest movement.
“At the moment there is a huge swell of anger and a really admirable feeling that we must make our society less discriminatory, and I think that part of it is very good.”
Fawlty Towers remains available in Australia through Stan and Foxtel.
We will be adding extra guidance and warnings to the front of programmes to highlight potentially offensive content and language. We will reinstate Fawlty Towers once that extra guidance has been added, which we expect will be in the coming days. Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/r8B34KnuRZ
— Official UKTV (@UKTV) June 12, 2020
Only 12 episodes were ever produced.