John Cleese, 83, is a British comedy legend. American audiences know him as a star of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and “Fawlty Towers,” where he played the idiotic owner of a resort hotel. Cleese is now preparing to revive “Fawlty Towers” for a new generation of fans.
Cleese is a devout believer in free speech. He has long worried that “cancel culture” is leading to a “neurotic society” where creativity is “stifled” and “self-censored.” For that reason, he is refusing to bring the remake to the woke BBC, where the original aired.
Asked if he wanted to work with the BBC, Cleese says: “No, because you wouldn’t get the freedom.” Indeed in 2020, the network pulled the classic “Fawlty Towers” episode “Don’t Mention the War,” from reruns. Believe it or not, it was viewed as offensive even though its main theme satirized Nazis and racists.
Cleese is already being attacked by critics, with the left-wing Guardian newspaper huffing that any remake of “Fawlty Towers” will be an “anti-woke nightmare.”
“They obviously know better than I do what’s going to be in it,” Cleese told GB News. “Maybe they should write an episode for me that they would find acceptable. Might not be very funny, but I’m sure it would really please some of their readers.”
We are reminded of Cleese’s 1987 classic on extremism: