Council in Torquay slammed for using ‘grotty’ Basil Fawlty to demonstrate social distancing


BUNGLING Basil Fawlty was causing uproar again after being used to demonstrate social distancing in the posh resort he made famous.

Businesses in Torquay are furious after John Cleese’s gawky, ill-tempered hotelier from the 1970s sitcom appeared in a Facebook ad urging locals to keep apart.

Torbay council, which covers the town, captioned it: “Social distancing the Torbay way. Two metres = one Basil Fawlty.”

John Cleese, 80, is 1.96m.

But local entrepreneurs on the “English Riviera” say they have worked hard to escape the image associated with hapless snob Basil’s Fawlty ­Towers hotel.

The BBC recently removed The Germans episode from UKTV for its “racial slurs” before reinstating it recently with a warning about “offensive content”.

Helen Brenton, marketing officer for some upmarket flats in Torquay, said: “We’ve spent years as an industry trying to shake off the ‘grotty’ Fawlty Towers association.

“We should be encouraging visitors to see us as a classy resort with professional and welcoming operators.”

Michelin-starred chef Simon Hulstone, who runs The ­Elephant restaurant which overlooks the harbour, added: “We are meant to be encouraging business and visitors not telling them we don’t like them!!!”

Some enjoyed the campaign, hailing the council’s “sense of humour”.

Torbay council was approached for comment.

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