I may be calling for a classic remake of Fawlty Towers a bit late, but the cast are all alive and I really can’t imagine any other actor in the iconic role of ‘Basil Fawlty’ (John Cleese), so we might as well do it now, whilst there’s time. Despite the show originally airing in the late 70’s, it was a staple of my childhood. The complete box set was always there for me whenever I was ill off school or bored in the holidays and I’d often watch all of it.
There is something incredibly simple and effective about the combination of slapstick and silliness that is Fawlty Towers, which few titles have captured since. It may be due to its brevity (only having two, six episode, seasons) but Fawlty Towers never disappointed and in comparison to the raft of modern sitcoms, it possessed a consistency, rarely found today. Seeing as this is being written due to the Vicar of Dibley having a comic relief special, I’d like to say now that I’d donate £20 if they remade this classic and little else would make me happier.
Frasier is, hands down, one of the greatest American sitcoms of all time. There is a reason that, over its run, it has won a remarkable thirty-seven Primetime Emmy Awards. The fact that reruns are still played daily is further proof that the show is in need of a comeback.
The characters are what really makes the show. Frasier and his brother Niles are your typical elite; they resemble many of the students that you might come across at Warwick. From meeting every morning at Café Nervosa for a non-fat cappuccino with just a sprinkle of cinnamon to their weekend trips to classical concerts, it’s hard not to laugh at them while sympathising at the same time.
Another comical element that really ties the show together is Nile’s mysterious wife, Maris. So thin that she is barely visible to the naked eye, so weak that she risks straining her back by carrying a handbag, she’s hard to forget – especially when we have never actually seen her. In this way, she becomes a sort of mythological monster; just the mention of her name is enough to throw the characters into a state of panic and confusion.
If the producers of Frasier are reading this, take note! We’d love to see the show come back to our screens.
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching the show, Black Books is a series that centres around the anti-customer bookseller and alcoholic curmudgeon Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), his generally inebriated friend Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Grieg) and his eternally optimistic live-in shop boy/‘plaything’ Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey). Throughout the three seasons, the audience follows the eccentric trio on their hilarious misadventures both in and out of the shop Black Books.
In addition to its wonderful cast (the show also featured appearances from Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, for you fellow Spaced lovers, amongst others) Black Books has a number of highlights which makes it one of the great classics of British comedy – which is hardly surprising given that it was penned by Graham Lineham and Dylan Moran. The script is lively and thoroughly quotable, whether its Bernard’s biting remarks (“Look at that face! I bet his Corn Flakes tried to crawl out of the bowl!”) or the ingenious touches of surrealism you find in the series. In one of my favourite scenes, Bernard hides under a dinner table in order to escape conversation with Manny’s parents, and the camera reveals a bar underneath, complete with a bartender.
A classic show that I would love to see return ended fairly recently, but I am very hesitant simply because Monk had a perfect ending. The finale saw the OCD-stricken detective finally solving the murder of his wife, and discovering that she had a secret daughter, giving him someone to love again. All the characters were happy, and getting on with their respective lives – Randy (with Sharona) became police chief of Summit, Stottlemeyer was a married man and Natalie had her life with Monk sorted.
Some one-off specials were to be filmed, but the funding collapsed – this would be the perfect way to do it. Monk still has so much story-telling potential, and a special would guarantee a top quality script, packed with an excellent puzzle and all the Monk charm. There’d be humour, and hopefully a few touching moments, possibly dealing with Monk’s late wife. He is a beloved character, and a lot of people would be very glad to catch up with him.