Fawlty Towers is a British television sitcom broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979. Just two series of six episodes each were made; the show was created and written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, who starred in the show and were married at the time of the first series, but divorced before recording the second series. The show was ranked first on a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, in 2019 it was named "greatest British TV sitcom" by a panel of comedy experts compiled by the Radio Times; the series is set in Fawlty Towers, a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay on the "English Riviera". The plots centre on the tense and put-upon owner Basil Fawlty, his bossy wife Sybil, the sensible chambermaid Polly, the peacemaker and voice of reason, the hapless and English-challenged Spanish waiter Manuel, showing their attempts to run the hotel amidst farcical situations and an array of demanding and eccentric guests and tradespeople.
In May 1970, the Monty Python comedy group stayed at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, Devon while filming on location in Paignton. John Cleese was fascinated with the behaviour of the owner, Donald Sinclair describing him as "the rudest man I've come across in my life." Among such behaviour by Sinclair was his criticism of Terry Gilliam's "too American" table etiquette and tossing Eric Idle's briefcase out of a window "in case it contained a bomb." Sinclair justified his actions by claiming the hotel had "staff problems". Cleese and Connie Booth stayed on at the hotel after filming, furthering their research of its owner. At the time, Cleese was a writer on the 1970s British TV sitcom Doctor in the House for London Weekend Television. An early prototype of the character that became known as Basil Fawlty was developed in an episode of the third Doctor series. In this edition, the main character checks into a small-town hotel, his presence winding up the aggressive and incompetent manager with a domineering wife.
The show was broadcast on 30 May 1971. Cleese said in 2008 that the first Fawlty Towers script he and Booth wrote was rejected by the BBC. At a 30th anniversary event honouring the show, Cleese said, "Connie and I wrote that first episode and we sent it in to Jimmy Gilbert," the executive "whose job it was to assess the quality of the writing said, I can quote accurately,'This is full of clichéd situations and stereotypical characters and I cannot see it as being anything other than a disaster.' And Jimmy himself said, ` You're going to have to get them out of John. You can't do the whole thing in the hotel.' Whereas, of course, it's in the hotel that the whole pressure cooker builds up." Cleese was paid £6,000 for 43 weeks' work and supplemented his income by appearing in television advertisements. Although the series is set in Torquay, no part of it was shot in Southwest England. For the exterior filming, the Wooburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire was used instead of a hotel. In several episodes of the series, the entrance gate at the bottom of the drive states the real name of the location.
This listed building served for a short time as a nightclub named "Basil's" after the series ended, before being destroyed by a fire in March 1991. The remnants of the building were demolished and a housing estate was built on the site. Other location filming was done around Harrow, notably the'damn good thrashing' scene in "Gourmet Night" in which Basil loses his temper and attacks his broken-down car with a tree branch, it was filmed at the T-junction of Mentmore Close. In the episode "The Germans", the opening shot is of Northwick Park Hospital. In "Gourmet Night," the exterior of André's restaurant was filmed on Preston Road in the Harrow area; the launderette next door to the restaurant still exists, but André's now is a Chinese and Indian restaurant called Wings. Both Cleese and Booth were keen on every script being perfect, some episodes took four months and required as many as ten drafts until they were satisfied; the series focuses on the exploits and misadventures of short-fused hotelier Basil Fawlty and his acerbic wife Sybil, as well as their employees: porter and waiter Manuel, maid Polly Sherman, and, in the second series, chef Terry.
The episodes revolve around Basil's efforts to "raise the tone" of his hotel and his increasing frustration at numerous complications and mistakes, both his own and those of others, which prevent him from doing so. Much of the humour comes from Basil's overly aggressive manner, engaging in angry but witty arguments with guests, staff and, in particular, whom he addresses with insults such as "that golfing puff adder", "my little piranha fish" and "my little nest of vipers". Despite this, Basil feels intimidated, Sybil being able to cow him at any time with a short, sharp cry of "Basil!" At the end of some episodes, Basil succeeds in annoying the guests and gets his comeuppance. The plots are intricate and always farcical, involving coincidences, misunderstandings, cross-purposes and meetings both missed and accidental; the innuendo of the bedroom farce is sometimes present but it is his eccentricity, not his lust, that drives the plots. The events test to the breaking point what little patience Basil has, sometimes causing him to have a near breakdown b
Mr. Bean is a British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and starring Atkinson as the title character; the sitcom consisted of 15 episodes that were co-written by Atkinson alongside Curtis and Robin Driscoll. The series was broadcast on ITV, beginning with the pilot on 1 January 1990 and ending with "The Best Bits of Mr. Bean" on 15 December 1995; the fourteenth episode, "Hair by Mr. Bean of London", was not broadcast on television until 25 August 2006 on Nickelodeon. Based on a character developed by Atkinson while he was studying for his master's degree at Oxford University, the series centres on Mr. Bean, described by Atkinson as "a child in a grown man's body", as he solves various problems presented by everyday tasks and causes disruption in the process; the series has been influenced by physical comedy actors such as Jacques Tati and those from early silent films. During its original five-year run, Mr. Bean met with widespread acclaim and attracted large television audiences.
The series was viewed by 18.74 million viewers for the episode "The Trouble with Mr. Bean" and has received a number of international awards, including the Rose d'Or; the series has been sold in 245 territories worldwide and has inspired an animated spin-off and two theatrical feature-length films along with Atkinson reprising his role as Mr. Bean for a performance at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, television commercials and several sketches for Comic Relief. Besides the acclaim of the show, another reason for the show's appeal in hundreds of territories worldwide is the fact that the show uses little intelligible dialogue, making it much more accessible to people who know little-to-no English; the character of Mr. Bean was developed while Rowan Atkinson was studying for his master's degree in electrical engineering at The Queen's College, Oxford. A sketch featuring Bean was shown at the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1980s. A similar character called Robert Box played by Atkinson himself, appeared in the one-off 1979 ITV sitcom Canned Laughter which featured routines used in the motion picture in 1997.
One of Bean's earliest appearances occurred at the "Just for Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Canada, in 1987. When programme coordinators were scheduling him into the festival programme, Atkinson insisted that he perform on the French-speaking bill rather than the English-speaking programme. Having no French dialogue in his act at all, programme coordinators could not understand why Atkinson wanted to perform on the French bill instead; as it turned out, Atkinson's act at the festival was a test platform for his character and he wanted to see how his character's physical comedy would fare on an international stage with a non-English speaking audience. The character's name was not decided. Atkinson cited the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot, created by French comedian and director Jacques Tati, as an influence on the character. Stylistically, Mr. Bean is very similar to early silent films, relying purely upon physical comedy with Mr. Bean speaking little dialogue; this has allowed the series to be sold worldwide without any significant changes to dialogue.
In November 2012, Atkinson told The Daily Telegraph of his intentions to retire the character, stating that "someone in their fifties being childlike becomes a little sad." In 2016 however, Atkinson changed his mind by saying. The title character and main protagonist, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a childish buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks, he lives alone at the address of Flat 2, 12 Arbour Road, Highbury and is always seen in his trademark tweed jacket and a skinny red tie. He usually wears a digital calculator watch. Mr. Bean speaks, when he does, it is only a few mumbled words which are in a comically low-pitched voice, his first name and profession, if any, are never mentioned. In the first film adaptation, "Mr." appears on his passport in the "first name" field and he is shown employed as a guard at London's National Gallery. Mr. Bean seems unaware of basic aspects of the way the world works, the programme features his attempts at what would be considered simple activities, such as going swimming, using a television set, interior decorating or going to church.
The humour comes from his original solutions to problems and his total disregard for others when solving them, his pettiness and occasional malevolence. In the beginning of episode two, Mr. Bean falls from the sky in a beam of light accompanied by a choir singing Ecce homo qui est faba, sung by the Southwark Cathedral choir in 1990; the opening sequence was in black and white in episodes two and three, intended by the producers to show his status as an "ordinary man cast into the spotlight". However episodes showed Mr. Bean dropping from the night sky in a deserted London street against the backdrop of St Paul's Cathedral. At the end of episodes three and six, he is shown being sucked right back up into the sky in the respective background scenes. Regarding the opening credits, Atkinson has acknowledged that Bean "has a alien aspect to him". In the Mr. Bean: The Animated Series episode "Double Trouble", the alien aspect of him was used in a stor
The Spectator is a weekly British magazine on politics and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828, it is owned by David and Frederick Barclay who own The Daily Telegraph newspaper, via Press Holdings. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture, its editorial outlook is supportive of the Conservative Party, although regular contributors include some outside that fold, such as Frank Field, Rod Liddle and Martin Bright. The magazine contains arts pages on books, music and film and TV reviews. Editorship of The Spectator has been a step on the ladder to high office in the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. Past editors include Boris Johnson and other former cabinet members Iain Macleod, Ian Gilmour, Nigel Lawson. In late 2008, Spectator Australia was launched; this offers 12 pages of "Unique Australian Content" in addition to the full UK contents. Readership of The Spectator Australia was revealed through a court case as being 3,000; the Spectator's founding editor, the Dundonian reformer Robert Stephen Rintoul, launched the paper in July 1828 with a first issue for the "week ending Saturday July 5, 1828".
He revived the title from the 1711 publication by Addison & Steele. As he had long been determined "to edit a perfect newspaper", Rintoul insisted on "absolute power" over content, commencing a long-lasting tradition of the paper's editor and proprietor being one and the same person; the Spectator’s political outlook in its first thirty years reflected Rintoul’s liberal-radical agenda. Despite its political stance it was regarded and respected for its non-partisanship. Under Rintoul The Spectator came out for the Great Reform Act of 1832, coining the well-known phrase, "The Bill, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill", in its support, it objected to the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as Prime Minister, condemning him as "a Field Marshal whose political career proves him to be utterly destitute of political principle – whose military career affords ample evidence of his stern and remorseless temperament."The magazine was vocal in its opposition to the First Opium War, commenting: "all the alleged aims of the expedition against China are vague and incapable of explanation, save only that of making the Chinese pay the opium-smugglers." and "There does not appear to be much glory gained in a contest so unequal that hundreds are killed on one side and none on the other.
What honour is there in going to shoot men, certain that they cannot hurt you? The cause of the war, be it remembered, is as disreputable as the strength of the parties is unequal; the war is undertaken in support of a co-partnery of opium-smugglers, in which the Anglo-Indian Government may be considered as the principal partner."In 1853 it published an anonymous and unfavourable review of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House revealed to be by George Brimley, typical of the paper's enduring contempt for him as a "popular" writer "amusing the idle hours of the greatest number of readers. Thereafter, it went into an accelerated period of decline. Records are scarce but it appears that it was owned by a Mr Scott and bought for £4200 in December 1858 by two London-based Americans, James McHenry and Benjamin Moran. McHenry was a businessman and Moran was an Assistant Secretary to the ambassador, George M. Dallas; the editor was Thornton Hunt, a friend of Moran who had worked for Rintoul. Hunt was nominally the purchaser, having been given the necessary monies in an attempt by McHenry and Moran to disguise the American ownership.
Circulation declined with this loss of independence and inspirational leadership, the views of James Buchanan, the president of the US, came to the fore. Within weeks, the editorial line followed Buchanan's pronouncements in being "...neither pro-slavery nor pro-abolitionist. To unsympathetic observers Buchanan's policy seemed to apportion blame for the impasse on the slavery question on pro-slavery and abolitionist factions – and rather than work out a solution to argue that a solution would take time; the Spectator now would publicly support that'policy.'". This set it at odds with most of the British press but gained it the sympathy of ex-patriate Americans in the country. Richard Fulton notes that from until 1861, "... the Spectator's commentary on American affairs read like a Buchanan administration propaganda sheet." And that this represented a volte-face. On 19 January 1861, The Spectator was bought by a journalist, Meredith Townsend, for £2000; the need to promote the Buchanan position in Britain had been reduced as British papers such as The Times and The Saturday Review turned in his favour, fearing the potential effects of a split in the Union.
Abraham Lincoln had replaced the vacillating Buchanan and Moran's position in London was in doubt now that Dallas had been removed as ambassador. In addition, the owners had been pumping money into a loss-making publication and were reluctant to continue the practice. From the outset, Townsend took up an anti-Buchanan, anti-slavery position, arguing that his unwillingness to act decisively had been a weakness and a contributor to the problems apparent in the US, he soon went into partnership with Richard Holt Hutton, a theologian whose friend William Gladstone called him "the first critic of the nineteenth century". Townsend's wri
Association football, more known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport; the game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. Association football is one of a family of football codes, which emerged from various ball games played worldwide since antiquity; the modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were codified in England by The Football Association. Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms; the team that scores most goals by the end of the match wins.
If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years; the rules of association football were codified in England by the Football Association in 1863 and the name association football was coined to distinguish the game from the other forms of football played at the time rugby football. The first written "reference to the inflated ball used in the game" was in the mid-14th century: "Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe"; the Online Etymology Dictionary states that the "rules of the game" were made in 1848, before the "split off in 1863". The term soccer comes from a slang or jocular abbreviation of the word "association", with the suffix "-er" appended to it; the word soccer was first recorded in 1889 in the earlier form of socca.
Within the English-speaking world, association football is now called "football" in the United Kingdom and "soccer" in Canada and the United States. People in countries where other codes of football are prevalent may use either term, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now use "football" for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is evidence. Cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net, it was remarkably similar to modern football. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established. Phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup. Athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda and harpastum were played involving hands and violence.
They all appear to have resembled rugby football and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified "mob football", the antecedent of all modern football codes, these three games involved more handling the ball than kicking. Other games included kemari in chuk-guk in Korea. Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other ball games played around the world FIFA has recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe; the modern rules of association football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the varying forms of football played in the public schools of England. The history of football in England dates back to at least the eighth century AD; the Cambridge Rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Rugby and Shrewsbury schools.
They were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football; some came up with their own distinct codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield Football Club, formed by former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of a Sheffield FA in 1867. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School devised an influential set of rules; these ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was Charterhouse; the Freemason's Tavern was the setting for five more meetings between October and December, which produced the first comprehensive set of rules. At the final meeting, the first FA treasurer, the representative from Blackheath, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting: the first allowed for running with the ball in hand.
Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA and instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The eleven remaining clubs, under
The Independent is a British online newspaper. Established in 1986 as a politically independent national morning newspaper published in London, it was controlled by Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media from 1997 until it was sold to Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev in 2010; the last printed edition of The Independent was published on Saturday 26 March 2016, leaving only its digital editions. Nicknamed the Indy, it began as a broadsheet, but changed to tabloid format in 2003; until September 2011, the paper described itself on the banner at the top of every newspaper as "free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence". It tends to take a pro-market stance on economic issues; the daily edition was named National Newspaper of the Year at the 2004 British Press Awards. In June 2015, it had an average daily circulation of just below 58,000, 85 per cent down from its 1990 peak, while the Sunday edition had a circulation of just over 97,000. Launched in 1986, the first issue of The Independent was published on 7 October in broadsheet format.
It was produced by Newspaper Publishing plc and created by Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Matthew Symonds. All three partners were former journalists at The Daily Telegraph who had left the paper towards the end of Lord Hartwell's ownership. Marcus Sieff was the first chairman of Newspaper Publishing, Whittam Smith took control of the paper; the paper was created at a time of a fundamental change in British newspaper publishing. Rupert Murdoch was challenging long-accepted practices of the print unions and defeated them in the Wapping dispute. Production costs could be reduced which, it was said at the time, created openings for more competition; as a result of controversy around Murdoch's move to Wapping, the plant was having to function under siege from sacked print workers picketing outside. The Independent attracted some of the staff from the two Murdoch broadsheets who had chosen not to move to his company's new headquarters. Launched with the advertising slogan "It is. Are you?", challenging both The Guardian for centre-left readers and The Times as the newspaper of record, The Independent reached a circulation of over 400,000 by 1989.
Competing in a moribund market, The Independent sparked a general freshening of newspaper design as well as, within a few years, a price war in the market sector. When The Independent launched The Independent on Sunday in 1990, sales were less than anticipated due to the launch of the Sunday Correspondent four months prior, although this direct rival closed at the end of November 1990; some aspects of production merged with the main paper, although the Sunday paper retained a distinct editorial staff. In the 1990s, The Independent was faced with price cutting by the Murdoch titles, started an advertising campaign accusing The Times and The Daily Telegraph of reflecting the views of their proprietors, Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black, it featured spoofs of the other papers' mastheads with the words The Rupert Murdoch or The Conrad Black, with The Independent below the main title. Newspaper Publishing had financial problems. A number of other media companies were interested in the paper. Tony O'Reilly's media group and Mirror Group Newspapers had bought a stake of about a third each by mid-1994.
In March 1995, Newspaper Publishing was restructured with a rights issue, splitting the shareholding into O'Reilly's Independent News & Media, MGN, Prisa. In April 1996, there was another refinancing, in March 1998, O'Reilly bought the other shares of the company for £30 million, assumed the company's debt. Brendan Hopkins headed Independent News, Andrew Marr was appointed editor of The Independent, Rosie Boycott became editor of The Independent on Sunday. Marr introduced a dramatic if short-lived redesign which won critical favour but was a commercial failure as a result of a limited promotional budget. Marr admitted his changes had been a mistake in My Trade. Boycott left in April 1998 to join the Daily Express, Marr left in May 1998 becoming the BBC's political editor. Simon Kelner was appointed as the editor. By this time the circulation had fallen below 200,000. Independent News spent to increase circulation, the paper went through several redesigns. While circulation increased, it did not approach the level, achieved in 1989, or restore profitability.
Job cuts and financial controls reduced the quality of the product. Ivan Fallon, on the board since 1995 and a key figure at The Sunday Times, replaced Hopkins as head of Independent News & Media in July 2002. By mid-2004, the newspaper was losing £5 million per year. A gradual improvement meant. In November 2008, following further staff cuts, production was moved to Northcliffe House, in Kensington High Street, the headquarters of Associated Newspapers; the two newspaper groups' editorial and commercial operations remained separate, but they shared services including security, information technology and payroll. On 25 March 2010, Independent News & Media sold the newspaper to Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev for a nominal £1 fee and £9.25m over the next 10 months, choosing this option over closing The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, which would have cost £28m and £40m due to long-term contracts. In 2009, Lebedev had bought a controlling stake in the London Evening Standard. Two weeks editor Roger Alton resigned.
In July 2011, The Independent's columnist Johann Hari was stripped of the Orwell Prize he had won in 2008 after claims, to which Hari admitted, of plagiarism and inaccuracy. In January 2012, Chris Blackhurst