The seaside hotel in Torquay that inspired John Cleese to create the beloved British sitcom Fawlty Towers is being demolished to make way for retirement homes.
Cleese, co-writer of the television series, stayed at the hotel in 1971 when he was in the area filming Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He and other members of the comedy team were booked into the hotel and were amazed at the chilly greeting they received from their hosts, Donald Sinclair and his wife, Beatrice.
The other Pythons moved to another hotel but Cleese stayed on and later used the Sinclairs as templates for Basil and Sybil Fawlty. He once described Sinclair as “the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met”.
Donald Sinclair died in 1981 and the hotel changed hands. In recent years it ran Fawlty Towers-themed events and attracted a steady stream of fans from across the world who stayed there or posed for pictures outside. Beatrice Sinclair died in 2010, aged 95.
The 41-bedroom hotel closed last year and the site is being developed by Churchill Retirement Living, which has been granted permission to build 32 retirement flats on the site.
In its description of the development, the company says Torquay in Devon boasts a “busy harbour and an international marina that could fool you into thinking you were on the Mediterranean”. It does not mention the site’s place in British comedy history.
There was a sense of melancholy in and around Torquay as the demolition teams moved in. Ray Johnson, 57, from Paignton in Devon, said: “I’m a huge fan of Fawlty Towers and am really sad to see the old Gleneagles building go. My wife and I would often visit the hotel to meet up with friends for coffee. We used to enjoy looking at the Fawlty Towers memorabilia in the reception area. It’s another piece of local history that will soon be gone forever.”
Nicola Hearn, from Torquay, said: “The town is known around the world because of Fawlty Towers. It all started with the Gleneagles hotel. It was a local landmark and I knew people that worked there after Mr Sinclair sold it. So it is sad to see it finally demolished – it’s the end of an era.”
Over the years, those involved in the hotel reacted to its fame – or notoriety – in different ways. Beatrice Sinclair always tried to distance herself from the Cleese connection, once blaming the Pythons rather than her husband. “They didn’t fit into a family hotel,” she said. “They kept annoying my husband and were quite insulting.”
When the hotel was renovated in 2006, the new owners embraced the connection, inviting Prunella Scales, who played Sybil Fawlty, as guest of honour. She arrived in a replica of the red Austin 1100 that Basil thrashed with a branch in one of the sitcom’s most famous scenes. It was the first time she had visited – the show was shot in Thames Valley and the opening exterior shots are of the Wooburn Grange country club in Buckinghamshire. It was badly damaged by fire in 1991 – and also demolished.
The English Riveria Tourism Company has shifted its focus to Agatha Christie’s connections with the area. However it does have a section dedicated to Fawlty Towers on its website, in which it says Python Terry Gilliam was told off by the real-life Basil for using his knife and fork incorrectly.
Speaking last year to the local paper, the Herald Express, Cleese said he had long had an affinity with Devon. He used to visit with a school friend and they would play crazy golf and watch Torquay United.
“There is something really rather exotic about Torquay, with the palm trees – the English Riviera as Basil referred to it once,” Cleese said. “There is something comical about dumping this horrendous little English hotel in slightly swell surroundings.”
Members of the Python team have recalled their time at Gleneagles. Eric Idle returned to the hotel to find his bag had been removed and hidden behind a distant wall in the garden. Donald Sinclair apparently told him they thought it might be a bomb. Idle asked: “Why would anyone want to bomb your hotel?” To which the hotelier replied: “We’ve had a lot of staff problems lately.”
Michael Palin recalled that Donald Sinclair “seemed to view us as a colossal inconvenience”, while his wife threatened them with a bill for a stay of two weeks even though they had checked out quickly. “But off we went with lighter hearts,” Palin added.
Emmy Nominations 2019: See The Full List
The 2019 Emmys have arrived. The 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Fox this Sunday, September 22, at 8 pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific, and honor some of the biggest television achievements of the past year.
As usual, the major awards will be split into separate categories for comedy and drama. On the drama side, the 2019 nominations are both dominated by Game of Thrones — which is expected to set a new record for most Emmy wins by a single season — and unusually wide open. Many shows that would otherwise be contenders — including The Crown, Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale — did not air during the eligibility window (June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019), either because they wanted to avoid competing against Game of Thrones or because they simply couldn’t produce a new season in time.
The thought held by many was that Game of Thrones would turn in an unbeatable swan song and the race would open up again in 2020. In hindsight, that final season was widely criticized and not nearly as unrivaled in its Emmy worthiness as many expected it to be. Nevertheless, Game of Thrones is still the frontrunner in multiple drama categories.
Game of Thrones is also the only show to be nominated in all seven drama categories. In addition to nods for Outstanding Drama Series, Directing for a Drama Series, and Writing for a Drama Series, stars Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama and Lead Actress in a Drama, respectively.
And the show has pretty much overwhelmed the final two drama categories, with Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams all nominated for Supporting Actress in a Drama, and Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage all nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama. In total, between the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys, Game of Thrones’ final season earned 32 nominations, the most received in a single year by any show in the history of the awards.
Having already won 10 awards at the Creative Arts Emmys — which were held last weekend and mainly honor the technical elements of TV production like cinematography, editing, and visual effects — Game of Thrones needs just two more to tie its own record for most Emmys won by a single season of any show. It needs only three to break that record.
The few contenders looking to upset Game of Thrones include This Is Us, Better Call Saul (returning to the race after being nominated in 2017 and sitting out last year), Killing Eve, Pose, Succession, Ozark, and Bodyguard.
Perhaps the biggest player on the comedy side is the final season of HBO’s Veep. After star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, Veep, the reigning comedy champ, sat out the Emmys in 2018. And in its absence, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home the major awards.
With Veep back in contention this year — and for its final season, no less — the series easily snagged a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Its fellow contenders in the category include last year’s winner, Mrs. Maisel; returning nominee Barry; and newcomers to the race Russian Doll, The Good Place, Fleabag, and Schitt’s Creek.
Louis-Dreyfus is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, an honor she has as already won six times for her role as Selina Meyer (on top of a Lead Actress in a Comedy win for The New Adventures of Old Christine and a Supporting Actress in a Comedy win for Seinfeld). She’ll go head to head with Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne, Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan (who won last year), and Schitt’s Creek’s Catherine O’Hara, among others.
Here’s the list of 2019 Emmy nominees in all the major categories:
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Mahershala Ali, True Detective
Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Aunjanue Ellis, When They See us
Joey King, The Act
Niecy Nash, When They See Us
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
Asante Blackk, When They See Us
Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate, Dead To Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Stephen Root, Barry
Henry Winkler, Barry
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tony Hale, Veep
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Julia Garner, Ozark
Outstanding Reality Competition Series
American Ninja Warrior
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
At Home With Amy Sedaris
I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
Saturday Night Live
Who Is America?
Outstanding Television Movie
My Dinner with Hervé
Outstanding Limited Series
Escape at Dannemora
When They See Us
Blade Runner Star Rutger Hauer Has Died Aged 75
Hollywood star Rutger Hauer has died aged 75.
The actor was best known for playing Roy Batty in the 1982 movie Blade Runner and also Sin City, Batman Begins and TV show True Blood.
His agent Steve Kenis confirmed Hauer died on Friday following a short illness. His funeral was held on Wednesday.
Tributes have begun pouring in for the star, with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeting to say: “RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films.”
KISS musician Gene Simmons wrote: “Sad to hear Rutger Hauer has passed away. He was always a gentleman, kind and compassionate. Sending our condolences and prayers to his family, friends and fans.”
Hauer was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands and did stints in both the merchant navy and army before he became an actor.
He got his big break in 1969, when he became the lead in TV series Floris.
Away from acting, Hauer launched The Rutger Hauer Starfish Foundation, which aimed to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, especially within children and pregnant women.
Issuing a statement following his death, the foundation said: “The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association announces with infinite sadness that after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19, 2019, Rutger passed away peacefully at his Dutch home.
“He leaves his beloved wife Ineke, after they have been together for fifty years.
“We at Starfish will always cherish the many unforgettable memories we have of Rutger and his dedication to the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association.
“One of Rutger’s last wishes was that Starfish should continue its charity activity and its fight against the AIDS disease, and with Ineke’s precious help, involvement and direction we will follow Rutger’s wish and will do our best to carry on Rutger’s inestimable legacy.”
Freeform defends Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”!
Just in case you haven’t heard, Halle Bailey is the new Ariel, in an upcoming “The Little Mermaid” movie! She has been receiving messages from fans and other celebrities, congratulating her for landing the role!
Amongst those who congratulated her is Halle Berry, in a tweet she posted, “In case you needed a reminder… Halles get it DONE. Congratulations @chloexhalle on this amazing opportunity, we can’t wait to see what you!” She also added that she was “thrilled” for the 19 year old. However, not everyone was happy about Disney’s decision to cast a black woman for this role.
Some critics went as far as petitioning Disney to recast for this role, and titled their petition #NotMyAriel! They suggested that Halle should be replaced by a white woman with red hair, who would resemble the Ariel that they know from the 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid. Now Freeform, Disney’s cable network, has decided to issue an open letter in response to this.
The letter read, “Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish”.
Freeform also added that, “Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair”! Freeform then went on to remind the critics that Ariel and the story, is only fictional!
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