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Monty Python team stay in hotel that inspired Fawlty Towers

Sadly, the exact date may never be known. But between May 11th and May 22nd 1970, members of the Monty Python comedy team spent time in Torquay, Devon filming sketches and inserts for their television show. John Cleese and other Pythons were accommodated at the Gleneagles Hotel for the duration of the filming, run by a gentleman named Donald Sinclair.

Mr Sinclair was so rude, objectionable and eccentric towards his guests (including a general dislike of American Terry Gilliam and hurling Eric Idle’s bag out of a window as he thought it contained a bomb) that the team eventually fled and stayed elsewhere. Luckily for comedy history, Cleese hung around and took notes.Sinclair and his establishment became the basis for Fawlty Towers, widely considered to be the finest British sitcom ever made, with Donald morphing into the frequently deranged Basil Fawlty.

Though his family objected to the connection between Sinclair and Fawlty, others reported similar claims of rudeness and bizarre behaviour. Sadly the Gleneagles was recently demolished to make way for retirement flats.