Dear John, it's time to let go of your rage about people saying you're an angry man

Dear John,

I’m writing as one of your greatest fans to let you know what others close to you may not dare tell you. In case they get their head bitten off. Only joking!

I watched Fawlty Towers again on a double DVD boxed set recently and marvelled at how well its humour has lasted down the years. D’Oliveira and Boycott may not be getting centuries for England these days, but comic timing is, well, timeless, as you point out in your interview, which straddles the two boxes.

And it’s your interview (I assume it’s an interview, because we never hear or see another person in the room with you) about which I want to talk with you now.

In her interview, Pru Scales says that 12 episodes was just right for the show because you and Connie, who wrote it, got all your anger out in those episodes. The creative juices ran dry after the “12 Angers” had been given expression.

What a smart and insightful lady your erstwhile little nest of vipers is! And yet, John, in your interview you returned to that old chestnut of British people failing to distinguish between the character of Basil and the man who played him, Basil Cleese - oops, I mean John Cleese. They remain under this misconception that you are an angry man like Fawlty was. Unlike the Americans (who you would know quite well, as you’ve married some of them), who think that a) “Basil Fawlty” was a brilliant comic creation and that b) John Cleese was a brilliant comic creator. And not at all angry. At least, not any more – after the therapy.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you’ve convinced me, and that I find your post-angry work such as Fierce Creatures extremely funny, and that I immensely enjoyed the insights you provided in your interview, and that I was never tempted to skip bits because it was getting long and boring. And that Pru and Andrew Sachs were not a patch on you interview-wise, even though they were interesting and pithy.

That’s basically it, I think. All the best with your next projects, including the remake of Anger Management, in which you play the part of the bloke who doesn’t need it any more, and actually never really did in the first place.


You think John Cleese is an angry man?

I can see any “star” getting frustrated with being constantly identified with a character they have played–who wouldn’t?

IMS, JC is very anal and methodical about his comedy–I refer you to the DVD version of The Meaning of Life where Michael Palin (I think) reviews the different ways the team works.

And if indeed JC IS an angry older man–so what?

sounds to me like you’re angry with JC…


He wasn’t angry in “Rat Race”.

He had big white teeth tho :slight_smile: