Fawlty Towers (1975–1979)
8 user 2 critic

Basil the Rat 

Basil and the rest of the staff are in deep trouble when the health inspector turns up and delivers an enormous list of problems with the hotel. Things become even worse when Manuel's rat gets loose in the hotel.


Bob Spiers


John Cleese (by), Connie Booth (by)

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
John Cleese ... Basil Fawlty
Prunella Scales ... Sybil Fawlty
Andrew Sachs ... Manuel
Connie Booth ... Polly Sherman
John Quarmby ... Mr. Carnegie
Ballard Berkeley ... Major Gowen
Brian Hall ... Terry
Gilly Flower Gilly Flower ... Miss Agatha Tibbs
Renee Roberts Renee Roberts ... Miss Ursula Gatsby
David Neville David Neville ... Ronald
Sabina Franklyn ... Quentina
James Taylor James Taylor ... Mr. Taylor
Melody Lang ... Mrs. Taylor
Stuart Sherwin Stuart Sherwin ... Guest


Basil panics, yet again, when the food and health inspector pays his semi-annual visit. He has a a long list of complaints about the level of cleanliness in the kitchen and gives them 24 hours to clean up or he will shut them down. Sybil sets about tidying up the place but when Basil visits Manuel's room, he finds that he has been keeping a pet rat thinking it was a hamster. When the inspector returns the next day, pandemonium reigns as the rat has now escaped and the Major is trying to hunt it down with his shotgun. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

25 October 1979 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Two of the prop rats used as Basil were taken to an Elstree-sited edition of Antiques Roadshow (1979) in 2017 for evaluation by the wife of the propmaker. See more »


From where Mr. Carnegie is sitting he should have an unobstructed view of the rat scurrying under the table on the other side of the room. See more »


Sybil Fawlty: [about Manuel's rat] Perhaps it would be simplest to have him put to S-L-E-E-P.
Basil Fawlty: Who? Him or the rat? Might get a discount if we have them both done.
Manuel: 'Spleep'?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Fawlty Towers sign has been re-arranged to spell Farty Towels (a "W" is missing). See more »


Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #4.169 (2009) See more »


Composed by Charles Aznavour
Performed by Andrew Sachs
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Would You...Care for a Rat?
16 May 2006 | by oceanaveSee all my reviews

Fawlty Towers faces a shut-down when the public health department pays them a visit, finding such things as storage of cooked and raw meats being stored in the same tray, and dead pigeons in the water tanks! During the cleanup process, Basil finds a 'filigree' Siberian hamster in Manuel's room - which has been his pet for awhile. Worried that this will only contribute to the hotel's list of infractions, Polly finds a new home for him...much to Manuel's dissatisfaction (as he wears a black mourning arm band!) The "new home" is the shed out back, but the rodent loves the hotel so much that he finds his way back in!

This episode is one of the funniest - and is filled with the usual comedic failed attempts to discreetly rectify the problems. We all knew it was coming - the day Fawlty Towers gets threatened with shut-down. John Quarmby is superb as the anal Mr. Carnegie, the public health inspector. The look on his face when Basil opens up the tin of biscuits at the very end is absolutely priceless. A nod of approval should go to Brian Hall, who plays Terry the chef - he does quite well in the part.

The bit where Basil tries to capture the hamster by rummaging through the lady's purse - and gets clawed badly before it jumps out and scurries across the floor, is classic. The scene in the bar where the Major spots the hamster on a table in the bar is also a hoot (quick cut to Polly running in with a moth net!) Supposedly the cast got extra rehearsal time for this particular episode, and it definitely paid off. "Basil the Rat" is a beaut, and it ends the series pretty much as it began, as a fainted Basil gets dragged off by Manuel. Sybil, unfazed by this, gets the last words: "Oh, I'm afraid it's started to rain again...."

13 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed