Major Gowen is one of the few permanent residents at Fawlty Towers. He is senile, forgetful and also likes his drink. He is one of the few guests that Basil gets on with, probably because he shares Basil’s interest in the cricket scores and also a mutual disgust of what’s happening in Britain with its endless strikes and industrial disputes. The Major is also xenophobic, racist, homophobic and sexist, but in ways that appear to be out of ignorance rather than malice.
Sometimes, Basil enlists the Major in some of his schemes with disastrous consequences. In Communication Problems Basil gives the Major some money he won on a horse in an attempt to keep it secret from a suspicious Sybil. At the most inopportune moment, the Major blurts out, in front of Sybil, You did give me that money! You won it on a horse.
In some situations, the Major is forced to defend Basil. In Waldorf Salad when Fawlty Towers is being denigrated
by a rude and loud-mouthed American as being the worst run hotel in the whole of Western Europe, the Major, horrified at Basil being attacked, adds No! No, I won’t have that. There’s a place in Eastbourne.
Terry, the Fawlty Towers chef, appears in all six episodes of the second series. By the usual standards of Fawlty Towers, Terry is
actually a quite competent member of the staff. An optimistic Cockney, he will not be bullied by Basil and can be quite territorial if anyone tries to impinge on his domain.
In Waldorf Salad, Basil tries to keep Terry on for a fee at the request of a loud American guest. Terry asks for more money, but
when Basil finds out that Terry has a hot date with a Finish blonde, he refuses to keep Terry on and decides to do the cooking himself.
In Basil the Rat Terry has to trim the edges of a piece of veal that has been chewed by the cat to serve to a customer. He says
what the eye don’t see the chef gets away with as if to accentuate his improvisational skills in the kitchen.
Miss Tibbs & Miss Gatsby
Miss Abitha Tibbs and Miss Ursula Gatsby, shown respectively left and right, are the other two long-term residents at Fawlty Towers apart from Major Gowen. They are inseparable companions and both of them are spinsters revealed to be in their late seventies.
They appear in every episode of the series but are there really as background characters whose role it is to add an authentic atmosphere to the hotel. Basil’s demeanour to them is of being overly kind and attentive but he does so in a sarcastic way, something that they fail to see through.
In The Kipper and the Corpse, Miss Tibbs, without the company of Miss Gatsby, takes a relatively major part in the plot development of the episode. While Basil is in the process of trying to remove a corpse from the hotel, Miss Tibbs is accidentally knocked unconscious, locked in a wardrobe and traumatised by the sight of a dead body.