Mrs Richards tries to check-in but is palmed off onto Manuel because Polly is dealing with Mr Thurston who is checking out. The rude, short-tempered and deaf Mrs Richards is frustrated by the language barrier between her and Manuel. Eventually, Polly checks in Mrs Richards. Basil is also given a betting tip by a guest checking out. It is for a horse called Dragonfly, but Basil must keep it quiet as Sybil refuses to let Basil gamble.
Mrs Richards becomes a complete pain to Basil as she complains to him about everything. She tells him that the view is no good, the bath is too small and the radio doesn’t work. Leaving the room, Basil asks Manuel to place a bet on Dragonfly.
Dragonfly wins and nets Basil £75. Manuel gives the winnings to Polly to give to Basil. Just as Basil wins some money, Mrs Richards announces that she has lost £85 from her hotel room and is convinced that someone has stolen it. Sybil saw Polly counting Basil’s money in the office and assumes that Polly must have found Mrs. Richards money. Polly tells Sybil that she won it on a horse, but Sybil gets suspicious when she forgets the name of the horse. Basil decides to give the money to Major Gowen for safekeeping.
When Basil asks the Major for his money, the Major has predictably forgotten. The Major eventually manages to find it but does so in front of Mrs Richards, who assumes that it is her money even though it is £10 short. Basil’s attemps to persuade her otherwise fall on stony ground, so he proceeds to give her the missing £10 from the till.
Just then, a delivery man appears with a vase and £95 that Mrs Richards left in the shop. Keeping Mrs Richards money and giving her the £10 from the till leaves Basil £10 up. Basil is euphoric. When Sybil sees Basil with the money, he says that he is putting it in the safe for Polly. Then the Major blurts out, you did give me that money! You won it on a horse. Basil drops Mrs Richards vase in shock, and Sybil replaces the cost of the vase with £75 of Basil’s money.
In Communication Problems Basil comes across a customer even more infuriating than the pedantic bore Mr Hutchinson in
The Hotel Inspectors. The actions of the deaf and irascible Mrs Richards make you almost feel sorry for Basil. From this episode
we see again just how much control Sybil has over Basil. The whole plot of Communication Problems revolves around Basil’s schemes
to keep his gambling winnings a secret from Sybil. Sybil forbids Basil from gambling and sees it as a wound she doesn’t want opened up again. Basil, of course, sees it as another avenue of pleasure closed off to him.
Just as in The Builders, Polly becomes Basil’s reluctant conspirator. She becomes enmeshed in Basil’s scheme to keep
his gambling winnings secret from the fire-breathing Sybil. Manuel is also enlisted by Basil, but of course Manuel tends to destroy, if unwittingly, Basil’s schemes rather than support them.
By the end of the episode, Basil is in full manic mode and ends up standing in reception in his vest after giving Mrs
Richards “the shirt off his back”.
[Mrs Richards complaining about the view out of her hotel bedroom]:
Mrs Richards: When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
Basil: Well, that is Torquay, ma’am.
Mrs Richards: Well, it’s not good enough.
Basil: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window?
Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeasts sweeping majestically…
Mrs Richards: Don’t be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.
Basil: You can see the sea. It’s over there, between the land and the sky.
[Sybil inquiring about Basil’s happiness, after he secretly wins money gambling]:
Sybil: Well, you look happy to me, Basil.
Basil: No, I,m not, dear.
Sybil: All that dancing about, Singing and rubbing your hands.
Basil: No, just my way of getting through the day, dear. The, uh, Samaritans were engaged.
The hotel sign reads FAWLTY TOWER with a crooked L.
First appearance of Terry the chef.
After Mrs Richards bumps her head in the hotel office, Basil picks up something from the floor and asks,
Is this a piece of your brain? John Cleese was going to cut this joke before the show aired, but Andrew Sachs convinced
him to leave it in.
Sybil says to Polly, Brenda can’t start until Monday, so can you deal with the rooms until then? Brenda is obviously the maid
but is never seen on screen.
In one scene Polly says very sarcastically to Mrs Richards that she doesn’t use her brain Because it wears the batteries down. This references an earlier scene when Mrs Richards explains that she doesn’t use her hearing aid because it wears the batteries down. The only problem is that Polly wasn’t in that scene, so how is she able to reference it?
According to legend, St. George slayed a dragon which was terrorising a heathen population.
Basil: Good old Saint George, eh, Major? … Well, he killed a hideous, fire-breathing old dragon, didn’t he, Polly?
Krakatoa is an active volcano in the waters near Indonesia.
Basil: Why, because Krakatoa’s not erupting at the moment, or…?
The Sydney Opera House is an instantly recognisable building in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Basil: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps?…
Cosmopolitan is a magazine founded in the late 19th century.
Sybil: Have you got… ah, have you got Cosmopolitan there? …
Joan Sanderson — Mrs Richards
Robert Lankesheer — Mr Thurston
Johnny Shannon — Mr Firkins
Bill Bradley — Mr Mackintosh
George Lee — Mr Kerr
Mervyn Pascoe — Mr Yardley