phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Don't mention the War!

Posted by Cara on April 26, 2003

In Reply to: Don't mention the War! posted by Lewis on April 25, 2003

: : : : Does anyone know the origin of this phrase? It's being used regularly in the papers at the moment!

: : : "The Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers starring John Cleese. Cleese the hotel manager has been in hospital with concussion - he discharges himself and returns to the hotel. a group of Germans have come to stay and in his confusion, he keeps mentioning the war (mainly WWII).

: : : Basil Fawlty says to Polly in conspiritorial toens "Don't mention the war. I did it once but I think I got away with it" (which he delivers to his off-screen wife Connie Booth who plays the chambermaid who in effect runs the hotel)

: : : He returns to the dining room and the older German says "Please stop mentioning the war, you're upsetting the girl" (who is in tears)

: : : Fawlty says "You started it" and then the rebuff "No we didn't" from the German triggers the line

: : : wait for it

: : : "Yes you did - you invaded Poland" (cheers and applause!!!!)

: : :
: : : A remarkable series about a man on the edge. Like "Falling Down" with slapstick and humour.

: : That was the second-funniest episode. The best was "Gourmet Night," which may have been the funniest half-hour on television. Ever.

: Overall "Gourmet Night" probably pips "The Germans" BUT what if you also throw "The Psychiatrist" into the pot?

: I'm not sure how those three compare and besides those there are

: Mrs Richards (what do you expect to see from a Torquay hotel window? the hanging gardens of Babylon? herds of wildebeest galloping majestically across the Serengeti?)

: and The Anniversary
: (invented sympton upon mythical symptom piled upon the absent Sybil when all Basil needed to say was "she's not here yet - it is a surprise after all").

: A tremendous amount of comedy genius in just two series. You could get series 16 of Friends without yet coming close.

: Thinking of those great moments has cheered me up!

Those episodes are good, but my favourite would have to be 'Basil the Rat'. The last ever episode of Fawlty Towers ends with a public health inspector being served a live rat with his cheese and biscuits, having threatened to close the hotel down the day before. The rat is Manel's pet, called Basil, which he bought under the false impression it was a 'Siberian Hamster'. A classic!