John Cleese reveals Fawlty Towers scene he would 'redo'
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Actor John Cleese is set to embark on his latest career move, exploring “wokeness” in a new documentary. It comes just a year after the comedian hit out at UKTV for temporarily removing an episode of Fawlty Towers from streaming services for use of “outdated language”.
I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called Political Correctness.
John, 81, doesn’t hold back with his rants and has previously hit out at London with “culturalist” comments.
The actor, who is best known for appearing in the likes of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, will join forces with Channel 4 to explore the “woke generation”.
He has previously said that political correctness started as a “good idea” but society shouldn’t be centred on it.
However, in true John style, he has now described the act as being kind to other people as “absurdum”.
Discussing his new Channel 4 series, John Cleese: Cancel Me, the veteran actor said: “I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called Political Correctness.
“There’s so much I really don’t understand, like: how the impeccable idea of ‘Let’s all be kind to people’ has been developed in some cases absurdum.”
The Weston-super-Mare born actor went on to say: “I want to bring the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with.
“What they don’t agree with, and what they still can’t make their mind up about.”
Throughout the series, John will ask if it is possible to make a comedy without somebody finding offence.
He will also meet celebrities who have themselves been on the receiving end of cancel culture following comments that can be deemed controversial.
“Cancel culture” has become prevalent in recent years with people often being “called out” or “cancelled” for their supposedly offensive behaviour.
Chief Content Officer for Channel 4, Ian Katz, described John as a “comic legend” before adding that he combines “genuine curiosity with a healthy disregard for what anyone thinks of him”.
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Speaking about political correctness during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today, John said: “PC stuff started out as a good idea, which is, ‘Let’s not be mean to people’, and I’m in favour of that despite my age.
“The main thing is to try to be kind but that then becomes a sort of indulgence of the most over-sensitive people in your culture, the people who are most easily upset.”
He added: “I don’t think we should organise a society around the sensibilities of the most easily upset people because then you have a very neurotic society.
“From the point of creativity, if you have to keep thinking which words you can use and which you can’t, then that will stifle creativity.”
“The main thing is to realise that words depend on their context very literal-minded people think a word is a word but it isn’t,” he continued.
John has previously addressed a racial slur used in Monty Python, indicating that it should not have been removed from UKTV.
In an episode titled The Germans, which first appeared on screens in 1975, Basil Fawlty, played by Cleese was seen marching saying: “Don’t mention the war,” while standing in front of Germans nationals.
Major Gowen, played by Ballard Berkeley, also used derogatory language towards the West Indies cricket team.
Addressing the character’s use of the N-word on more than one occasion, John said: “The Major was an old fossil leftover from decades before, we were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them.
“If they can’t see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?
“Fawlty Towers has given a large number of people a great deal of happiness, why would you want to stop that?”
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