I came across The Hotel, as most students discover most things of interest, through a dose of procrastination. Sick of even looking at my assignment, I trawled through the internet for a distraction; something else to look at without feeling the same amount of shame that would come from reading back through my essay. I went straight to 4OD, and that’s when I read about a programme described as “the real life Fawlty Towers”. This was certainly a bold statement, so I decided to give it a watch, not expecting much.
There are three main things that are similar about The Hotel and Fawlty Towers. Firstly, they are set, as I’m sure you clever lot can guess, in hotels. Secondly, they are also both in Torquay. And thirdly, they are both absolutely hilarious.
Mark Jenkins, the manager of The Grosvenor (the hotel in question), can only be described as a bit of a lunatic. An ex-millionaire, he lives in his own hotel “50 weeks a year”. He doesn’t let the AA rate the hotel, and gives it “three stars” himself. He constantly makes mistakes – such as double booking a room due to his refusal to use computers. But, in a very David Brent-like fashion, he also seriously thinks he is an amazing entertainer. To his credit, he is, but not intentionally. For instance, in the second episode, he is holding a “Party Night”, which he invites each and every single guest to. He hosts it himself. And, when people start to leave, he tells his staff to stop them. He is a cringeworthy joy to watch.
The rest of the staff who have to put up with him are also quite funny characters too, who seem like they’re straight from a sitcom. The fantastically camp deputy manager Christian has to deal with the worst of Mark, especially when he’s “flapping”, as does Alison, his extremely blunt reservations manager. The hotel itself is almost like a character in its own right – things constantly falls off walls and smash at delightfully timed moments. Other highlights include Mark’s mother, the almost-too-relaxed lifeguard, and Christian’s partner. These components, as well as the guests who come and go every week, are what make the show so great to watch – and knowing that they are real makes it even more worthwhile.
The Hotel feels like it’s been written by a comedy genius, but the fact that it hasn’t been makes it wonderful to watch. Next time you procrastinate, or even if you don’t, make sure you give it a watch.