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When cleaning rooms gets Fawlty

When cleaning rooms gets Fawlty

When cleaning rooms gets Fawlty

The business of cleaning should, one imagines, be straightforward. A well trained, diligent cleaner turns up at the house. They then vacuum, dust and tidy up, leaving the place looking clean and spotless and smelling nice.

Of course, in the world of comedy things don't quite work out like that. And in Fawlty Towers, nothing ever quite works out at all.

At this calamity-prone Torquay hotel, Polly is the one who does the room cleaning, alongside her waitressing duties. At first, that might seem reassuring. After all, she isn't as easily distracted as Sybil, irascible like Basil or incompetent and linguistically challenged like Manuel. However, even for her there is still no escaping the kind of mayhem that all-too frequently ensues.

For instance, cleaning a hotel room should normally mean tidying up, changing the bedding, vacuuming the floor and ensuring the bathroom is spotless. But in the episode titled The Kipper and the Corpse, Polly has to go somewhat beyond her normal duties by helping Basil conceal the body of a guest who has died overnight.

Normally, this would be a sad but not unique event, a cause for calling the emergency services to take the body away. However, as he had just been fed with kippers that were past their use-by date, panic ensues.

So it is that, rather than removing a bit of rubbish from the room, Polly is left trying to help Basil and Manuel sneak a corpse out of the building.

However, her own intervention turns sour when elderly guest Miss Tibbs tries to help the pair move what they claim is an item of laundry, only for the cloth to slip and reveal the deceased.

She starts yelling "murder" and Polly, at Basil's behest, deals with what he calls the "hysterical" Miss Tibbs by slapping her - unfortunately hitting her too hard and knocking her out.

It all gets worse, of course. After a ham-fisted attempt to hide the body in the cupboard, the hapless staff try moving him to a linen basket instead. This leads to a calamity as the laundry men arrive to take the linen away. They manage to get him back in the nick of time, but then Manuel gets a great idea and escapes the chaos by hiding in the laundry basket himself, until Polly finds him and pulls him out.

At this point, of course, Basil decides to pass responsibility for the whole situation - including the business associates of the dead guest who have just arrived - by explaining that Sybil will explain all, and then escaping in the laundry basket himself.

Suffice to say, at Aurora ProClean our professional cleaning staff steer well clear of any of the catastrophes that occur as routine in Fawlty Towers. Indeed, our cleaners will act responsibly if they do discover that something awful has happened. Just as importantly, though, if ever there is a problem they won't be making it worse with a series of blunders.

Of course, that's what Fawlty Towers is all about. But while Basil may be trying not to mention the war and flogging his malfunctioning car with a branch, our staff will go about their work with all the methodical professionalism you could hope for.