As someone who was born in Torquay and raised in Paignton, Fawlty Towers has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The classic British comedy has always been regarded as one of the greatest ever created, and I can recall seeing the DVDs in a number of teachers’ rooms in the past!
Therefore, I created a lesson intended to be used as both a light comprehension exercise, but also to highlight some more advanced English vocabulary and structures.
The first episode, A Touch of Class, centres around a confidence trickster named Lord Melbury, who decides to spend some time at the hotel. Basil, obsessed with the class and status of his guests, falls foul of Melbury’s tricks.
Anyone familiar with the series will know how funny it can be, although there is an instance of light swearing towards the end of the episode in case you need to take this into account.
You can download my pdf lesson HERE. I have included two pages, which can be adapted however the teacher wishes. If you have a DVD copy of the episode, I would recommend turning on the subtitles as some of the characters can speak a little quickly at times. However, most high-level students will be able to work around the difficulties encountered fairly easily as the questions are quite manageable.
The pdf features:
- Grammar: a focus on requests and indirect questions. These are used multiple times throughout the episode.
- Vocab: phrasal verbs (some of the more basic, B2-level phrasals) and a selection of nouns (conman / snob), verbs (value), adjectives (splendid / tatty) and phrases (in a hurry / to have a word).
- Nine comprehension questions that can be answered across the episode.
Here are the answers:
- There examples of this throughout the episode too numerous to mention. Take your pick while the episode is on and elicit as many as you can from students!
- Phrasal verbs:
- You hear ‘get on’, ‘go away’, ‘throw away’, ‘fill in’, pick up’ and ‘turn away’ (as in “turn away some of the riff-raff!)
- ” I learned classical Spanish, not the strange dialect he seems to have picked up“)
- “If there’s anything else, I’m sure Manuel will be able to tell you as you seem to get on so well together.”
- Comprehension Questions:
- 1) There is too much butter!
- 2) a) hang the picture, and c) write the menu
- 3) He doesn’t understand the difference between the verb ‘throw’ and the phrasal verb ‘throw away’, so throws the grapefruit at some guests!
- 4) £200
- 5) b) value his British coin collection
- 6) a) That Lord Melbury is a conman
- 7) c) The police
- 8) Bricks. Nothing valuable at all!
- 9) A gin and orange, a lemon squash, and a scotch and water, PLEASE!
I hope you and your students enjoy the episode!