[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/37739?ns=guardian&pageName=Letter%3A+Timothy+Bateson+obituary%3AArticle%3A1307754&ch=Television+%26amp%3B+radio&c3=Guardian&c4=Comedy+%28TV+genre%29%2CTelevision+%28Culture%29%2CJohn+Cleese%2CStage%2CFilm%2CCulture+section&c6=&c7=09-Nov-19&c8=1307754&c9=Article&c10=Obituary%2CLetter&c11=Television+%26amp%3B+radio&c13=&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FTelevision+%26amp%3B+radio%2FComedy[/img]Gavin Gaughan writes: Michael Coveney's account of Timothy Bateson (obituary, 8 November) omitted a minor but noteworthy event in television comedy. The first person to give life on screen to Basil Fawlty was not John Cleese, but the diminutive, inoffensive-looking Bateson. Cleese took the inspiration from the real-life hotel proprietor Donald Sinclair, and before Fawlty Towers used Sinclair as the basis for a character, played by Bateson, in an episode of the LWT series Doctor at Large in 1971. Although here named Clifford, he was already snapping at anyone who had the temerity to ask for a room, and was not slow to display exasperation to guests. Bateson was physically more similar to Sinclair than Cleese, and was equipped on screen with a towering wife. When casting himself and Prunella Scales, Cleese simply reversed the couple's sizes.
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Guardian: Letter: Timothy Bateson obituary
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