John Cleese back as Basil Fawlty in new Specsavers ad

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The comedian demonstrates the importance of seeing clearly in UK campaign

LONDON — John Cleese reprises his Basil Fawlty character from "Fawlty Towers" for a new TV ad from Specsavers, the UK retail optician chain.

The ad was created by Specsavers' in-house team, who worked with , the comedian to develop the script.

The spot opens on Cleese getting into an argument with his car’s voice control and then thrashing it with a tree branch — only to discover too late that his poor eyesight has made him confuse a nearby police car with his own.

It ends with the brand’s long-running "should’ve gone to Specsavers" line.

The ad first aired on Jan. 3 and promotes Specsavers’ 25% discount for over-60s. It was directed by Tim Bullock — who also shot the "Vet" and "Bingo" ads for the brand — through Blink.

Manning Gottlieb OMD handled the media planning and buying.

Graham Daldry, creative director at Specsavers, said: "We realized that bringing back Basil Fawlty would have relevance for our brand some time ago, and we were delighted that John Cleese was so positive about working with us.

"We believe that the outcome succeeds in revisiting one of the most memorable moments in British comedy in a way that is essentially Specsavers."

This story originally appeared on


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