Torbay Council ruffles feathers on Twitter with Fawlty Towers joke to explain social distancing

The tweet has angered some people who don't want Torbay to be associated with Fawlty Towers. Credit: PA / ITV West Country

Torbay Council has caused upset online after tweeting a Fawlty Towers joke in a bid to remind people about the importance of social distancing.

The light-hearted post has angered some business owners who do not want to be associated with the Fawlty Towers image, but rather the more 'upmarket' English Riviera.

The picture showed a lying down Basil Fawlty, played by Weston-super-Mare actor John Cleese, alongside the line: "2 metres = 1 Basil Fawlty".

It is part of a social media campaign by the local authority to humorously remind people of the need to keep two metres apart wherever possible.

On Torbay Council's Twitter feed is a stream of posts outlining a visual representation of social distancing using animals, objects and well-known figures like Mr Fawlty.

It was even backed by the man himself!

Not everyone was pleased with the joke, though.

One Twitter user said, "Isn't Torquay trying to be rather more upmarket nowadays than the association with Basil implies?"

Michelin Star chef Simon Hulstone, who owns The Elephant in Torquay, described the campaign as "awful advertising".

Do we still want to be associated with this as a hospitality industry ? We are meant to be encouraging business and visitors not telling them we don’t like them !!! As amusing as the series was it’s almost 50 years old. Awful advertising.

Simon Hulstone

Another commented, "The old scruffy B&B and one-star hotel image is not what any tourist area wants to convey."