Oh…Miss Jones!

WELCOME TO RIGSBY’S!: The Battle of Bed-Sit Land Lowdown Landlord V. Luckless Lodgers

Welcome to Rigsby’s.

Third Class Accommodation in a Fourth Rate Boarding-House!

Rigsby’s three-storey house had the following layout:

A house described by Rigsby as, ‘Functional with just hint of luxury, ideal for the professional class’. But instead of G Plan and high-quality fixtures and fittings, Alan, Philip, Ruth and any other unfortunate tenants all had to make the most of the keyless rooms, the threat of having their water cut-off, views overlooking the gasometer, the wind blowing off the abattoir, with all rooms furnished with relics from Rigsby’s late father’s house. Oh, and the rising damp of course…what did you expect, champagne!?

Who lives where in the house?

Rigsby: living on ground level
Miss Jones: renting a first-floor room.
There is a room opposite Miss Jones’s, rented out to other tenants from time to time.
Philip and Alan: the attic room,
A basement room, rented out to other tenants from time to time.
A single garage was also available.

What was the address?

We never did find out what road Rigsby’s house was on, or City, it wasn’t even read out when he delivered a Christmas card to himself.
The house could easily have been situated somewhere in the Midlands or north of England, there was never any specific location. It was Eric Chappell’s intention to never give the house an address, so if it’s (the play/show) is performed in Leeds, it’s in Leeds, or Hull etc. References to local trains, roads and cultural highlights (not the abbatoir!) can be added to reflect the region. This stemmed from Eric’s conscious decision to omit the location from The Banana Box too.
As Eric stated, ‘Everybody made up their own minds, some people referring to it as a Midlands town, others a northern town, and I’m quite sure that if it had been staged in Glasgow it would have been a Scottish town. I didn’t want it localized too much, even though when the play was staged in Leicester it was referred to as a Leicester lodging house. Obviously, it had to be a university town because there were students, but I just grabbed bits from everywhere.’
As anyone who’s ever lived in a boarding-house can testify, regardless of location, the same experiences occur no matter where you are based, as Eric found out when he too spent time in a similar rental, along with friends. It’s no surprise then that this was the perfect place in which to begin the workings of The Banana Box. In similar to vein to John Cleese staying at The Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, Devon, whilst with the Monty Python team in 1973. His experiences in the hotel, with the owner Donald Sinclair, filled him with numerous scenarios and dialogue for which to create Fawlty Towers.

What house number did Rigsby live at?

We can’t be certain if Rigsby did move during the second series, maybe to escape the political climate at the end of series 1, or maybe the Royal Mail decided to renumber the houses in a fit of absent mindedness, but what we do know is the house number changed throughout the series.
In ‘The Prowler’ and ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ the house is seen with the number 917.

In the second season it had been altered to number 34 – seen in ‘Moonlight and Roses’, ‘Things That Go Bump in the Night’.

Did Rigsby have any neighbours?

Only one neighbour is ever mentioned, Mr Robinson. He is noted in the rehearsal script for Fawcett’s Python, however it did not make the televised version.
During the entire four series, the only glimpses of the houses exterior we saw included the roof (The Good Samaritan), the garage and back road (Clunk Click), the exterior steps leading to a back door to Rigsby’s room (Xmas Special), and we saw the front doorstep on more than one occasion.
Be careful on arrival to Rigsby’s, don’t knock over the milk bottles when you arrive!

OMJ! Did you know?

The iconic front door image, first featured in the episode ‘Charisma’, was provided by Ed Bailey, YTV’s graphic designer. Ed took the photo of a front door from a nearby street full of terraced houses, just behind the YTV studios. Looking for a door which complimented the rundown aesthetic of Colin Pigott’s stage design, Ed found a door that seemed like it had a fittingly unloved past. Who would have known that a simple shot of a door would create such an iconic image!