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Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

ENDURING TRAGICOM FROM THE pens of Likely Lads Clement/La Frenais with a load of brickies making their way across to Germany in an attempt to find work outside of mad, bad Thatcher’s Britain (TM). Starred TIM “TICKLE ON THE TUM” HEALY as leader of the pack Dennis, KEVIN “LEWIS!!” WHATELEY as sensible but determined Neville, faux-country star JIMMY “CROCODILE SHOES” NAIL as hard-drinking, hard-swearing and just hard Oz (all Geordies to the hilt), TIMOTHY SPALL as fawning Brummie Barry, ex-wrestler PAT ROACH as third-person-speaking Bristolian Bomber, GARY HOLTON as Wayne/London, and later CHRISTOPHER FAIRBANK as Moxey, the scouser with bad skin. 13-parter saw ver lads get up to all sorts of alcohol-related japery and brick-laying in Dusseldorf. Fantastic stuff, especially with GRANGE HILL’s Mr. Bronson as Hitler-style site foreman. Second series introduced Newcastle hoodlum Ally Fraser, who had the boys renovating his stately home in the Midlands, then took them to sunny Spain for more building and drinking. Holton died of a drug overdose during filming, which led to the series being peppered with long shots of Wayne/London-lookalikes. In the late 80s it was inexplicably repeated at 7:30pm in handy twice-weekly, half-hour segments, which meant that it had to be ‘abridged’, basically to remove anything Crocodile Shoes said – e.g. “Bollocks, man!” 2000s revival saw the blokes schlepping over to the States to build a bridge over a canyon (which was great fun) and then to Cuba for some Castro-related chicanery (which wasn’t).

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