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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).

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Lee

    October 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Not a bad write up for the best series of the 1980’s, bar none!
    The first series, was original, gritty and almost like watching a documentary, but with more swear words, and with some Geordie dialect, even Paul Gascoigne would find hard to understand!
    It was good, no it was better than good, it was down right brilliant, and written and acted to perfection. I might be a touch biased, as I do run an Auf Wiedersehen, Pet fansite, but TV these days is absolute rubbish.

    Bring back Auf Wiedersehen, Pet!

    “Yours till the next point of interest, Nev.” (Lee)

  2. Richard Davies

    October 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I got the 1st series DVD box set lasyt Xmas & it was great to see it all again.

    The use of video camera for the external shots was fairly inspired, though a few dramas had done it before.

    Almost all the German spoken is untranslated (even on the DVD subtitles) adding to the feel of being out of place.

    The mood of an average episode could change quickly from very gritty to laugh out loud funny in the blink of an eye.

  3. Glenn A

    December 19, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Anthony Worrall Thompson plays a German in the episode in the bar where Oz decides to rubbish Germany and AWT in a very good German accented English accent, tells him to ” piss off back to England”. Indeed most of the Germans were English in real life.

  4. David Smith

    February 11, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    “Third-person-speaking Bristolian Bomber”, I love it. I remember somebody writing into Oracle (!) very irate at Bomber’s “Bomber wants to try his luck with the pretty senoritas”-style turn of phrase – wasn’t one of you guys was it TVC? 😉

  5. Glenn A

    February 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

    The seond series featured a not very well known Denise Welch in the hilarious flat mix up farce, Marjorie Doesn’t Live Here Any More, the highest rating of all the ITV episodes. Also featuring a 26 inch Pye, a half forgotten but quite desirable television set of the era.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    January 15, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    If you look closely, the council estate at the back of the building site is the same one that appears in late eighties Grange Hill episodes. Also in one AWP episode the camera pans on to the council estate and a Morris Marina briefly appears, a car I doubt any German would be seen dead in.
    Out of interest, we all know the building site was torn down in 1983 and the set purchased by the BBC to make Eastenders, but I’d love to know which part of the building site now forms Walford Square.

  7. Richardpd

    January 15, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    Grange Hill was also shot at Elstree from the mid 1980s so it’s understandable they used the surrounding area for locations.

    I remember spotting an Austin Allegro in the background in a similar scene, another car that probably didn’t trouble the German car sales charts much. Same with a Rover SD1 in one of the street scenes.

    http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=vlcsnap-1353916qf9d.jpg

    Oddly I was thinking almost the same about the area of building site now having Albert Square on it a week ago.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    January 16, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    @ richardpd, same estate pops up in the credits in an On The Buses film, of course, made at nearby Elstree Studios. However, British Leyland cars in cameos aside, the set was very authentic, using German bricks and warning signs, and I doubt many viewers realised Dusseldorf was really Borehamwood. Also a top notch series that made stars out of Jimmy Nail and Kevin Whateley.

    • Richardpd

      January 16, 2022 at 10:16 pm

      Central made a lot of effort with the series, sending the cast on civil engineering courses to learn the right skills.

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