BBC News 24 is on all day in our office (for obvious reasons) and so it was impossible to miss the crowing as newsreader after newsreader announced that World War II sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo has been sold to the Germans. Who said they don’t have a sense of humour? No wonder the BBC was loving the irony.
‘Allo ‘Allo ran on BBC1 from 1982-1991 and remains one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms. A massive hit, it was set in Nazi-occupied France, poking fun at the Gestapo, Hitler and just about everybody else. It will be broadcast in Germany for the first time and dubbed into German in its entirety. A shame in a way as some of the comedy accents will probably get lost in translation.
How funny will Officer Crabtree be in the new German version? He was the British spy posing unconvincingly as a Gendarme, often mangling the French language with his Inspector Clouseau-like diction. "Good Moaning," was his catchphrase (of course, he meant ‘good morning’) and it became one of the most famous associated with the show.
Other memorable characters included the put-upon Rene Artois (played by Gordon Kaye) who constantly faced drama in his home life due to the uneasy line he trod between appeasing the local Nazis and aiding the Resistance. A long-running joke had Renee hiding a painting, The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, inside a garlic sausage (always got to get the phallic joke in there somewhere).
Herr Flick was the emotionless Gestapo officer with the exaggerated limp. Always dressed in a long leather trench coat and steel-rimmed glasses, his secret relationship with Nazi double agent Helga Geerhart provided an endless source of jokes.
Captain Bertorelli was the Italian stereotype; disorganised, flirtatious and in command of troops who were a shambles. Often uttering, "The beautiful lady, I kissa the hand!" in a heavy Italian accent, his other catchphrases included "What-a mistake-a to make-a!" and "Heil-a-Mussolini!"
Finally, who can forget Michelle Dubois? Leader of the local branch of the Resistance, Michelle is also the owner of one of the sitcom’s most famous catchphrases – "Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once" – uttered every time she explains the latest absurd plan.
BBC Worldwide struck the unlikely deal with broadcaster ProSiebenSat1, which will show all eight series (83 episodes). A BBC spokeswoman said: "Both BBC Worldwide and ProSiebenSat1 are very happy about the deal. ‘Allo ‘Allo is a high quality programme which had not been picked up in Germany until now due to the subject matter." Get a flavour of the show by watching the video…
‘Allo ‘Allo was written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, the duo also responsible for Are You Being Served? with its "I’m free!" John Inman catchphrase, a pre-EastEnders Wendy Richard as Miss Brahms and Mollie Sugden’s Mrs Slocombe, always worrying about her "pussy" (a cat, of course). The fantastic thing about ‘Allo ‘Allo was that it sent everyone up: the English were befuddled twits with upper-class accents; the Nazis were ineffectual buffoons; the French were very ‘ooh la la!’ and the Italians were greasy-haired charmers. No one was spared – ‘Allo ‘Allo was a stickler for equal opportunities stereotyping. In addition, it made crude innuendoes and predictable gags an art form. All very Carry On Nazi. No wonder we Brits, for the most part, lapped it up. And now the Germans will. Somebody needs to tell Basil Fawlty that it’s OK to mention the war now.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – The FA Cup! How brilliant to see Chelsea and Man U lose! Hahaha! Looking forward to the final now. Good luck to all the teams remaining.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – That bleedin’ Flake advert with Joss Stone. What a Jurrassic pile of codswallop. Dropping a sledgehammer on yer toe is probably less painful than sitting through that paean to pretentiousness. Bring back the proper Flake girl adverts!
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