Germans In Sense Of Humour Shock

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!

MSN Editor Coops
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17 Responses to Germans In Sense Of Humour Shock

  1. famous says:

    another naff advert . the one where the guy uses a lighter in the dark to check out his dishwasher pouches from fairy?   when is someone going to realise that they show these ad\’s when kids are watching??my grand daughter is 2 y o going on 20, she only has to see something once to copy it .i\’m sure there are lots more just like her!!  

  2. Laura says:

    Why do you assume we Germans don\’t have a sense of humour or can\’t appreciate it? Bitch on the box indeed…

  3. Coops - says:

    Hello Laura Maria – the Germans and their apparent lack of humour is an old British joke. The headline is steeped in irony, but I guess it went over your head. 🙂 famouseccles my old Spur-supporting mate – don\’t get me started on nonsensical adverts. Shame about your lads (kinda!).

  4. Jim says:

    Not all brits stereotype Laura Maria. It all depends what area of Britain you live. The tv "sitcom" in question was one of the least funny ones I\’ve seen yet. Then again, I never liked carry on films either 🙂

  5. samantha says:

    why oh why do people still find it nessasary to talk about the german people and the way they are? of course they have a sense of humour and they also have feelings ! (kinda like the rest of the world)
    i loved watching the show and im half german,and i know that humour is within the individual and not the nation. thanx.

  6. Samantha says:

    I think the reason behind Sat 1 ´s decision to air this is more complex. On the one hand what it does demonstrate to the UK and the rest of the EU is how much influence the media in Germany has upon the ordinary citizen, i.e. how powerful it is in changing the perspectives Germans have formulated about themselves, and on the other hand, allows an open dialogue to begin now and the humorous side of the history we have so long discussed to finally be as easy to bring up in conversation as our Queen or House of Commons is to us for example. Germany´s positive self awareness is relatively new, and what is important to them, I believe is the future and simple recognition of their place in the world, while others are made aware of it.    

  7. Unknown says:

    I loved Allo Allo but do think it will be literally lost in translation and that\’s no reflection on the German\’s sense of humour or their "positive self awareness" no disrepect Samantha.
    I would imagine that chocoholics all over the land are screaming as Joss Stone seems more concerned brushing flakey crumbs off her jumper than actually eating it.  They really should leave the ad making to real people.

  8. John says:

    I lived and worked in Germany for 21 years and can tell you that the Germans do have a sense of humour and appreciate British sitcoms, \’Fawlty Towers\’ was a particular favourite. However I believe  that a great deal of the impact will be lost when \’Allo Allo !\’ is dubbed in German.
    Still it is worth a try because, surprisingly to some, the Germans can laugh at themselves.
    My dear German friend and colleague used to remind me whenever I accused him of being too seriuos, that
      "A German joke is no laughing matter".

  9. Anna says:

    The German always had a sense of humor even during the war.When Berlin was bombed to smitherine, one Berliner said to the other:"Well they will have to bring some houses (meaning the bombers) with them ours have all gone.

  10. Tia says:

    To the people saying about Germans having a sense of humour, I agree with you, but, their sense of humour is different to ours, so it has been a British joke to say they have \’no sense of humour\’ like we often say about people from other countries. I agree with Coops though, lots of the humour on the show is based on accents of people from other countries, and how we see them. I don\’t see how it would work when it\’s translated.

  11. Paul says:

    People seem to be missing the point that the idea of humourless German is a joke and a stereotype. No one has actually said they don\’t have one. I\’m sure they have negative or jokey stereotypes of British, it\’s just something countries do – whether you\’re a Frog, a Krout, a Rosbeef or a Yank. People apply them to each other and I think there\’s a kind of camaraderie about it, if it\’s in a non-hostile manner. There are also good stereotypes about most countries – the French are goods cook, the germans good engineers with a good work ethic, the italians good lovers etc. It\’s all just a laugh, there\’s no harm or shame in it.
    Who the hell wants a beige world where everyone is the same?
    I think if enough thought was put into the dubbing, they could probably come up with an adequate German approximation with different accents and dialogues.
    And the flake advert is awful, but it works – the goal of an advert is to make you think about a product, even if it\’s to bitch about the advert. We\’re all talking about it so we\’re promoting the product for them. Think of the Benetton ads.

  12. Ronald says:

    German humour…………..
    Whilst taxying at Hamburg itrate lady air traffic controller said Speedbird XXX STOP I told you to turn right at taxiway bravo expect progressive taxi instructions in 5 minutes, have you not been to Hamburg before
    Not to be outdone………. reply
    Yes I have but it was 1944 and dark ………I didn\’t bother to land.

  13. Unknown says:

    I think it will work if they use different German accents which they will undoubtedly do. Just will work in a "German way" and it wont be the same Allo Allo anymore. But as long as pple will find it funny there is no harm done.
    I can guarantee one thing though, they gonna laugh their heads off about the French 😉
    they are funny like that..

  14. Oliver says:

    Germans have a great sense of humour …..  and why do I know that …. because I go there a lot with work and some of my mate are from germany, it is a different kind of humour have to say but they defenetly like a good joke and laugh.
    and you speedbird1 … look at your T5 … thats the best joke of all and on top of all it is a national disgrace AND thats what the whole of germany laughs about right now!!!!!

  15. Laura says:

    Olly, what\’s T5?  Just curious :o)

  16. Ian says:

    Anyone who thinks German\’s do not have a sense of humour should check out Staplerfahrer Klaus (forklift driver Klaus) on Youtube.

  17. Amanda says:

    im sure the germans are laughing at terminal 5

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