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Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
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Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is a popular British comedy-drama series created by Franc Roddam and mostly written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who had also written The Likely Lads, What Ever Happened to the Likely Lads and Porridge.

Table of contents
1 Regular cast
2 Origins
3 Revival
4 External link

Regular cast

Warning: Plot details follow.

Origins

The first series, produced by Central for ITV in 1983, is the story of seven out-of work builders from various parts of England who are forced to look for work in West Germany. (The title refers to their farewells to their wives and girlfriends - "Auf Wiedersehen" being German for "Farewell", and "Pet" being a northern English term of endearment.) They find work on a German building site but are forced to live in a small hut that reminds them of a POW camp. The rest of the series is driven by the interactions and growing friendships between the various characters: for instance, Barry is an obsessive bore, Neville is an insecure young newlywed, Oz is aggressive and jingoistic, and Wayne is a womaniser. Dennis, being older, more experienced and generally more mature than the others, becomes the de facto leader of the group. Over the course of 13 episodes the "Magnificent Seven" enjoy lots of comic and romantic adventures, until a change in German tax laws forces them to return home.

The series was extremely well-received, with praise for the writing and acting.

A second series of 13 episodes followed in 1986, in which the boys are reunited to help renovate a country manor house by a crooked businessman but end up falling afoul of the suspicious locals. When things become a little too hot for their new boss he flees to Spain and invites them to follow suit and redecorate his Spanish villa. Once in Spain the gang are soon mistaken for criminals themselves, and the series ends with them fleeing the Spanish police in a motor yacht, together with Barry's fiancée who had only expected a wedding at sea.

The second series was less successful because the characters were no longer under the same kind of pressure they had been in Germany. Even in Spain they were more likely to encounter expatriate Brits than foreigners who could bring out their patriotic tendencies. The series was also clouded by Gary Holton's death from a drug overdose which meant that many of Wayne's scenes had to be omitted or shot using a double. The final episode begins with a brief tribute to Holton.

Revival

In 2002 the show was revived, this time as a 6-part series made by Ziji Productions for BBC ONE. The original writers and all of the surviving cast returned, and were joined by Noel Clarke as Wayne's son Wyman. The storyline revolves around a plan by a corrupt businessman to demolish the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (a real-life industrial landmark) and sell it for reconstruction elsewhere. Persuading Oz to get the old gang back together, he then plans to cheat them out of their share of the profits, until a Native American from Arizona turns up to announce that he'd like to buy the bridge for the benefit of his tribe's casino.

The special effects depicting the demolition of the bridge are so realistic that many people believed it was really being demolished, forcing the BBC to add a caption to the last episode reassuring them that it was still there.

Despite some initial scepticism that the reunion would work, the show was an immediate hit.

Some of the cast made an appearance on Comic Relief's Red Nose Day 2003, in which they find a suitcase full of money in a Miami hotel room and assume it belongs to a drug dealer who wants to shoot them - but actually it belongs to U2, who invite them to their penthouse.

A fourth and apparently final series of 6 episodes was aired on BBC ONE from January 4 to February 8, 2004. Most of the story involves the characters working for the British Embassy in Havana, with Neville being reluctantly recruited as a spy for the British and Oz falling in love with a local ballet dancer. Despite extensive negotiations between the BBC and the Cuban Government, it was not possible to obtain permission to film in Cuba, so the series was actually shot in the Dominican Republic.

External link