Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
|Auf Wiedersehen, Pet|
|Created by||Franc Roddam|
|Written by||Stan Hey (1983–86)
Franc Roddam (1983–86, 2002–04)
Ian La Frenais (1983–86, 2002–04)
Dick Clement (1983–86, 2002–04)
|Directed by||Roger Bamford (1983–86)
Baz Taylor (1983–84)
Paul Seed (2002)
David Innes Edwards (2004)
Maurice Phillips (2004)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||40 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Allan McKeown (1983–86)|
|Producer(s)||Martin McKeand (1983–86)
Chrissy Skinns (2003)
Joy Spink (2002–04)
|Editor(s)||Dave King (2002)
Les Healey (2004)
|Cinematography||Tim Palmer (2004)|
|Running time||50 minutes (1983–86)
60 minutes (2002–04)
|Production company(s)||Central Television (1983–86)
Witzend Productions (2002–04)
|Original channel||ITV (1983–86)
BBC One (2002–04)
|Original airing||Original series:
11 November 1983 –
16 May 1986
28 April 2002 –
8 February 2004
28 – 29 December 2004
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (pronounced [ʔaʊ̯f ˈviːdɐˌzeːən pɛt], "Farewell, Pet") is a British comedy-drama television programme about seven British migrant construction workers. In the first series, the men live and work on a building site in Düsseldorf.
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was created by Franc Roddam after an idea from Mick Connell came to light (Mick Connell was a bricklayer from Stockton-on-Tees and was very good friends with Franc). It was mostly written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who also wrote The Likely Lads, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Porridge. Stan Hey also contributed writing a number of episodes. The first two series were co-produced by Clement and LaFrenais's Witzend Productions and Central Television and the series were broadcast on ITV in 1983-1984 and 1986. A successful revival of the show saw two series and a Christmas special shown on BBC One (after ITV had failed to re-secure rights for the Network) in 2002 and 2004.
Series 1: 1983–84
The first series, co-produced by Witzend Productions and Central Television for ITV in 1983, is the story of seven out-of-work construction workers from various parts of Britain who are forced to look for work in West Germany, although it focuses initially on three men from Newcastle upon Tyne making the journey to Germany, with the others being introduced along the way. (The title refers to their farewells to their wives and girlfriends - "Auf Wiedersehen" being German for "Farewell" or "Goodbye", and "Pet" being a North-East English term of endearment).
They find work on a German building site in Düsseldorf but despite promises of hostel accommodation, 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, an electrician from the Black Country, is an obsessive bore; Neville, one of the Geordie bricklayers, is an insecure young newlywed; fellow Geordie Oz, another bricklayer, is aggressive and jingoistic; and London joiner Wayne is a womaniser. The third Geordie is Dennis, a bricklayer who, being older, more experienced and generally more mature than the others, becomes the de facto leader of the group. The others are Bristolian bricklayer Bomber and Scouse ex-con plasterer Moxey. Over the course of 13 episodes the "Magnificent Seven" enjoy comic and romantic adventures, until a change in German tax laws forces them to return home.
The "building site" used for most of the filming was a set created on the backlot of the former ATV studios at Borehamwood (then owned by Central) and sometimes referred to as one of the Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. After its sale to the BBC in 1984, the "Albert Square" set of EastEnders was later built there. Such was the attention to detail that the producers imported thousands of bricks from West Germany as these were slightly bigger than those used on British building sites.
The show was one of the first to use lightweight video cameras on location in drama production. Previously used in Electronic News Gathering they were more versatile and cheaper to use than studio-based cameras. Interior scenes (such as those in the bar) were shot in studios at Borehamwood. Some location filming was conducted in Hamburg, despite the fact the series was set in Düsseldorf. Spotters will notice that in these scenes all the cars' registration numbers begin with HH denoting Hamburg (HH = Hansestadt Hamburg).
In 1988, ITV decided to use Auf Wiedersehen, Pet against EastEnders, the BBC's twice-weekly soap that had grown considerably in popularity since its launch in 1985. The original episodes had been shown in a late evening slot and hence were very adult in content; ITV wanted to show them during family viewing time, and also in a 30-minute slot. Consequently they cut each 50-minute episode into two 25-minute ones, thus turning 13 episodes into 26. The shows had to be further edited to remove adult language and sexual references to make them suitable for the desired family timeslot, and hence the plots often became confusing as key scenes were removed and much of the humour was lost. From the 5 April 1988, the edited shows began an ITV network run, slotted on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm in direct competition with EastEnders on BBC-1. There were viewer complaints about the editing, and after a few weeks Thames and TVS both opted out of the run and instead showed the original uncut episodes at 10.30pm on Mondays. The majority of ITV regions stayed with the edited run until its natural end in September. No attempt was made to repeat the exercise for series 2.
Series 2: 1986
The second series of 13 episodes in 1986 saw the boys reunited, initially to help Barry complete extensive building work on his new home in Wolverhampton. Dennis is working for a crooked businessman, Ally Fraser (played by Bill Paterson) after building up large debts to him. Dennis encourages the rest of the gang to help renovate a country manor house owned by Fraser, Thornely Manor, but end up falling foul of the locals. Fraser then invites the boys to Spain to refurbish his swimming pool at his Spanish villa. Once in Spain, the gang are mistaken for criminals themselves and the series ends with them fleeing the Spanish police in a motor yacht, together with Barry's new wife, who had only expected a wedding at sea.
Actor Gary Holton died before some of the final indoor scenes were filmed, and the scripts had to be reworked to explain Wayne's absence from these indoor scenes. Examples of this include various characters enquiring about Wayne's whereabouts, only to be told that he was chatting up a girl in the next room or that he had gone away for the day. A double was used in other scenes, such as one where Bomber manhandles Wayne away from Ally's girlfriend in a nightclub. The transmission of the final episode of Series 2 (Quo Vadis Pet) saw an introduction by Tim Healy dedicating the episode to Holton.
Location scenes in the UK were shot around the villages of Caunton, Nottinghamshire and Redmile, Leicestershire. Roundhill Primary School, Beeston, Nottinghamshire was used as the location for 'Walker Street Middle School'. Some scenes were also filmed in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. Studio scenes were filmed at Central's new studios in Nottingham, replacing those at Borehamwood.
Series 3: 2002
Sketches written and performed for the Sunday for Sammy charity concerts inspired Clement and Le Frenais to revive the series. In 2002 the show was revived, this time as a six-part series produced by Ziji Productions for BBC One. The original writers and all of the surviving cast returned, joined by Noel Clarke as Wayne's son Wyman. The characters all appeared to have moved on; Moxey was no longer a wanted criminal, Oz had given up drinking; Barry ran a seemingly successful business exporting out of date food to Russia; Neville ran a building company with his wife, Brenda called Nevenda Homes supplying pre-built homes from Scandinavia to DIY home builders. Dennis, however, was now a taxi driver whose biggest fare was on Tuesdays and Fridays driving a drug dealer around the area. The series' storyline revolves around a plan by a corrupt politician (played by Bill Nighy), whom Oz had met in prison, to dismantle the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (a real-life industrial landmark) and sell it for reconstruction in the Far East. Persuading Oz to get the old gang back together to dismantle the bridge, he then plans to cheat them out of their share of the profits, until a Native American from Arizona (played by Gordon Tootoosis) arrives to buy the bridge for the benefit of his tribe's casino after seeing an advert placed online by Oz. The lads fly to his reservation to reconstruct the bridge.
Each episode except the first featured a re-cap of the previous episode's events in a voiceover from Dennis, a feature not continued in the fourth series.
The special-effects depicting the dismantling of the bridge were so realistic that many people believed it was really being removed, forcing the BBC to add a caption to the final episode reassuring them that it was still there.
Despite some initial scepticism that the revival would not work, the show was an immediate hit.
Comic Relief sketch
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.
Series 4: 2004
A fourth series of six episodes was aired on BBC One from 4 January to 8 February 2004. The characters now work as building subcontractors for the British Embassy after a building job in Moscow goes badly wrong and are given a tip off from a friend of Oz who tells them about specialised embassy work. The team are posted to Havana to completely refurbish the British ambassador's new residence. They also carry out some unofficial building work for Oz's Cuban girlfriend's family.
Neville was reluctantly recruited as a spy for British Intelligence before they left UK and was duped into working for Tarquin Pearce, the press liaison officer at the Embassy, Oz falls in love with a prima ballerina ballet dancer Ofelia Ortiz, Barry finds himself in prison on the edge of a nervous breakdown, Moxey becomes a guinea pig trainer and Dennis ends up in a relationship with Wyman's mother.
Au Revoir: The two-part special
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2014)|
Two one-hour episodes were shot in Bangkok and Chiang Mai in July - August 2004 and broadcast on BBC 1 on 27 and 28 December. Shooting in Bangkok took place partly in the red-light district Soi Cowboy. Pat Roach, although suffering from cancer, had hoped to appear in the mini-series, but was not well enough and died in July. Instead, Dennis reads a letter from Bomber to the rest of the group while they are all dining in a restaurant, where he explains his reasons for not having joined them. The group lift their glasses and drink a toast; "To Bomber!".
The story sees the remaining six working in a British Embassy somewhere in central Africa that is about to be overrun by rioters. Most of them escape uninjured, except for Oz who sustains a painful injury to the rectum protecting a female staff member (while they are having sex) from a bomb.
The boys then move on to Laos and later Thailand, where Barry's Russian ex-wife, Tatiana turns up to announce that she is carrying his child following a brief "reconciliation" back in UK. After working for the Australian embassy Neville accompanies Barry and Tatiana for a journey upon the Eastern and Oriental Express in which they meet, by coincidence, Tarquin Pearce. During a stopover on this trip, Barry is kidnapped and held by guerrillas in a village in the jungle. When the others find out and follow they are also captured. They end up being imprisoned in a bamboo hut but are treated kindly by the local villagers. Eventually, Dennis has an idea (inspired by the film The Bridge on the River Kwai) to build a washhouse for the villagers to keep their minds occupied during their ordeal. After obtaining the guerrilla leader's satellite phone while he is asleep Neville manages to send a call for help to Brenda, his wife and as a result the army and the Australian embassy locate them. It turns out that the man who arranged their hostage taking by the guerrillas was Neville's corrupt handler, Tarquin Pearce (from Series 4). Deprived of their hostages, the guerrillas decide to take Tarquin hostage instead.
In the final scenes Dennis, Neville and Oz ask the embassy to give them an assignment in a nice peaceful country - and find themselves heading back to Germany once more. On the ferry from England, Neville is asked what Brenda said to him when he told her he was heading off to Germany, he replied that she said "Auf Wiedersehen... pet." Following a dedication to Pat Roach, the closing credits of the final episode are accompanied by the opening theme tune from Series 1.
- Dennis L. Patterson (Tim Healy) - Dennis, whether he likes it or not, has been co-opted as the leader of the "Magnificent Seven". When introduced, he is being divorced by his first wife Vera. He later has an affair with a German on-site secretary named Dagmar, played by Brigitte Kahn. In series two, he is working for a Newcastle upon Tyne gangster, Ally Fraser, to whom he is in debt. Fraser has a notorious reputation throughout the northeast. Dennis has two children and can sometimes be short-tempered, but is basically a man of high moral standards and has good people skills. At the opening of the third series, he is driving a mini-cab for a living and supplementing his income by working as a drug-dealer's driver.
- Neville Hope (Kevin Whately) - Neville is under the thumb of his wife Brenda. He constantly worries about the welfare of his wife and three children, and his heart is in Newcastle. He married young and has no regrets, although by the third series he is suffering from a mid-life crisis. In series four Neville comes of age working secretly for British Intelligence in Cuba.
- Leonard "Oz" Osborne (Jimmy Nail) - Oz, in the original series was a loud, belligerent, abrasive, drunken Geordie lout who showed no fidelity towards his wife or concern for his son. He had a xenophobic attitude to Germans, and later to Turks and Spaniards. His major passions in life were drinking and supporting Newcastle United. At the end of the second series, he wins the Spanish lottery and spends much of his new-found wealth on presents for his friends, but has squandered it by the beginning of the third series, in which he re-unites his five surviving pals at his own phoney funeral as a ruse to reunite the entire team. By this time the character has reformed, becoming more mature and less violent, and is prepared to lead his friends off on new adventures overseas. His son, Rod, has grown up, is a singer and is gay, which at first horrifies Oz. After going to see him perform on two occasions, Oz's maturity and new-found reformed nature wins through.
- Barry Spencer Taylor (Timothy Spall) - Barry is a bashful, boring, bumbling West Midlander (he mentions connections with West Bromwich and Wolverhampton and has a poster of Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. on the wall of his office) electrician with a large vocabulary and a motorbike. His tendency to be 'boring' and to look on the bleak side of things are mocked by his mates, but they retain some affection for him. He has been married twice, first to a local girl named Hazel (played by Melanie Hill), who left him for another woman, which is found out in the third series. He then later marries the glamorous Russian Tatiana played by Branka Katic. Both marriages end in divorce, but at the end of the special two part series he is reconciled with Tatiana especially now that she is expecting Barry's child, a result of an encounter back in UK.
- Albert Arthur Moxey (Christopher Fairbank) - Moxey is the only character not introduced in the first episode. He is a Scouse plasterer with bad acne and originally a stutter, although he has clearly had it cured by the time of the third series. Despite his friendly exterior, Moxey has a dark side: he is a convicted - albeit reformed - arsonist and does try to explain that it is more of a mental illness and that he always tries to ensure that no-one is in the building to be burned (Series three). At the beginning of the second series, he absconds from an open prison, and is thereafter on the run. During series three it emerges that he is now free from prison but that the local police need Moxey's help to gather information against Moxey's corrupt employer, Mickey Startup. He emigrates to Australia in the final episode of the special two part series with his new Australian girlfriend.
- Brian "Bomber" Busbridge (Pat Roach) - Bomber is a quiet 6'5" West Country brickie, heavily-built with a bushy beard, incredible strength and with a love of Bristol City although he is seen wearing a Bristol Rovers blue and white quartered shirt in series 4. He often 'goes with the flow' and lets others make decisions though is often the voice of reason and good sense. When the lads find themselves in trouble they often run to Bomber for help, even Oz. In real life, Pat Roach had been a very popular star of ITV television wrestling shows throughout the 1960s, so his series character had great authenticity for viewers.
- Wayne Winston Norris (Gary Holton) - describes himself, as a 'Jack the lad', a chirpy chippy, proud of his Cockney roots. His obsession with women often lands him and his friends in trouble. Initially without transport he relied on friends for lifts but by series 2 he has bought a red BMW 520. At the end of the first series, Wayne marries Christa, (played by Lysette Anthony), a secretary at the building site. According to his son, who knows little about his life, Wayne died of a congenital heart problem in 2000, and his part in "The Magnificent Seven" was replaced by his illegitimate son Wyman. Gary Holton died in 1985 after overdosing on drugs and before the filming of the second series finished. Often, Wayne's absence in the second series is explained in dialogue with phrases like "He's gone to town to look for girls". The series was not filmed in chronological order so he is present in the final episode yet absent during earlier Spanish indoor scenes. The last episode is dedicated to Gary Holton.
- Wyman Ian Norris (Noel Clarke) is introduced in season three at the "funeral for Oz" where they find out Wayne died a few years ago. He is a DJ but then decides to join the gang to try to make some money on the bridge job and find out more about his father he never knew.
The wives, girlfriends and exes:
- Julia Tobin as Brenda Elizabeth Hope: Wife of Neville (Series 1–4 & Special)
- Lysette Anthony as Christa Norris: Girlfriend of Wayne. Later wife, then ex-wife (Series 1 & Mentions in Series 2)
- Caroline Hutchinson as Vera Patterson: Ex-Wife of Dennis (Series 1)
- Brigitte Kahn as Dagmar: Girlfriend of Dennis (Series 1)
- Sheila Reid as Patsy Busbridge: Wife of Bomber (Series 1)
- Su Elliot as Marjorie Osborne: Wife, later ex-Wife of Oz (Series 1–2)
- Melanie Hill as Hazel Taylor: 1st Wife of Barry (Series 2)
- Madelaine Newton as Christine Chadwick: Girlfriend of Dennis (Series 2)
- Lesley Saint John as Vicky: Girlfriend of Ally Fraser and then Oz (Series 2)
- Branka Katic as Tatiana Taylor: 2nd Wife of Barry (Series 3–4 & Special)
- Georgina Lightning as Lainie Proudfoot: Girlfriend of Bomber (Series 3)
- Josefina Gabrielle as Ofelia Ortiz: Ex-Girlfriend of Oz (Series 4)
- Zoë Eeles as Tina: Ex-Girlfriend of Wyman Norris (Series 4): was the assistant of Tarquin Pearce and a love interest for Wyman Norris. It is speculated that she has had a sexual relationship with Tarquin. Tina and Wyman's romance ended when the Lads completed their work in Cuba.
The main supporting cast from all four series:
- Michael Sheard as Herr Grunwald (Series 1)
- Peter Birch as Herr Ulrich (Series 1)
- Michael Elphick as Magowan (Series 1): A violent, alcoholic thug from Liverpool who was always looking for trouble, yet was never fired for his antics as he was one of the best bricklayers on site. Most of the lads feared him, except Oz, who got on well with him and Bomber, who was too big for Magowan to intimidate. When he was evicted from the hostel for assaulting staff, Oz invited Magowan to stay in the hut, much to the dismay of the other lads. By the time the lads had left Germany, Magowan had finally been imprisoned for his aggressive behaviour
- Ray Winstone as Colin Latham (Series 1): was a soldier who went on the run following a rough time with some of his fellow soldiers. He met the Lads when they visited the Country in Germany, and he went to work with them in Dussledolf. Dennis and Neville later persuaded him to return to the army, and he remained in touch with Neville via letters.
- Bill Paterson as Ally Fraser (Series 2)
- Val McLane as Norma (series 2): is Dennis Patterson's older sister. She let Dennis live at her house when he divorced his wife Vera. She disapproved of her brother's association with Ally Fraser. She was also close to Brenda and Neville Hope. She wasn't happy when Moxey and Oz began sleeping in her front room. She was not seen nor mentioned after Series 2.
- James Booth as Kenny Ames (Series 2)
- Bryan Pringle as Arthur Pringle (Series 2): the snobbish, grumpy landlord of the lads' local when they were staying in Derbyshire. He was often irritated by the lads, especially Oz and Wayne. He seems to dislike Wayne the most, due to Wayne seducing his daughter Carol, and as punishment, he bans Wayne and the rest of the lads from his pub. But after it is revealed that he once attended a sex party hosted by Kenny Ames, he is blackmailed into lifting the ban.
- Catherine Rabett as Carole Pringle (Series 2)
- Kevin Lloyd as Harry Blackburn (Series 2) A Plumber and Country & Western enthusiast. He is always dressed in cowboy gear and drives a Ford Bronco.
- Ying Tong John as Big Baz (Series 2): Ally Fraser's minder. Although he appears to be hard man, he has been beaten by both Bomber and Oz, with Bomber breaking his nose and hand and Oz stunning him.
- John Bowler as Howard Radcliffe (Series 2)
- James Bate as Malcolm Hallwood (Series 2)
- Simon Smith as Trevor (Series 2)
- Barry Hollinshead as Rodney Osborne (Series 2)
- Mark Stobart as Rodney Osborne (Series 3)
- Eric Mason as Terry Leather (Series 2)
- Bill Nighy as Jeffrey Grainger (Series 3)
- Emily Bruni as Sarah (Series 3)
- Michael Angelis as Mickey Startup (Series 3)
- Zelda Tinska as Irena (Series 3)
- Gordon Tootoosis as Joe Saugus (Series 3)
- Aleksandar Mikich as Dhori (Series 3)
- Dragan Mićanović as Kadi (Series 3)
- Sandra James-Young as Chrissie (Series 4)
- Caroline Harker as Pru Scott-Johns (Series 4)
- Clive Russell as Gary Turnbull (Series 4)
- Alexander Hanson as Tarquin Pearce (Series 4 & special)
- Javier Alcina as Raúl Ortiz (Series 4)
- David Cheung as Michael Goy (Series 4)
- Hector Then as Neville's Minder (Series 4)
The opening and closing credits for the first two series were each accompanied by songs performed by Joe Fagin. In series one "Breakin' Away", written by David Mackay and Ian La Frenais, accompanied the opening credits. Ken Ashby collaborated with Mackay on "That's Livin' Alright", a song that closed each episode. The songs were released as a 7" single, and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in January 1984. It was reissued in 1995 when the show was repeated on Channel 4. With new lyrics by Jimmy Lawless, Fagin released a special version of "That's Livin' Alright" for England's national football team's 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign. "That's England Alright" was released on 5 June 2006.
Mackay and La Frenais also collaborated on "Get it Right", the song used for the opening credits of series two. Like the first series, Ken Ashby collaborated with Mackay for series two's closing credits song, "Back With the Boys Again". The two tracks were released together as a double-sided single, but only reached number 53 in the UK charts in April 1986.
The tradition of using two separate songs was broken when the BBC revived the show. Instrumental music opened each episode of the third series. However, the closing credits were accompanied by Mark Knopfler's song "Why Aye Man", taken from his album The Ragpicker's Dream. Incidental music was used for the fourth series and for the special. However, when the character of Dennis reveals a photograph of all of the original group taken in Germany, "Breakin' Away" begins and continues over the final credits of the show. A CD is now available entitled 'The Best of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet One & Two' and contains 29 tracks of vocal music and instrumentals.
Commercial availability and repeat broadcasts
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is available on DVD in the UK and US as boxsets and single discs with three episodes on each. The show was largely repeated on ITV1 and ITV4 but the show has not been re-run on these channels since 2008. The programme was shown on Men & Motors for a while, but the channel has since closed. In June 2012, Digital Channel Yesterday picked up the rights to repeat the first three series of the show; these were then shown at 10 am and 4 pm on Weekdays. Yesterday had to edit the third series' episodes to fit into their timing schedules; therefore instead of them being 60 minutes in length they were reduced to 45 minutes. This was not apparent with the repeats of the first two series. In January 2013, Yesterday bought the fourth series but, again due to timing, these were also edited from 60nto 45 minutes, meaning several parts of the storyline been cut. From July 2013, Drama picked up the rights to rerun the series as part of its schedules.
- The Complete First Series was released in a Carry - Case Boxed Set on 27 May 2002 by Carlton.
- The Complete Second Series was released in a Boxset on 8 July 2002 by Carlton.
- The Complete Series 1 & 2 Boxset was released on 7 October 2002 by Carlton.
- The Complete Brand New Series was released on DVD & VHS on 18 November 2002 by VCI.
- The Complete Fourth Series was released on DVD on 9 February 2004 by VCI.
- The Special was Released on DVD on 10 January 2005 by VCI.
- The Complete Series 1 & 2 was Re-issued by ITV Studios Home Entertainment on 1 September 2008.
- AufPetOnline.com: Trivia
- Stephenson, John-Paul (13 October 2012). "Interview: Brendan Healy". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "TV theme reworked for World Cup". BBC News Online. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- "いいオンナ警備隊". Thatsenglandalright.com. 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2013-08-26. (Japanese)
- Guinness British Hit Singles, 10th ed.
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- The Official Auf Wiedersehen Pet Website
- Auf Wiedersehen, Pet at the Internet Movie Database
- Auf Wiedersehen, Pet at TV.com
- Auf Wiedersehen Pet at BBC Online
- The Auf Wiedersehen Pet DVD Campaign
- Aufpet online
- Sunday For Sammy Bi-Annual concert which in the past has featured live Auf Wiedersehen Pet shorts.