Samson en Gert (TV series)
|Samson & Gert|
Samson and Gert in Plopsaland De Panne
|Format||Children's television series|
|Directed by||Bart Van Leemputten|
|Country of origin||Belgium|
|No. of episodes||Over 750|
|Running time||20-25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Studio 100|
Originally Gert Verhulst was a continuity announcer. He wanted to make the announcements before children's television programmes more appealing by having an animal puppet next to him. He got in touch with puppeteer Danny Verbiest, who created the puppet dog Samson. Samson, an Old English Sheepdog, made his screen debut in the Christmas period of 1989.
The pair's popularity grew very rapidly in Flanders and they were given their own television series in 1990. The show, named Samson, premiered on September 2, 1990. During the show, Samson and Gert and their friends would encounter many funny and chaotic situations. The plot would be interrupted for contests, fan mail and a variety of cartoons, such as The Smurfs, Ovide and the Gang, and Mrs. Pepper Pot.
The production of new episodes ceased in 2005, but the series is still broadcast in Flanders and the Netherlands and is very popular with children. Peter Thyssen replaced Danny Verbiest in the role of Samson.
Samson and Gert's first movie, Hotel op Stelten ("Panic in the Hotel"), premiered on 12 March 2008. It also stars their friends Alberto, Octaaf, Modest and Eugène.
Concept and characters
Samson is a sweet naive Old English Sheepdog who can speak but consistently mispronounces certain words and cannot get names right. His best friend is his boss Gert. Samson is in love with Bobientje, another Old English Sheepdog, and Gert is in love with Marlène. Bobientje and Marlène are both unseen characters, but are mentioned in almost every episode.
Samson and Gert live together in a big house at 101 Main Street, where a lot of funny and chaotic situations take place. Their (clumsy) neighbour, Joop Mengelmoes, broke the doorbell at the house when they first met, in the very first episode. Every visitor now enters the house with the catchphrase "I had to knock because the doorbell is broken" - one of many catchphrases in the programme.
The village mayor, Modest, seems more interested in model aircraft than in his work as mayor. He always makes the same speech: "To those who are present: congratulations! For those who are absent: congratulations as well!". He is assisted by his playful and hyperactive secretary Eugène Van Leemhuyzen. The minister's delegate regularly pays a visit to the town, but his visits always occur at the worst possible time.
The local grocery store is run by Octaaf De Bolle and his overbearing mother Jeannine. Octaaf is extremely conceited and vain, but in reality he is nothing but a bungler. He is the president of the local gymnastics club and he thinks of himself as an athlete. He also has a teenage daughter, Miranda. His mother Jeannine is the proud president of the local crafts club. Just like her son, Jeannine is not afraid to brag.
The town's best (and only) hairdresser is Albert Vermeersch, alias "Alberto Vermicelli". He doesn't get a lot of customers, so he eats a lot to pass the time. Aside from eating, Albert enjoys singing and is an active participant in the local opera company. Although it was never revealed in the series, Albert is seen as a homosexual by the audience. In 2009, actor Koen Crucke, who played the role, told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad Albert is based upon the role of the gay hairdresser he played in the movie Koko Flanel but does not reveal anything about the sexual orientation of Albert.
As in every Belgian village, there is a friture (chip shop). The owner of the friture, Fred Kroket, is never shown on screen but he often tries to sell jars of mayonnaise and pickles by phone. He retired from business in 2001, after which his cousin Frieda took over. Frieda immediately fell in love with Albert, but sadly her love remained unrequited.
|Character name||Portrayed by||Time date|
|1989 - 2005
2005 - 2013
|Joop Mengelmoes||Stef Bos||1990 - 1991|
|Albert Vermeersch||Koen Crucke||1990–present|
|The mayor||Walter De Donder||1990–present|
|Octaaf De Bolle||Walter Van De Velde||1992 - 2002|
|Miranda De Bolle||Liesbet Verstraete||1992 - 1993|
|Jeannine De Bolle||Ann Petersen †||1994 - 1999|
|Sofie||Evi Hanssen||1994 - 1995|
|Eugène Van Leemhuyzen||Walter Baele||1998–present|
|Minister's delegate||Hans Royaards||1999 – 2013|
|Frieda Kroket||Barbara De Jonge||2000 - 2003|
|Minister||Luc Meirte||2003 - 2005|
A couple of characters are often mentioned but never shown on screen: Fred Kroket, Albert's mother and uncle, Gert's love rival Jean-Louis Michel and the mayor's housekeeper Marie. Eugène Van Leemhuyzen was an unseen character before he debuted on the show in 1998.
Samson and Gert released their first CD in March 1991. 16 CDs have been released since.
Since 1991, Samson and Gert have hosted an annual theater show during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, the Samson & Gert Christmas Show. During these theater shows, Samson and Gert perform their most popular songs while their friends try to entertain the audience. Even though no new episodes have been produced since 2005, the theater shows are still being held each year.
From 1991 to 1999, Samson and Gert also went on a theater tour during the summer season, touring Flanders in a circus tent. The summer shows have been held in Plopsaland De Panne since the theme park opened in 2000.