|This article's listed sources may not meet Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. (October 2011)|
|Created by||Reg Watson|
|Opening theme||"Forbidden Love"
performed by The Wanderer
|Country of origin||Germany|
|No. of seasons||18|
|No. of episodes||4,280 (May 2013)|
|Executive producer(s)||Elke Kimmlinger|
|Camera setup||Multiple-camera setup|
|Running time||approx. 25 minutes
(2 January 1995 - 20 June 2011)
approx. 45 minutes
(21 June 2011 - 18 January 2012)
approx. 40 minutes
(23 January 2012 - present)
|Production company(s)||Grundy UFA TV Produktions GmbH|
|Original channel||Das Erste|
(4:3 SDTV) (2 January 1995 - 4 September 2007)
(16:9 SDTV) (5 September 2007 - 6 January 2011)
(16:9 HDTV) (7 January 2011– present)
|Original run||2 January 1995
( 18 years, 135 days)
Verbotene Liebe (pronounced [fɛɐ̯ˈboːtənə ˈliːbə]; literal translation: "Forbidden Love") is a German television soap opera created by Reg Watson for Das Erste. The show is set primarily in the German city of Düsseldorf although, at times, the city of Cologne and the Spanish island of Majorca have figured prominently in the show's story lines. First broadcast on 2 January 1995, Verbotene Liebe was originally broadcast in 24-minute episodes, five times a week. It expanded to 45-minute episodes on 21 June 2011 and trimmed back to 40-minute episodes on 23 January 2012 to accommodate an adjusted time-slot. In 2006, Pay-TV network Passion began broadcasting episodes of the show from the beginning.
Verbotene Liebe was initially based on original story and character outlines from the Australian soap opera Sons and Daughters, before evolving into a show of its own as the series progressed. The show originally focused on two core families: the wealthy Anstetten family and the middle-class Brandner family. More specifically, it dealt with the story of Jan Brandner and Julia von Anstetten, two strangers whose fascination for each other leads them to fall in love, neither of them cognizant of the fact that they are twins separated by their parents. It is this story of forbidden love that gave the series its title. As cast members left the show, many characters were written out of the storyline, and new ones were added. Sometimes this included whole families. Writers attempted to phase out the dwindling Brandner family by introducing a new middle-class family, the Prozeskis, as foils for the wealthy Anstettens, but the Brandners proved to be too popular with fans, and the Prozeskis left as quickly as they came. Currently, much of the drama centers around the Wolf family and the aristocratic Lahnstein family.
The series has become well known for its groundbreaking treatment of LGBT characters, presenting bisexuality and homosexuality as normal, and homosexual relationships as equal to heterosexual relationships on the show. For this reason, it has become popular with gay and lesbian audiences in Europe and the United States. Ever on the cutting edge, the series is not afraid to tackle controversial issues such as drug addiction, murder, rape, suicide, adultery, homophobia, incest, alcoholism, drug abuse, schizophrenia, HIV, miscarriage, kidnapping, and sexual confusion.
In 2005, Verbotene Liebe received the prestigious Rose d'Or award for "Best Soap," and in 2010 was nominated for the category of "Best Soap or Telenovela." More recently, the show was nominated for eight German Soap Awards in 2011, winning three. The show is filmed at the Cologne-Ossendorf studios of the Magic Media Company, with outdoor scenes and exterior shots regularly shot in and around Cologne and Düsseldorf. In January 2011, the series began filming in high definition.
German television channel Das Erste ("The First") began airing Verbotene Liebe in January 1995 after many months of planning and production. The project was initially planned for RTL Television, another German channel, but executives there were skeptical that the concept of a love story between a brother and a sister could prove successful. Das Erste took on the project and told the memorable story of Jan Brandner and Julia von Anstetten, two young people who find themselves immediately drawn to each other, although they have just met. The affecting story of the two siblings is told in the first 600 episodes, and is identified today with the series title. In addition to Jan and Julia and their love story, the complex scheming of the other characters made the show popular with audiences. Clarissa von Anstetten becomes popular as Jan and Julia's conniving mother, earning her an unofficial title as the German Alexis Colby. (Interestingly, the "real" Alexis Colby, Joan Collins, had a brief recurring role as Lady Joan on Verbotene Liebe in 2010.) Tanja von Anstetten, too, soon rises to fame for being a murderous vixen. This classic formula brought Verbotene Liebe attention in the press and, with it, a large fan base resulting in three million viewers tuning in on a daily basis.
The series underwent some major changes when actress Valerie Niehaus announced her decision to leave the show after more than two years in the role of Julia. The writers re-focused the storyline on Clarissa and tried to put more attention on her with the addition of her family, the Prozeskis. This new middle-class family was to be the new counterpart to the wealthy Anstetten family, since many of the original Brandner family members had left the show. But the Brandners were too popular, and fans did not seem interested in Clarissa's origins or how she went about becoming a countess. As a result, Clarissa's mother, Erna, and her brother, Walter, were written out of the show by having the characters die in a car accident. Meanwhile, with his character's big, juicy storyline behind him, Andreas Brucker sought to leave his role as Jan. With Jan caught in a failed love relationship with Kerstin Richter, the writers chose to write both characters out of the show's storyline rather than recast the roles. The departures of both Niehaus and Brucker within such a brief amount of time led to the fan-created legend that Jan and Julia had reunited off-screen, somewhere else.
Even with her family gone, the focus remains on Clarissa as she is sent to war against Christoph and Barbara von Anstetten. Eventually, the writers again tried to dredge up Clarissa's past for a storyline. Peter Kaufmann, Clarissa's first husband, appears on the scene to expose Clarissa as a fraud and a bigamist, since the couple had never divorced. Years before, she had forced Peter to flee the country, and then had him declared dead, all before she ever met Christoph von Anstetten and Arno Brandner. However, at the beginning of the series it is revealed that Clarissa was just eighteen years old when she became pregnant by Arno. So a marriage before she even met Arno was either a huge continuity gaffe or that she had been married while in her early teens. The story was not well liked by fans nor by Isa Jank herself. Disagreements with the producers over her role led to the actress's departure from the show a little over a year after the Peter Kaufmann story concluded. It took almost ten years to woo Jank back into the iconic role. Meanwhile, Clarissa's hate for Tanja von Anstetten develops into a heartless, cutthroat rivalry between the two women. From the beginning, Clarissa knows that Tanja is a dangerous person to have around. Having made a similar climb up the social ladder herself, Clarissa understands what Tanja is all about. So when Tanja pretends to be pregnant with the child of Henning von Anstetten, Clarissa's stepson, in order to get him to marry her, Clarissa exposes Tanja as a fraud and a golddigger. Tanja vows revenge on the entire Anstetten family and total destruction of Clarissa. After scoring a job at one of the Anstetten businesses, Tanja puts Clarissa's company in danger by trying to sell cheap knockoff clothing under the Ligne Clarisse label. The lines are drawn for battle, and the war continues today.
The end of the 90s saw the return of Henning von Anstetten, a number of love stories involving the younger characters, the gay love story of Ulli Prozeski and Tom Seifert, the exit of Barbara von Anstetten, and the introduction of Elisabeth Ryan, who would become an important part of the show in the next decade.
Gay/lesbian storylines and other changes 
The turn of the century brought with it the rising popularity of gay storylines. In 1999, the groundbreaking love story of Ulli and Tom begins as the coming-out story of a young gay man, Ulli Prozeski, who had formerly led a straight life. After Andreas Stenschke, the actor portraying Ulli, left the show in late 2000, Tom hooks up with the new guy in town, Oliver Sabel, played by Jo Weil. Six months later, in 2001, Ulli suddenly returns to town for a two-week stay that creates tensions between Tom and Oliver. Oliver feels very uncomfortable having Tom's old boyfriend around, and his feeling is justified when he catches Tom and Ulli in a reunion fling, which, sadly for Ulli, does not win his man back. Tom and Ulli are finally reunited with guest appearances in the show's 10th anniversary episode in 2005. Today, the story of Tom and Ulli is available for viewing in several clips online.
The series suffered a blow in 2001 with the announcement that Isa Jank was leaving her iconic role as Clarissa. Her exit was written into the story along with a brief return of Miriam Lahnstein's Tanja. Jank's exit was caused by creative differences with the show's producers over the direction her character was taking. After she left, it was rumored several times that Jank would return in her role as Clarissa, but Jank denied the possibility as late as 2008. After a ten-year absence, however, the actress did return to the small screen as Clarissa on 21 June 2011.
The brother-sister storyline was changed, and returned with the love story of Henning von Anstetten and Marie von Beyenbach in 2001, and later, with Sarah Hofmann and Leonard von Lahnstein in 2006. It was clear to audiences from the beginning that Henning and Marie are not related, and that it is all just a scheme by Tanja. Leonard and Sarah are supposedly half-siblings, sharing the same father. That possibility ends at Leonard's wedding to Jana Brandner, when Adrian Degenhardt admits that he, and not Johannes von Lahnstein, is Leonard's father. Both of these attempts failed to fascinate viewers. The writers tried a different outcome in the fall of 2009 with the introduction of the twins, Helena and Tristan von Lahnstein. This time the forbidden love is said to have come from the mind of a mentally ill Tristan, who admits to being in love with his sister, and even schemes against Helena's boyfriend, Andi Fritzsche, by having him charged with rape.
Verbotene Liebe received international attention in 2008 with the love story of Christian Mann and Oliver Sabel. The gay couple was featured in a story in the British magazine reFRESH and in an article in the 23 September issue of Soap Opera Weekly. Since then, the show has developed a large following elsewhere in Europe and beyond. The relationship between Oliver and Christian unfolds as a love story of two people who happen to be gay, rather than one of gay caricatures trying to play house, as is often the case. The ups and downs of the couple's relationship play out over four years to the couple's engagement and wedding, and continue on.
The show also attracted international popularity with characters Carla von Lahnstein and Stella Mann as a lesbian couple. They are featured on the gay media interest website AfterEllen.com, and their relationship is chronicled in detail in gay media interest blogs. Before her relationship with Stella, Carla was involved in romances with Hanna Novak and Susanne Brandner.
Current cast members 
|Janina Isabell Batoly||Bella Jacob||2012–|
|Stefanie Bock||Leonie Richter||2011–2013|
|Till Demtrøder||Thomas Wolf||2011–|
|Wolfram Grandezka||Ansgar von Lahnstein||2004–|
|Jens Hartwig||Tristan von Lahnstein||2009–|
|Tatjana Kästel||Rebecca von Lahnstein||2012–|
|Jana Julie Kilka||Jessica Stiehl||2010–|
|Melanie Kogler||Marlene von Lahnstein||2011–|
|Miriam Lahnstein||Tanja von Lahnstein||1995–1998, 2001, 2004–|
|Gabriele Metzger||Charlie Schneider||1995–|
|Nicole Mieth||Kim Wolf||2011–|
|Dominic Saleh-Zaki||Andi Fritzsche||2001–2007, 2009–|
|Patricia Schäfer||Viktoria Wolf||2011–|
|Sebastian Schlemmer||Sebastian von Lahnstein||2009–|
|Remo Schulze||Timo Mendes||2011–2013|
|Daniel Sellier||Dr. Ricardo Mendes||2011–|
|Martina Servatius||Elisabeth von Lahnstein||1999–|
|Jo Weil||Olli Sabel||1999–2002, 2007–|
|Diane Willems||Dana Wolf||2011–|
|Florian Wünsche||Emilio Sanchez||2011–|
Recurring cast members 
|Melvin-Maximilian Eisenstein||Hannes von Lahnstein||2011–|
|Rosemarie Klein||Mrs. Linse||2008–|
|Lutz Marquardt||Luca Fontanello||2009–|
|Nicole Schweizer||Tine Dröge||2011–|
|Claus Thull-Emden||Butler Justus Stiehl||2007–|
|Katrin Wolter||Josie Zech||2012–|
Comings and goings 
|Julia Sontag||Martha Wolf||Debuts 16th May|
|Kristian Kiehling||Juri Adam||Debuts 30th May|
|Remo Schulze||Timo Mendes||Exits 30th May|
Broadcasting and ratings 
VL German Broadcast History:
- 2 January 1995 - 30 December 2004: Mon-Fri 5:55pm on Das Erste, approx. 23 minutes
- 5 January 1998 - 25 September 1998: Mon-Fri 9:03am on Das Erste (episodes 1-171)
- 22 June 1999 - 30 December 1999: Mon-Fri 9.03am on Das Erste (episodes 172-250)
- 3 January 2005 - 28 December 2007: Mon-Fri 5:50pm on Das Erste, approx. 23 minutes
- 1 December 2006 – present on Passion (reruns; stylized as 'classics')
- 7 January 2008 - 20 June 2011: Mon-Fri 6:00pm on Das Erste, approx. 23 minutes
- 21 June 2011 - 18 January 2012: Mon-Fri 6:00pm on Das Erste, approx. 44 minutes
- 23 January 2012 – 7 June 2012: Mon-Fri 5:50pm on Das Erste, approx. 38 minutes
- 22 June 2011 – 11 June 2012: Mon-Fri about 8:00am on MDR (previous day's broadcast)
- 6 September 2011 – 11 June 2012: Mon-Fri 12:00pm on EinsFestival (previous day's broadcast)
- 23 March 2012 - 11 June 2012: Mon-Fri 6:40am on NDR (previous day's broadcast)
- 16 April 2012 - 11 June 2012: Mon-Fri 11:45am on BR (previous day's broadcast)
- 11 June 2012 – present: Mon-Fri 6:05 pm on Das Erste, approx. 38 minutes
- 12 June 2012 – 15 March 2013: Mon-Fri 6:40am on NDR (previous day's broadcast)
- 12 June 2012 – 21 March 2013: Mon-Fri 7:05am on MDR (previous day's broadcast)
- 12 June 2012 – 12 October 2012: Mon-Fri 11:45am on BR (previous day's broadcast)
- 12 June 2012 – 21 March 2013: Mon-Fri 12:00pm on EinsFestival (previous day's broadcast)
In the beginning, Verbotene Liebe aired weekdays at around 5:55pm on Das Erste and was followed by fellow soap opera Marienhof, creating a soap line-up for the network. The line-up proved successful in its early years and showed a lot of contrast. VL was labeled as glamor soap, while Marienhof showed the working-class of fictional district in Cologne. Becoming a huge success, Das Erste decided to show reruns in the early morning. With a break from about nine months, the network aired the first 250 episodes, who later were labeled as the show's first season.
After seven years on the air, the soap opera started slowly to lose viewers. Still a ratings success several cast changes seemed to hurt the show in the process. When Das Erste decided to change the airtime of both soaps, Verbotene Liebe (5:50pm) and Marienhof (6:20pm), particularly VL had now to challenge RTL's soap opera Unter uns, which ended at 6:00pm. After two years, Das Erste changed the airtime again. Verbotene Liebe started around 6:00pm and still provided the lead-in for Marienhof, which started around 6:25pm again. In the meanwhile, the Pay-TV channel Passion started airing repeats in late 2006. However, the original airings of Verbotene Liebe and Marienhof continued to lose viewers and in late 2010 cancellation rumors started to surround fan bases. Das Erste eventually canceled Marienhof after over 18 years on the air and continued Verbotene Liebe, extending their episodes to 50 minutes with commercial breaks. The glamor soap served as the lead-in for various new crime dramedy series'. With the extension, VL now aired repeats on several ARD stations.
The line-up however was changed when the network signed Thomas Gottschalk and developed a new evening talk show for him. Gottschalk Live premiered in January 2012, causing Verbotene Liebe to lose about six minutes per episode and being a rival to Unter uns again. The talk show failed miserably and was canceled in June 2012. That lead to the network changing the air time of Verbotene Liebe yet again. It was announced that the soap opera would return to its old time slot at 6:00pm. However, VL actually airs now around 6:10pm. Fans complained about the several air time changes, indicating that the glamor soap and former glory of the Das Erste evening program has become the ugly step-child.
As of the end of March 2013, all local stations of the ARD stopped airing the previous day's broadcast of the show.
In 2008, Grundy UFA worked out a contract with the video-sharing website Sevenload to make the first season of Verbotene Liebe, consisting the first 250 episodes, available online. Sevenload started with the first episode on August 25, 2008. After rumors about new contract, Grundy UFA and Sevenload ended their cooperation in the following year.
Das Erste started with its own video library, Das Erste: Mediathek, in May 2008 and airs extended previews, specials and new episodes (for seven days) of Verbotene Liebe.
Grundy UFA instead went into business with the video-on-demand platform Maxdome, which is owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Media. The first 800 episodes were made available for 0,99€ per episode with a valid link for 48 hours. Maxdome also owns rights to new episodes, adding them right after television broadcast starting with episode 3400. With episode 3820 the show is available in high-definition.
In 2012, MyVideo became another provider for old Verbotene Liebe episodes. Under the label Verbotene Liebe classics are currently 360 episodes available for free. MyVideo and Grundy UFA plan to extend the video library to more than the first 1000 episodes of the show. Currently there isn't an official schedule when MyVideo plans on releasing more episodes.
In the show's best years, Verbotene Liebe had three million viewers per episode, the second highest rated soap opera behind Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten, with a 16 percent market share overall. That all began to change in 2007, when the show began losing viewers. In 2008, ratings dropped dramatically as viewers became dissatisfied with recent casting changes and lackluster storylines. On 15 December 2008, only 1.57 million viewers watched the show. Producers reacted immediately and moved the storylines in a different direction. The 3333rd episode was seen by 2.18 million viewers and featured an elegant masked ball.
One year later, Verbotene Liebe faced rumors of cancellation, when Das Erste announced intended changes to the lineup. The show was revamped, and eventually it was lead-out soap Marienhof that went off the air in mid-2011. Verbotene Liebe was extended to an hour and took over Marienhof's problematic time-slot, resulting in a dip in ratings. The ratings got much worst in 2012, which again lead to rumors that the soap opera might get canceled. Overall, Verbotene Liebe halved it's ratings in the last five years.
(in millions/target group 14-49)
(target group 14-49)
|2007||Monday-Friday 5:50pm||Das Erste||244||2.23||0.63||13,7%||10,8%|
|2008||Monday-Friday 6:00pm||Das Erste||227||1.96||0.59||12,2%||10,0%|
|2009||Monday-Friday 6:00pm||Das Erste||229||1.83||0.54||11,5%||9,3%|
|2010||Monday-Friday 6:00pm||Das Erste||224||1.78||0.47||10,8%||7,9%|
|2011||Monday-Friday 6:00pm||Das Erste||234||1.61||0.40||9,6%||7,0%|
|2012||Monday-Friday 6:00pm||Das Erste||216||1.31||0.29||7,9%||5,3%|
German Soap Awards 
- 2012 "Best Actor" Wolfram Grandezka (Ansgar von Lahnstein)
- 2012 "Fan Award Male" Jo Weil (Oliver Sabel)
- 2011 "Sexiest Woman" Jasmin Lord (Rebecca von Lahnstein)
- 2011 "Fan Award Male" Jo Weil (Oliver Sabel)
- 2011 "Most Beautiful Couple" Oliver Sabel and Christian Mann
Rose d'Or 
- 2005 "Best Soap"
See also 
- List of Verbotene Liebe characters
- List of cast members of Verbotene Liebe
- Minor characters of Verbotene Liebe
- List of longest-serving soap opera actors
-  (German)
- Fernsehserien.de: First air date Verbotene Liebe (German)
- Ulli and Tom Story on Verbotene Liebe on YouTube with English subtitles
- Deutsche Dailys.de - Clarissa's return date
- Deutsche-Dailys.de - Summary for Verbotene Liebe (German)
- Thore and Jo in reFRESH magazine
- Soap Opera Weekly: Soaps Overseas
- mels blog
- "Verbotene Liebe" available via Sevenload
- Verbotene Liebe classics on MyVideo
- Das Erste.de - Erfolg (German)
- Das Erste.de - Quoten (German)
- Welt Online (German)
- Deine Soaps - Quoten (German)
- Presseportal (German)
- "Verbotene Liebe" and "Marienhof" canceled?
- "Quotenmeter.de". Quotenmeter.de. January 20, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Vebotene Liebe at the Internet Movie Database
- Ufa - Production Website
- ZDF Enterprises - International Distributor: Straight to Your Heart - The Latest Season of 'Forbidden Love'
- ZDF Enterprises - International Distributor: Forbidden Love
- Passion.de: Verbotene Liebe classics
- Maxdome.de: Video on demand - Extensive archive & new episodes
- MyVideo.de: Extensive archive video library
- Deutsche-Dailys.de: Verbotene Liebe
- Verbotene Liebe-Spoiler
- This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.