Bassie & Adriaan

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Bassie & Adriaan
Bassie & Adriaan.png
Created byAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Joop van den Ende
StarringAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Paul van Gorcum
and others
Country of originNetherlands
No. of episodes144
Running time25 minutes (without commercials)
Original networkNederland 2 (TROS) (1978-1990)
TV 2 (TROS) (1992-1996)
Original release1978 –
External links

Bassie & Adriaan are a former Dutch circus duo who starred in their own television series. Bassie is a ginger-haired red-nosed clown who wears a red tartan-jacket and green trousers; he's fond of cream-cakes, and calls himself "stupid, but not smart". Adriaan is an acrobat in a blue (originally purple) 1970s-style shirt; his philosophy is "Whatever happens, always keep smiling". They performed together till the mid-2010s and still enjoy a huge popularity in Netherlands and Belgium.


1957–75; early career[edit]

Bas van Toor (born 1935) left school at an early age to pursue a number of odd-jobs. At 19 he joined the circus and spent a year on the road. After this, he decided to form an acrobat duo with his brother Aad (born 1942). In 1959, The Melton Brothers/The Crocksons were born.

In 1965, they embarked on what was planned to be a two-year stint abroad; they stayed abroad ten years instead. During this period they befriended Siegfried & Roy, incorporated the wives into their act (The Four Crocksons) and staged children's matinees in Dutch, German and English while residing in Spain for nightclub-shows. The seeds for Bassie & Adriaan were sown in 1964 when the brothers did a clown act as part of Rudi Carrell's travelling circus.

1976–82; series guide part I[edit]

De Plaaggeest[edit]

In 1975, Bassie & Adriaan went back home for what was supposed to be their last five years as acrobats; but they met Joop van den Ende, TV-producer and a theatre-owner, who suggested they make a television series. A pilot was taped in 1976 and integrated in the actual series which was broadcast by TROS from January 10 to April 4, 1978.

In De Plaaggeest (The Poltergeist) Bassie & Adriaan find themselves abandoned by their own circus because they overslept, and with no tour-schedule in sight or any money they're forced to take other jobs but lose each one. The Poltergeist, who's more of a prankster than a poltergeist (wearing a black cape, makeup, and a fool's hat), is responsible in part for their misery. Bassie & Adriaan are saved by a self-proclaimed free spirit called Douwe whom they meet on the work-floor. Adriaan suspects that Douwe is the Poltergeist, but this has never been proven. In fact, the Poltergeist disappears from the scene, regretting his actions in an open letter. In the final episode Bassie & Adriaan return to the circus.

Bassie & Adriaan were a hit and soon worked on their second series which was partly shot on location in Spain and broadcast from October 9, 1978 to May 21, 1979.

Het Geheim Van De Sleutel[edit]

In Het Geheim van de Sleutel (The Secret of the Key) they take a well-earned holiday but find themselves chased by two diamond thieves (B1 and B2) who mistook Bassie for the go-between who came to collect the key to the vault of the stolen diamonds. B1 and B2 stage many fruitless efforts to get the key back in Spain; upon arrival at Rotterdam Airport they finally manage to lure the clown and his pet bird Sweety to their car and drag him inside. After release, Bassie & Adriaan set up a booby trap at Rotterdam's Central Station; the diamond thieves are arrested by policemen in disguise.

For the third year in a row Bassie & Adriaan worked on a new series, but by now the camera-crew, led by Guus Verstraete, had left. Because replacements didn't work out Adriaan decided to direct the series himself.

De Diamant[edit]

In De Diamant (The Diamond) Bassie & Adriaan have a diamond named after them. Escaped from prison, the diamond thieves from the previous series attempt to steal it, dressed like Bassie & Adriaan. The real Bassie & Adriaan are arrested but soon released because their fingerprints don't match any on the crime-scene. They're given three days to prove their innocence; they do so by reading a videotaped confession. Because of their damaged reputations Bassie & Adriaan had to leave the circus. Unable to return afterwards, they start their own.

This series ran from November 17, 1979 to June 7, 1980, by which time Circus Bassie & Adriaan was touring across the country. The November 30, 1980 show included the last-ever performance by The Crocksons.

De Huilende Professor[edit]

The early 1980s were busy times; running a circus, individual production companies (Bassie took care of the business side while Adriaan wrote the scripts and the songs) and working on a new series.

De Huilende Professor (The Crying Professor) sees a nation literally moved to tears, when Professor Archibald Chagrijn (Chagrin) exposes everyone to his blubbering gas, which makes them sad and causes them to cry. Bassie proves immune to the blubbering gas as he's had an overdose of laughing gas. The professor is hiding on the Canary Islands, but Bassie and Adriaan manage to track him down.

This series also featured the last scenes with Sweety and the first with Robin, a sidekick-robot born out of Bassie's attempt to fix the alarm-clock and the radio by merging them into one.

The Crying Professor was shown from April 4 to December 6, 1982, however this was not a good year for business. Van den Ende handed the circus off to others in order to run his theater. The circus closed down, Bassie & Adriaan split with Van den Ende, and TROS split with Bassie & Adriaan.

1983–89; series guide part II[edit]

Shorties and radio-plays[edit]

Bassie & Adriaan made eight educational shorties for Belgian television; these introduced the new theme-tune (Hallo Vriendjes) and the B&A-mobile withits novelty-headlights. Dutch viewers took notice and by the end of 1983 Bassie & Adriaan were back on TROS. In 1984, they made the first of 38 radio-plays for which Aad created new protagonists; the Baron (full name Baron Van Neemweggen), a self-proclaimed genius, Vlugge Japie, a burglar faster than the speed of light, and Ping Poen a stereotypical Chinaman. Bas and Aad voiced all characters together with Dick Engelbracht.

Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart[edit]

Throughout the mid-1980s, new shorties were made while the Circus Bassie & Adriaan-name was resurrected for seasonal shows at Circus Herman Renz. Bassie & Adriaan also converted one of the radio-plays into a TV-series; Ping Poen was replaced with B2 whose hearing-problems kept him in prison when B1 and BB (acronym for Boevenbaas or Crook Boss) escaped.

In Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart (The Secret of the Treasure Map) Bassie & Adriaan buy a painting with a treasure map on the back. Chased by the Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 they go to Lanzarote where the ebony treasure-box is stuffed with pepper.

Both Bassie and Adriaan played two roles in this series. Bassie also played Vlugge Japie, and Adriaan played the Baron. It was shown from January 2 to April 17, 1987.

De Verdwenen Kroon[edit]

The same year, Bassie & Adriaan converted another radio-play into a TV-series; it was their first since The Poltergeist not to be filmed abroad. Adriaan found it too exhausting to play two roles as well as directing the series; Paul van Gorcum (Archibald Chagrijn during The Crying Professor and the museums warden from The Diamond) took over the role of the Baron.

In De Verdwenen Kroon (The Lost Crown) the Baron, Japie and B2 escape from prison to steal a crown from a museum. Bassie & Adriaan are instructed to bring the ransom money but they're heading for a booby trap, leaving them accused of pocketing the cash. Time to pay them back.

The series was shown from January 5 to February 23, 1988.

De Verzonken Stad[edit]

De Verzonken Stad (The Drowned City) was taped in Greece in 1988 and shown from October 6 to December 1, 1989. In this series (the last to feature Robin), Bassie & Adriaan are taking a mind-easing holiday. However, Bassie discovers an ancient stone with mysterious hieroglyphs that initially translate to 'wise man', 'power' and 'whoever possesses this is the world's richest man'. The Baron, Japie and B2 are also on Greece after escaping from prison; they steal the stone and try to solve the rest of the hieroglyphs. Thanks to Bassie & Adriaan lookalike dolls (mixed with the real duo) they hand themselves over to the police.

1992–94; series guide part III[edit]

De Geheimzinnige Opdracht[edit]

In 1990 they started producing De Geheimzinnige Opdracht (The Mysterious Assignment), which was a trip through the European Community to find mysterious parcels, following cryptic assignments. This series had an educational element about the countries and their origins.

The Baron, Japie and B2 disband upon release from prison; in true history repeats-mode B2 didn't hear that he was free to go and stayed behind bars. Japie, fed up with seeking revenge on Bassie & Adriaan and being set to prison time after time, flees to the other side. The Baron recruits Handige Harry and an anonymous man in a trenchcoat who adopts the codename B100 because he's the Baron's 100th employee. Finding Bassie & Adriaan is no problem for B100 and his infallible nose, but staying alert proves to be another matter; consequently the Baron crushes the phone every time he receives bad news. Harry, for his sins, struggles to master the art of making bombs and nearly gets strangled for doing so. The crooks assume that Bassie & Adriaan are on another treasure-hunting trip. However, instead, they find that inside the parcels there are only jigsaw-pieces in the shape of the countries they visited.

The series was shown from February 7 to April 25, 1992.

De Reis Vol Verrassingen[edit]

For their next move Bassie & Adriaan filmed on location in the United States and the Netherlands Antilles throughout 1993. De Reis Vol Verrassingen (The Journey Full of Surprises) was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994.

In De Reis Vol Verrassingen Bassie & Adriaan embark on another parcel-hunting trip in Curaçao. It is a booby trap set up by the Baron, Harry and B100 after the latter saw the Spain-episode of The Mysterious Assignment. Japie, now residing on the island, spoils everything by nicking the parcel and literary going up in smoke. Back home the penniless crooks stage a burglary and spot Bassie taking part in a television quiz; he wins a trip through the United States.

The tour is throughout the U.S. with an added visit to the joint island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten where Bassie & Adriaan hand the Baron, Harry and B100 over to the police.

It was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994.

1995–97; series guide part IV[edit]

Liedjes Uit Grootmoeders Tijd[edit]

In 1995 three episodes were taped devoted to ancient children's songs. TROS' initial scepticism was soon proven wrong by viewing numbers and the sales of VHS-tapes and DVD-discs. Due to the huge success of this franchise move the songs became a part of their regular repertoire.

In Liedjes Uit Grootmoeders Tijd (Songs From Times Gone) the two explore the Netherlands and sing classic children's songs. In contrast to the interpretation of songs in earlier series these are accompanied by various children's dance groups and choirs.

It was shown from September 1, 1995 to August 11, 1996 and was the brothers' swansong series.

Other programmes[edit]

1980–89; circus shows[edit]

Throughout the 1980s Bassie & Adriaan taped several circus shows for TV-broadcast, including the ones from 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989.

1986–05; one-offs[edit]

In 1986 Bassie & Adriaan were given an item in children's traffic programme Stop & Stap Show; highlights are now available on DVD. Their 100th television appearance (shown on December 25, 1987) was a trip to Davos, Switzerland for a Christmas party; while underway they look back on previous adventures.

Late 1990 while working on The Mysterious Assignment, Bassie & Adriaan paid a visit to Belgian children's show Samson & Gert, the former being a canine puppet equally inspired by Adriaan's dog Lara and Bassie's mispronuncations.

In the 1990s Bassie & Adriaan hosted the weekly afternoon programme Wonderland; In 1992 there was the TV-special Brieven aan de Koningin (Letters to the Queen), which was dedicated to charity and children's drawings for the queen. In 1994 TROS celebrated its 30th anniversary by devoting an entire evening to this happening. For this occasion Bassie & Adriaan taped a short TV-special called "De Verdwenen Tros-ster" (The Disappeared TROS-star) in which Japie, still not keeping a clean sheet, stole the star-shaped TROS-sign.

In 1997, Bassie & Adriaan celebrated their 40th anniversary in Circus Herman Renz; Highlights from the event (during which they received a knighthood) were broadcast on October 16, 1997.

In 1999 Bassie & Adriaan were guest-celebrities in soap parody Pittige Tijden (Rough Times) and in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 the two were part of the St. Nicolas fest "Het Feest van Sinterklaas" which played once a year in theaters.

Throughout the decade they were touring with a new show; the 1999 leg was taped for release on three DVDs (2002's Live, 2003's 25 Jaar Theater and 2005's Lachspektakelshow).

2002–2011 end of an era[edit]

Farewell tour and cancer battle[edit]

In October 2002 Bassie & Adriaan announced their farewell-tour. The final show, planned for January 4, 2004,was to include a guest-appearance by the three crooks; the tour prematurely ended on July 31, 2003. Adriaan was diagnosed with cancer and at the end of the show, when relatives brought flowers, he burst into tears. "You want more?" he asked as usual. "Well so do I, but unfortunately I'm sick; I have to go to hospital".

In between treatments Adriaan hosted a 24-hour marathon of episodes for Nickelodeon on Old Year's Day 2003 and New Year's Day 2004; reruns of the series turned out to be a huge success for the channel during the whole of 2003. On July 1, 2004 the brothers opened a three-month exhibition at the TV Toys Museum in Dieren.

In 2006 Bassie & Adriaan's career was chronicled in a documentary (Profile: The Autumn Of Bassie & Adriaan ) for the public channels.


Mid 2012 a video game was released in which Bas and Aad provide the voices for Bassie and Adriaan again. Between February and December 2013 an exhibition was held displaying props from the television series and merchandise, and at the same time Bassie and Adriaan made a brief return to the stage. Adriaan was already retired, while Bassie traded touring for one-off performances. Between the end of 2013 and early 2014 a documentary series was released which shows stories behind the scenes entitled Bassie & Adriaan: 35 Jaar Op TV! (35 Years On TV!). In September 2014 the theme song "Hallo Vriendjes" became a huge internet hit. Due to the popularity of the song a single release followed.

2015; farewell-movie[edit]

In 2015 Bassie & Adriaan made their final appearance in Keet & Koen en de Speurtocht naar Bassie & Adriaan, a feature film starring Bassie's fictional niece Keet and her male counterpart Koen as the leading characters.

Bassie & Adriaan are awarded for their adventures; the Baron watches on TV and is still eager to get rid of his arch-rivals. Because he is too old to do the job himself, he leaves it to his nephew De Jonkheer and sidekicks to kidnap Bassie & Adriaan. Keet & Koen find out and embark on a quest.

Due to health reasons and a legal dispute, Paul van Gorcum has not been asked to reprise his role of the Baron, despite his popularity among viewers. Instead Adriaan did, while Bassie played an equally ageing Japie and Robin made his first appearance since The Drowned City.

In 2016, Bassie & Adriaan received a platinum-award for the movie.

2017-2019; exhibition and beyond[edit]

Bassie & Adriaan at the opening of their exhibition on July 8, 2017

In 2017 Bassie & Adriaan released individual autobiographies and opened an exhibition in their hometown Vlaardingen; the exhibition ran for two-months (July-September) and was regularly attended by the duo themselves. On August 18, Bassie appeared as Vlugge Japie. On September 3, the closing day of the exhibition, Bassie & Adriaan did their last performance together ; they were accompanied by a street organ. Two days earlier, Bassie & Adriaan taped questions for the popular knowledge-quiz De Slimste Mens. The questions referred to their bodywork.

On March 29, 2018 three fans from Haarlem, Den, Ben and Dan, embarked on their own Journey Full of Surprises; they made a roadtrip to Adriaan's Spain-residence in a replica of the B&A-mobile, and ventured down several locations that featured in the series. The trip drew media-attention and was broadcast by nostalgia-channel ONS. On May 10, 2018 Adriaan attended a one-off cinema-screening of The Journey Full of Surprises. Bassie was not present because of his own health-problems; six days later he announced his retirement from performing.

Starting in the autumn of 2019 Adriaan will be seen in a movie about Saint Nicolas and Black Pete titled "De Brief voor Sinterklaas".

In other media[edit]

The characters received their own comic strip series between 1983 and 1985, drawn by Frans Verschoor. [1]

There was a monthly magazine book.[citation needed]

There have been multiple video games released of the duo for multiple platforms.[citation needed]

Endless merchandising appeared ranging from mugs to posters and even a coldcut featuring an imprint of Bassie's face.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Frans Verschoor". Retrieved 29 January 2018.


External links[edit]