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Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was a popular British comedy-drama series about a group of seven British migrant construction workers: Wayne, Dennis, Oz, Bomber, Barry, Neville and Moxey, who, in Series 1, are living and working on a German building site.

It was created by Franc Roddam and mostly written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who also wrote The Likely Lads, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Porridge. The first two series of the show were co-produced by Clement and LaFrenais's Witzend Productions and ITV station Central Television (the assistance of an ITV station was necessary at that time to gain access to the network) and broadcast in 1983 and 1986 on the ITV network (now ITV1).

A successful revival of the show saw two series and a Christmas special shown on BBC1 (after ITV had failed to re-secure rights) in 2002 and 2004.

It notably starred Tim Healy, Kevin Whately, Jimmy Nail, Gary Holton, Christopher Fairbank, Pat Roach and Timothy Spall as the leading roles.

In 2005, the show was chosen as the subject of the first episode of the BBC documentary series Drama Connections.

The Magnificent Seven

  • Dennis Patterson (Tim Healy) - Dennis, whether he likes it or not, has been hailed as the leader of the seven. When we first meet the Geordie bricklayer, 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 good people skills. At the opening of the third series, he is driving a mini-cab for a living.
  • Neville Hope (Kevin Whately) - Neville is under the thumb of his formidable wife Brenda. He constantly worries about the welfare of his wife and 3 children, and his heart is in Newcastle. He married young and has no regrets about it, although in the third series he is clearly suffering from a mid-life crisis.
  • 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 on 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 phoney funeral. By this time the character has changed somewhat, becoming more mature and less violent, and is prepared to lead his friends off on new adventures overseas. His son has grown up and is gay, which at first horrifies Oz.
  • Barry Taylor (Timothy Spall) - Barry is a bashful, boring, bumbling West Midlander (he mentions connections with West Bromwich and Wolverhampton) electrician with a large vocabulary and a motorbike. His tendency to be 'boring' and to look on the black 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), then to the glamorous Russian Tatiana played by Branka Katic. Both marriages end in divorce, but at the end of the series he is reconciled with Tatiana.
  • Wayne Winston Norris (Gary Holton, 1983-1985) - Wayne, as he so accurately describes himself, is a 'jack the lad', a chirpy carpenter who's proud of his Cockney roots. His obsession with women often lands him and his friends in trouble. He drives a flash red BMW and wears a trademark red/blue hockey jacket. At the end of the first series, Wayne marries Kriste, (played by Lysette Anthony), a secretary at the building site. The character of Wayne died in the year 2000 due to a congenital heart problem (according to his son, who knows little about his life or death), by way of explaining why he was no longer in the show. He was replaced by his illegitimate son Wyman (although this character had less charisma than Wayne, and was, according to some critics, "a great deal more irritating and far less likeable). Gary Holton died in 1985 due to a heroin overdose before 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", so the audience is not left wondering where he is. The series was not filmed in chronological order; indeed, he is present in the final episode in Spain but sometimes absent in the first half (set in England). The last episode is dedicated to the late Gary Holton.
  • Albert Arthur Moxey (Christopher Fairbank) - Moxey is the only character not introduced in the first episode. He's a Liverpudlian 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 arsonist. At the beginning of the second series, he absconds from an open prison, and is thereafter on the run. He emigrated to Australia in the final episode.
  • Brian "Bomber" Busbridge (Pat Roach, d.2004) - Bomber is a quiet West Country brickie [known as the gentle giant, the toughest member of the group with a towering height of 6 ft 4 ½ in and a great physical shape] with rippling muscles and a bushy beard, having worked as both a professional wrestler and a nightclub bouncer. He very often 'goes with the flow' and lets others make decisions, much to the respect and admiration of his associates. He laid his last brick before the final two episodes.

Supporting cast

The Wives, Girlfriends and Ex's

  • Lysette Anthony as Christa - Girlfriend of Wayne (Later wife then Ex wife) (Series 1 & Mentions in Series 2)
  • Su Elliot as Marjorie Osbourne - Ex Wife of Oz (Series 1-2)
  • Melanie Hill as Hazel Redfearn - Ex 1st Wife of Barry (Series 2)
  • Caroline Hutchinson as Vera Patterson - Ex Wife of Dennis (Series 1)
  • Branka Katic as Tatiana Taylor - Ex 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)
  • Lesley Saint John as Vicky - Ex Girlfriend of Ally Fraser and Oz (Series 2)
  • Julia Tobin as Brenda Hope - Wife of Neville (Series 1-4 & Special)

The main supporting cast from all four series

Programme history

see: History of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

Episodes

Theme music

Opening Credits
Closing Credits
Series 1 (ITV, 1983-1984)
Breaking Away
(David Mackay/Ian La Frenais)
Vocals by Joe Fagin
That's Living Alright
(David Mackay/Ian La Frenais)
Vocals by Joe Fagin
Series 2 (ITV, 1986)
Get it Right
(David Mackay/Ian La Frenais)
Vocals by Joe Fagin
Back with the Boys Again
(David Mackay/Ken Ashby)
Vocals by Joe Fagin
Series 3 (BBC1, 2002)
Incidental music
Why Aye Man
(Mark Knopfler)
Series 4 (BBC1, 2004)
Incidental music
Incidental music
Special (BBC1, 2004)
Incidental music
Breaking Away
(David Mackay/Ian La Frenais)
Vocals by Joe Fagin

A 7" single, "Breaking Away" b/w "That's Living Alright", was released and became a UK hit single, peaking at number 3. Unusually, the B-side of this record became much better known than the official A-side.

Joe Fagin also reworked "That's Living Alright" for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. "That's England Alright" was released on 5 June 2006.

Trivia and popular culture

A band from Halifax, West Yorkshire has named themselves after the character of Moxey. The band; Moxey, are working on material for their first album.

A computer game based on the series was released by Tynesoft for the Acorn Electron, BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum.

Although the show is popularly associated with Newcastle Upon Tyne, it was actually produced by Birmingham-based ITV franchise, Central Television.

See also

References

External links

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