Auf Wiedersehen Pet was a much loved comedy drama series that followed a group of seven British Workmen as they lived and worked in Dusseldorf, Germany. The seven were Geordie Brickies Neville, Oz and Dennnis, brummie sparkie Barry, scouse plasterer Moxy, cockney chippy Wayne and Bristolian man mountain Bomber.
The group came together after arriving in Germany and finding the accommodation they had been promised had fallen through forcing them to live together in a hut with absolutely no mod cons actually on the building site.
The group had trouble coping with the ways of their fellow German employees but stayed because back home work was scarce and wages were better. The series charted their fortunes as the job, building an apartment complex, progressed, (interestingly although quite a bit of location work was done in Germany there was quite a bit of filming actually done at the newly built central TV studios in Nottingham).
Barry was a boring git, Wayne was a jack the lad, Moxy was always ill, Oz was a yobbo, newly married Neville missed his wife whilst Dennis and Bomber were the sensible ones. The series ended with the lads finishing the job and returning home to England, although Wayne who had fallen in love with a German girl elected to stay behind.
Two years later the series returned and again times were hard for the lads, the gang responding to a call from Barry got together once more to help him finish off his new house. He was going to be married but Hazel, his intended, ended up calling the whole thing off. Dennis had actually left the building trade and was working for Newcastle gangster Ally Fraser, who, learning of Dennis’s skills persuades him to recruit his old mates to convert a large property of his into an old peoples home.
The gang lived in the house whilst doing the place up. After that Ally got them to spruce up his villa in Spain, things then really started to get murky when Fraser’s business dealings began to go awry and Oz began an affair with Ally’s girlfriend. It looked liked the boys wouldn’t be paid but Dennis managed to put one over his boss and things turned out right in the end.
After a gap of some 16 years Auf Wiedersehen Pet returned (minus Gary Holton who had died) for another series. This time made for the BBC. The plotline concerned Oz bringing the lads back together to manage an ambitious scheme to dismantle Middlesborough’s transporter bridge.
Production credits were Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais / Director: Paul Seed / Producer: Joy Spink and BILL NIGHY co-starred as Jeffrey Grainger. The following year saw a 6 episode jaunt to Cuba and then the revived series bowed out with a two-part special shown (28,29 Dec) Christmas 2004 in which the lads go to work in Laos and get kidnapped by African revolutionaries. Pat Roach (Bomber) had recently died and did not appear.
Three other items worth mentioning are the 1986 half hour Aids awareness documentary Educating Oz (featuring Jimmy Nail and Tim Healy in character), the 10 minute comic relief special for 2003 called Miami Vice in which the quartet of Neville, Dennis, Oz and Moxie, find themselves stuck in a hotel in Miami because of a terrorist alert, their problems start when Moxy finds a suitcase full of money. There was a surprise guest appearance from Bono and Larry Mullen and the whole thing finishes with a straight to camera moment from Oz. In 2005 there was also a half hour episode of Drama Connections which focused on the genesis of the show.
UK / ITV-Central-Witzend-BBC / 40×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 11 November 1983 – 16 May 1986 (ITV) and 28 April 2002 – 29 December 2004 (BBC)
Creators: Dick Clement,Ian La Frenais, Franc Roddam / Producer: Martin McKeand / Theme Music: Joe Fagin
TIM HEALY as Dennis Patterson
JIMMY NAIL as Oz (aka Leonard Osbourne)
PAT ROACH as Bomber (aka Brian Busbridge)
KEVIN WHATELY as Neville Hope
GARY HOLTEN as Wayne Winston Norris
TIMOTHY SPALL as Barry Taylor
CHRISTOPHER FAIRBANK as Moxey (aka Albert Arthur Moxey)
BILL PATERSON as Ally Fraser (season 2)
BILL NIGHY as Jeffrey Grainger
MICHAEL SHEARD as Herr Grunwald (season one)
PETER BIRCH as Herr Ulrich (season one)
LYSETTE ANTHONY as Christa (season one)
JULIA TOBIN as Brenda Hope
JAMES BOOTH as Kenny Ames (season two)
LESLEY ST JOHN as Vicki (season two)
BRYAN PRINGLE as Arthur Pringle (season two)
CATHERINE RABBET as Carole Pringle (season two)
KEVIN LLOYD as Harry Blackburn (season two)
MELANIE HILL as Hazel Redfearn(season two)
VAL MacLANE as Norma(season two)
BANKA KATIC as Tatiana (from season three)
SEASON TWO 21 February – 16 May 1986
1/2. THE RETURN OF THE SEVEN
3. A LAW FOR THE RICH
4. ANOTHER COUNTRY
5. A HOME FROM HOME
7. NO SEX PLEASE, WE’RE BRICKIES
8. MARJORIE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
9. HASTA LA VISTA
11. LAW AND DISORDER
12. FOR BETTER FOR WORSE
13. QUO VADIS PET
UK / BBC One – Ziji Productions / 6×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 28 April – 2 June 2002
Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais / Script Editor: Paul Rutman / Closing Theme Tune: Why Aye Man by Mark Knopfler / Production Design: Rob Harris / Camera: John Kenway / Executive Producers: Laura Mackie, Franc Roddam / Producer: Joy Spink / Director: Paul Seed