First broadcast in 1983, Auf Wiedersehen Pet
was an unlikely comedy hit about a group of British labourers forced to work in Germany during the recession. Scripted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, (previously responsible for Porridge
and The Likely Lads
) its main players are likeable stereotypes from all over England: there's Wayne (the late Gary Holton), a cockney charmer and womaniser; Barry (Timothy Spall), the bumbling, haplessly pretentious Brummie; gentle West Country giant Bomber (Pat Roach); amiable Scouse Moxey (Christopher Fairbank); and the three Geordies, nervous Neville (Kevin Whately), loudmouth xenophobic lummox Oz (Jimmy Nail) and put-upon Dennis (Tim Healy), the reluctant gaffer of the mob. The show spawned a second series in 1986 then a belated follow-up in 2002.
The plotlines were entertaining capers usually involving misunderstandings or hangovers or both: Oz eating rat poison, Oz attempting to smuggle porn, Neville waking up after a large night out with a German girl's name mysteriously tattooed on his arm, Dennis' tentative relationship with German woman named Dagmar while on the rebound from his recent divorce. However, the real meat of Auf Wiedersehen Pet was in the interplay of the characters--who were confined in prison camp-style conditions--and Clement and Le Frenais' rueful sense of the comedy of men in crisis. Tim Healy's Dennis in particular was a classic example of the indignity of the traditional grafter who suddenly finds himself struggling in mid-life, a condition exacerbated at having to "wet nurse" a bunch of wayward geezers, as he frequently complains.--David Stubbs
DVD Special Features:
Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English