Why Aye, man!Comedy-drama from the writing team of Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais. Season One (1983-1984) involved seven manual labourers from various parts of the United Kingdom. It was the mid-Eighties and there were no jobs to be found in this country, so they travelled to Germany to find work, forming themselves into a tight-knit group amid all the Culture Clash. They even used The Magnificent Seven title.Season Two (1986) featured the same seven re-uniting and travelling from Birmingham to the English countryside to Spain on various building projects.British Brevity was somewhat averted by these first two seasons, which contain 13 episodes each rather than the usual six. A third season was planned but shelved after Gary Holton, one of the seven principal cast members, passed away.It was eventually revived for a few years in 2002, Darker and Edgier. With the six remaining members, Timothy Spall (Barry), Christopher Fairbank (Moxey), Jimmy Nail (Oz), Tim Healy (Dennis), Pat Roach (Bomber) and Kevin Whately (Neville) returning and Noel Clarke filling the gap as Wayne's son, Wyman.The strong accents (especially Geordie), including regional slang terms and the obscure British cultural references, would probably make the series almost completely unintelligible to anyone from outside the United Kingdom.
This programme provides examples of:
Above the Influence: Wayne reluctantly turns down Bomber's daughter because she's too young, vulnerable and only looking for attention (and he's been threatened with castration) and he mentions turning down two Rolling Stones groupies who mistake him for Ronnie Wood because it goes against his code to trick them like that.
Abusive Parents: Moxey and Oz. Oz is also guilty of being an abusive parent.
Gary Holton (Wayne) died of a drug overdose during filming of the second series; he had filmed all of his outdoor scenes but had to be written out of some of the indoor scenes (generally by having a character remark that he was out with a girl). He was replaced in the remaining series by Noel Clarke as Wayne's illegitimate son, Wyman. The final episode of Series 2 opens with a spoken dedication to Holton's memory by Tim Healy.
Pat Roach (Bomber) was terminally ill when shooting began for the 2004 Christmas specials, and died that July. In the series, Bomber is said to have retired, and the other six raise a glass in his honour during a restaurant scene, toasting, "To Bomber!" A dedication to Roach's memory appears at the end of the final episode.
Book Ends: Series One begins with Dennis, Oz and Neville on the ferry on their way to Germany. The second of the hour-long Christmas specials ends with the exact same scenario, and Neville gives us a Title Drop.
British Accents: The heavy regional accents (Geordie for Dennis, Oz, and Neville; Cockney for Wayne; Bristol for Bomber; Brummy for Barry; Scouse for Moxeynote Only the first four are using their native accents; Pat Roach (Bomber) was a Birmingham native, Timothy Spall (Barry) is a Londoner, and Christopher Fairbank (Moxey) was born in Hertfordshire.) make the series rather difficult to understand for viewers outside the United Kingdom.
Brother-Sister Incest: Possibly. Kadi and Tatiana are probably only pretending to be brother and sister but it's never actually confirmed.
Chivalrous Pervert: Wayne refuses to take advantage of teenage girls or trick Rolling Stones groupies who think he's Ronnie Wood into sex, and he seems to treat the women he sleeps with quite respectfully. He did cheat on his wife, but, unlike other characters who mistreat their wives, he expresses genuine remorse for it.
Crazy Jealous Guy: The Turkish pimp and his knife. Ally Fraser shows the potential to be this when he warns Wayne off Vicky.
In the first episode, Neville acquired an embarrassing tattoo on his arm whilst drunk and couldn't afford to have it removed again. When he briefly appears shirtless in the 2002 revival, it's still there.
Neville takes on extra work during Series 1 as Brenda wants to re-do their bathroom. In Series 2, Neville mentions that he still hasn't got around to re-doing the bathroom after two years.
Darker and Edgier: The 2002 revival had Bomber suffering from a serious illness and Moxey and Dennis struggling with extreme poverty. Also featured drugs, hitmen, organised crime, an illegal immigrant almost forced into prostitution, and the various issues surrounding the use of gangmasters providing East European labour on the Middlesbrough Bridge contract.
Domestic Abuse: Vicky is the target of this from Ally Fraser. Moxey comes from a family with a violent stepfather who molests his sister.
Embarrassing Tattoo: Neville, who is the nicest of the characters and happily married to Brenda, wakes up after a night of drinking to find "Neville Loves Lotte" tattooed on his arm. He doesn't even know anyone called Lotte.
Dennis: After a week they've lost their passports, they've got pissed, lost most of their money, and become ridiculously nationalistic for the country that can't even bloody employ them in the first place!
Much parodied in the Cuban scenes referencing The Bridge on the River Kwai, especially Barry's "Colenel Nicholson" act while locked in the metal hut.
Mooks: Ally Fraser and Mickey Startup both have them. Big Baz could be considered a dragon.
Native American Casino: The revival series had a plot involving our heroes demolishing a historic bridge in England, and rebuilding it across a canyon in Arizona to provide access to a Native American casino. This is a Shout-Out to an urban legend relating to the sale of the old London Bridge and its re-erection in Arizona as a tourist attraction.
Prison Rape: Apparently almost happened to Geoffrey Granger. Luckily for him, Oz was around to help.
Protagonist Centred Morality: When Oz mistreats people he's an anti-hero that you root for. When a character like Herr Grunwald or Arthur Pringle mistreat the group then they are a villain deserving of humiliation.
Averted in several directions by Dagmar, who seems to be developing a genuine relationship with the unhappily-divorced Dennis - until their night in a hotel is spoilt when the rest of the Brits turn up, having burnt down their hut in a drunken prank gone drastically wrong.
Sexy Stewardess: Wayne and Barry try to pull two sexy stewardesses in Series One.
Villains Out Shopping: When Oz storms into Ally Fraser's office while Dennis is meeting with him and chins Fraser's dragon, Big Baz, a shocked Dennis explains, "He was only going for a Tandoori chicken!"
You Wouldn't Hit A Guy With Glasses: Barry tries this tactic when Ally Fraser's goons show up at Thornely Manor to beat up the striking builders. It doesn't work, but the fighting prowess of some of the other lads means he avoids serious injury anyway.