Series / Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
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
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.
- Actor Existence Failure:
- 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.
- Anti-Hero: Most of the main characters.
- Artifact Title: Season One was the only one to involve Germany.
- Badass Beard: Bomber and Big Baz.
- Badass Longcoat: Oz in Season Two.
- Bar Brawl
- Berserk Button: Though Oz has a bit of a Hair-Trigger Temper in general, never harm or threaten one of his friends in front of him.
- Big Brother Mentor: Dennis.
- Bookends: 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.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Possibly. Kadi and Tatiana are probably only pretending to be brother and sister but it's never actually confirmed.
- Bruiser With A Soft Centre: Bomber.
- Butt Monkey: Barry and sometimes Moxey.
- The Casanova: Wayne.
- The Cast Showoff: Jimmy Nail, a former nightclub singer, was given a chance to display his singing in the second series.
- Character Development: Oz did some serious growing up between Season Two and the revival.
- Chekhov's Gun: The videotapes in "A Home from Home".
- Chick Magnet: Wayne again.
- 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.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Neville's wife Brenda, in the first season.
- Coffin Contraband: In "Last Rites", Oz develops a sideline in selling pornographic videos. When his mate Headly Irwin dies, Oz tries to smuggle the video tapes back to Britain in Headly's coffin.
- Continuity Nod:
- 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.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Moxey has his moments.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Often Wayne.
- 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.
- Fanservice Extra: There were a few of these in the Spanish episodes.
- Fille Fatale: Bomber's daughter Tracey (though this was seemingly an act to get attention).
- Friendless Background: Moxey.
- Fun with Acronyms: DIMNOBB!
- Gentle Giant: Bomber.
- Gold Digger: Tatiana and Vicky.
- Happily Married: Neville and Brenda (most of the time).
- The Hedonist: Wayne, and in some ways Oz.
- House Husband: Neville at the beginning of Series 2.
- I Have No Son: Oz in Series 3.
- Intrepid Reporter: Nikki Miles.
- Jerk Ass: Ally Fraser, Geoffrey Granger, Arthur Pringle, MacGowan, and Tarquin Pearce.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Oz (sometimes).
- Lady Killer In Love: Wayne with Christa.
- Last Name Basis: Moxey. His first name is Albert, but he rarely uses it.
- Lovable Rogue: Oz, Moxey, and Wayne.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Wayne.
- Misplaced Nationalism: Addressed by Dennis in "Who Won the War, Anyway?"
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.
- Mysterious Past: Moxey and Colin.
- Naked People Are Funny: The skinny dip in Spain.
- 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.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Oz and Bomber.
- Only Sane Employee: Dennis, frequently.
- Oop North: Not Derbyshire though, which is the South as far as Dennis is concerned.
- Pink Is for Sissies: Bomber's response when Neville wants to paint the hut pink.
- Porn Stash: 'Last Rites'.
- 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.
- Really Gets Around: Wayne.
- Replaced the Theme Tune: It deliberately changed its opening and closing themes for each new series or special.
- Right in Front of Me: Barry with Terry Leather.
- Second Episode Introduction: Moxey.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Wayne and Barry.
- Sexy Secretary: Dagmar and Christa.
- Neville has one to lust over in series three, Annie Cartwright no less.
- 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.
- Sitcom Character Archetypes:
- The Big Mouth: Oz.
- The Dork: Barry.
- The Sage: Dennis.
- Neville is both the Square and the Stick.
- The Wisecracker: Oz and Wayne.
- Sleazy Politician: Geoffrey Granger.
- Smug Snake: Ally Fraser. And Geoffrey Granger even more so. And Tarquin bloody Pearce.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Wyman is one for Wayne, though in name rather than by character.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Bomber who frequently visits brothels despite being married with 5 children.
- Third-Person Person: Bomber.
- Title Drop: In the closing scene of the final episode, courtesy of Neville.
- Took a Level in Badass: Between seasons two and three Brenda goes from a simpering housewife to a hard-nosed businesswoman.
- Trash the Set: Takes place at the end of season one when Wayne inadvertently burns the hut down.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Barry and Tatiana.
- The Unintelligible: Oz with his strong accent in the first two seasons. Lampshaded by Moxey: "Nobody understands a tossing word you're saying."
- The Vamp: Tatiana.
- 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!"
- What Did I Do Last Night?: How Neville ends up with the aforementioned Embarrassing Tattoo.
- 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.