Saturday, 21 January 2017

588 Allo' Allo !

First  viewed : 30  December  1982

This  has  cropped  up  a  little  bit  earlier  than  I  expected. This  is  because  the  pilot  was  shown  more  than  eighteen  months  before  the  first  series  aired.

Allo'  Allo  !  was  the  latest  series  from  David  Croft  although  it  was  a  collaboration  with  his  less  frequent  writing  partner  Jeremy  Lloyd  rather  than  Jimmy  Perry. Lloyd  and  Croft's  collaborations  were  generally  more  risque  ( as  in  Are  You  Being  Served ? with  Mrs  Slocombe's  pussy)  and  Allo'  Allo ! pushed  the  boat  out  further  in  that  respect.

Allo' Allo' ,   at  least  at  first  ,was  a  surprisingly  close  parody  of  Secret  Army. You  could  draw  direct  links  between  many  of  the  characters  , Rene  was  Albert, Michelle  was  Yvette, Herr  Flick  was  Kessler  and  so  on. Rene  the  hapless  cafe  owner  was  forced  to  work  for  both  the  Resistance   in   hiding  two  British  airmen ( both  completely  useless  upper  class  twits )  and  the  Germans, venal  rather  than  evil  here, in  smuggling  works  of  art. As  well  as  that  he  was   always  juggling  between  three  or  four  different  women. who  found  him  irresistible.

Allo'  Allo!  was  therefore  unusually  demanding  of  its  audience  for  a  primetime  sitcom  with  its  absurdly  complicated  plots  stretching  over  a  number  of  episodes. This  necessitated  the  recap  from  Rene  that  commenced  each  show. Gorden  Kaye  had  been  a  journeyman  actor  for  well  over  a  decade , his  nearest  brush  with  stardom being  a  short  stint  in  Coronation  Street  but  he  took  this  chance  with  both  hands  and  as  the  fulcrum  around  which  the  storylines  revolved, made  himself  a  household  name.

My  mum's  favourite  character  was  Crabtree, the  British  agent  posing  as  a  French  policeman. He  was  played  by  Arthur  Bostrom who  seems  to  have  been  in  the  audience  at  the  Bolton  Octagon  every  time  I've  ventured  there.

The  series  had  to  take  an  enforced  break  in  1990  when  Kaye  was  nearly  killed  in  a  freak  storm  in  the  South  of  England. I  think  I'd  already  drifted  away  by  then  and  it  was  finally  put  to  bed  in  1992. A  reunion  show  fifteen  years  later  passed  me  by  completely.

1 comment:

  1. I found this funny as a kid, probably due to the funny accents and stuff like the German lady (Helga?) who would scream the name of whoever she was introducing into the German Colonel's office. Watching it again a few years back, it all seemed a bit weak.