“ Starring Gordon Kaye, Carmen Silvera, Carole Ashby and Arthur Bostrom. „
It's hard to believe, but Allo Allo was on TV for longer than the Second World War! The pilot episode was transmitted on the BBC in 1982, and the series ended in 1992. 85 classic episodes - with Gorden Kaye as the cafe owner Rene Artois. The late Carmen Silvera played his wife Edith - and their chemistry on screen is superb. Of course, there was a large ensemble with Allo Allo - Herr Flick, Gruber, Michelle of the Resistance... Helga, Maria, and all with their unique catchphrases which we never tire of hearing. For Season 5, the BBC made 26 episodes, as they were trying to sell the series in the US! In my opinion, Seasons 1 to 5 are the best, the writing perhaps isn't as good for the 2nd half of the series, but nevertheless, a classic comedy, and the repeats remind us of what comedy should be like!
'Allo Allo' was a BBC comedy series set in the village of Nouvion in France during the second world war. The main setting is a small café run by Rene Artois. He is in a bit of a predicament. As he says in the third episode of the first series:
(Quote from series) " I have to be nice to the Germans, they are winning the war, if I am not nice to them, they will shoot me. I have to be nice to the resistance or they will shoot me for being nice to the Germans. I have to be nice to my wife because if she finds out I am having an affair with Yvette she will she will shoot me..."
Every episode begins with Rene setting the scene, this usulaly takes the form of a quick recap of the previous episode.
Some of the main characters:
Rene not only is the proprietor of the café which is frequented by the Germans but also a member of the resistance, hider of the British airmen and hider if the 'portrait of the fallen Madonna with the big boobies by van Klomp'
He is married to Edith the cabaret singer at the café, well I say singer she isn't all that good as Rene says 'she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket'.
Rene has a sort of love/hate relationship with his mother in law, Mme Fanny that is they love to hate each other. She is a demanding widow (or we are lead to believe she is a widow) who always wants attention by banging her stick and shouting. She wants the best for her daughter - and in her opinion, that is not Rene.
Yvette, Maria (till end of series 3) and Mimi (from series 4 onwards) are the waitresses at the café, all three of them are in love with Rene and all want to marry him. They provide 'entertainment' for the Germans in return for things like butter, sugar, paraffin etc as these are more valuable than money
Roger Leclerc is the old forger and former lover of Mme Fanny. He is also the pianist at the café although not a very good one. He is a bumbling fool who is constantly delivering things like dynamite etc to the café for Rene to hide for the resistance. He is, however, not very good at disguises. Rene has quoted 'man of 1000 faces, everyone the same'. Unfortunately Jack Haig who played the character died suddenly after series 5. In my opinion this robbed the series of one of the best characters. The character was 'replaced' by Leclerc's brother, but the series was never quite the same.
Michelle 'of the resistance' Dubois the leader of the local resistance group, she is always thinking up ludicrous ways of getting the British airmen back to England, needless to say they never work. Always uttering 'Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once"
M. Alfonse is the randy undertaker who is a suitor of Mme Edith. He helps the resistance where he can but has to be careful due to his 'dickey ticker'. He is well off but if he ever opens his wallet, moths would fly out.
Officer Crabtree (the British idiot who thinks he can speak French) he arrives from British intelligence and disguises himself as a French policeman. The perfect disguise - as long as he never speaks. He mangles the French language and his catch-phrase became "good moaning" (no really, it's not a typing error)
Colonel Von Strom - he is supposed to be the officer in charge of the area, He isn't very good at it and is far from honest. He has taken a valuable painting "the fallen Madonna with the big boobies by von Klomp" which was supposed to be sent to Hitler. He intends to keep it for himself to sell after the war. How does he hide it? Simple - get Rene to do it.
Captain Hans Gering (up to end of series 3) He is the Colonels assistant. His excuse when things go wrong is that 'I was only following orders'
General Von Klinkerhoffen (not a regular until series 3) He come in to take over the area. He is ruthless and manipulates the officers by holding the threat of the Russian front over them.
Captain Alberto Bertorelli - An Italian captain brought into replace Captain Gering. Capt Alberto is not popular with the German's and he is very much a ladies man. He even, strange as it may seam, has the hots for Edith - or is it just the Café he is after?
Herr Flick - The Gestapo officer originally sent to find the portrait of the fallen Madonna. However he also intends to keep it for himself. This is probably one of the most believable characters as he was played as being cold and sinister. Hoever, Richard Gibson was unable to do Series 9 and he was replaced by David Janson. Unfortunately Janson was not as good and the character simply became annoying.
Private Helga she is Herr Flicks 'bit of stuff' and the Colonel's secretary. She spies on both Herr Flick and the Colonel and always reports to each of them what the other is up to. All to suit her own ends naturally
Left Tennant Gruber - the camp ADC to the General. He is often playing the piano and singing in the café. He is in fact the only other person Edith allows to do so. He also appears to 'fancy' Rene.
Anyway the main plot:
Michelle persuades Rene to hide two British airmen until she can get them back to England. Rene agrees, reluctantly, as he believes this may only be for a few days. Unfortunately Michelle's plans (normally a new one every couple of episodes) get more and more ridiculous and they never work leaving Rene stuck with them. Rene is also named 'nighthawk' and is in contact with London via a radio, which is kept under the bed of his mother-in-law. Alerted by 'ze flashing knobs' as Mme Fanny puts it.
On top of this the area commander Colonel Von Strom finds out that Rene is hiding the airmen. Rene should be shot for this but the Colonel decides to use this for his own ends and gets Rene to hide the portrait of 'The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies' which he intends to keep for himself. As well as any other number of jobs he needs doing. With Herr Flick after the painting as well and a large number of forgeries it's always hard to remember where the real one is.
Rene is also having an affair with his waitresses and must keep this from Edith. She often catches him with his arms around Yvette where upon the line "Rene, what are you doing with your arms round that girl" is shrieked. Rene's reply "You stupid woman...." Followed by a long ridiculous excuse which no woman in her right mind would believe, but Edith always does.
Rene's other problem is that he was sentenced to death by General Von Klinkerhoffen for his part in blowing up a railway. Colonel Von Strom needs Rene alive and so swaps the real bullets for dummy ones. However, in the eyes of the Germans, he is now officially dead and has to pretend to be his own twin brother. Officially this means he is free to get married again. Yvette and Maria both believe it is their turn but Rene knows he will have to re-marry Edith in order to keep his Café.
With exploding Christmas puddings, a gin addicted mother-in-law trying to drink him into bankrupsy not to mention trying to avoid being shot by both sides it is little wonder Rene is always trying to escape France to get away from the war.
The series is still being repeated on BBC1 and is still as funny now as it always was. The bad fake accents used by the cast are funny in themselves and it is little wonder that the series has done well in France and Germany as well as the UK. It still works today as it was set in the past hence it is less likely to age.
The scripts are well written despite the obvious low budget and Crabtree's "bad French" is always one of the best bits in each episode, not bad considering that Crabtree was only originally supposed to be a two to three episode part.
The problem of three, occasionally 4 languages being used was overcome by the use of fake accents. What always seamed odd to me was that the Germans, French and Italians all understood each other perfectly but none of the understood the British.
My main problem is the final series, it's clear they were running out of ideas by this time and series 9 was simply not as funny as the others. It may have been better simply to have a one off hour long special to round it off instead of the final series.
All 9 series are available on DVD (I admit I have the full set)
(I have a similar but shorter review on ciao under the same user name)
Allo Allo is set in France (well, it is actually filmed in Thetford, Norfolk, a place I know well and it is the perfect setting after northern France itself).
Rene Artois, played by the excellent Gordon Kaye, runs the local cafe which is the setting for most of the action. He runs the cafe with his wife, Edith, who thinks she has a wonderful singing voice and often serenades the customers whether they want her to or not. The period is World War Two and the costumes and props have been wonderfully researched.
Rene is often to be found, usually by his wife, in compromising situations with one or other of the cute French waitresses; Edith believes Rene's lies and excuses every time. Each of the waitresses thinks that, when the war is over, she and Rene will run away and start a new life together. He is just enjoying the opportunities they put his way.
Other characters include Herr Flick, head of the Gestapo, who is a very button-up character secretly lusting after Helga, one of the German officers. She will do anything Flick asks of her and usually ends up in her sexy underwear during each episode.
There are French resistance workers who will insist on using Rene's cafe for hiding various people from the Gestapo, which succeeds in making Rene a bag of nerves.
Two English airman make their presence known now and again as plans are made to help them escape back to England. The local policeman calls into the cafe, his speciality being his mangling of the language which produces hysterical turns of phrase.
Along with Edith's elderly mother who lives in the attic, Le Clerc who pops up to help Rene, and the rest of the Gestapo officers, this is an excellently cast programme which handles the various relationships in war-time Europe with great insight and humour. Well worth watching.
Allo Allo was a British sitcom that ran from 1982 to 1992. Set during World War II, it told the tale of a small French village in occupied France, centering around the cafe of Rene Artois, secretly working with the French Resistance using his cafe as a front. The comedy was genius, written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, the writers behind Are You Being Served?. The show was immensely popular, and 15 years after its last episode, a one off special show was made and aired in April 2007, encompassing as many of the original as possible.
Cafe owner Rene Artois was played excellently by Gorden Kaye. His French accent was marvellous, as were most of the accents put on by the cast. Carmen Miranda played his ever suffering and blinkered wife Edith. Rene would constantly be caught with on fo the waitresses in a passionate clutch by Edith and be confronted by her, only to announce in a French drawl, 'You stupid woman!' (much to the audience's delight and laughter) before making up some cock and bull story about her having something in her eye for example. Yvette was one of the waitresses, and stayed the length of the show, played by Vikki Michelle. Maria was a waitress for the first 3 series, played by Francesca Gonshaw, and then from the 4th series on, it was Mimi, played by Sue Hodge. All the waitresses were madly in love with Rene.
Household names such as Jack Haig and Kenneth Connor had lesser roles in the sitcom, and would not necessarily appear every episode, but would always add something fruitful to the show, while Arthur Bostrom was positively hilarious as British policeman Crabtree, with his deifficulty in the French language shown by mixing all the vowels round in words, so instead of saying 'Good morning!' it was 'Good moaning!' Hilarious
The Germans occupying the village were played magnificently as a group. HIlary Minster, Richard Marner, Guy Siner and Sam Kelly played the four bumbling Germans, blind to the fact that there was a Resistance movement right under their noses in the cafe, thinking that Rene was secretly on their side. In counterance to this bumbling nature of German military, the Gestapo was represented by Herr Flick and his comrade Von Smallhausen, played by Richard Gibson and John Louis Mansi respectively. They were switched on to the Resistance movement and were constantly trying to catch Rene out. They enlisted the help of German private Helga Geerhart, played by Kim Hartman. Helga was in love with Herr Flick, and would condtantly impart knowledge to him.
The remainder of the cast all performed admirably, with particular mention needing to go to Kirsten Cooke, who played Michelle, the leader of the local Resistance movement, and would mysteriously appear from nowhere and say 'Now listen very carefully, I shall say this only once!'
The show was hilarious in my view. A few years ago it was voted 13th best British sitcom of all time. I would place it higher. These days, a show such as that would not be aired due its lack of political correctness, but that is what was special about it. It poked fun at the Brits, French, Germans, and Italians, and even the Americans from time to time, and was not afraid of sacrificing everything else in the name of humour and entertainment. That is why I'm giving this a five star rating. It is top entertainment of the highest calibre, and I revel in the reruns whenever they are on.
For many years through all the original series and the numerous repeats one thing about Allo Allo shines out - its funny. It tells the story of Rene Artois who is a bar keeper in occupied France during World War 2. The character of Rene is beautifully played by Gorden Kaye. Rene is married to Madame Edith (Carmen Silvera) but due to a convoluted story are no longer living as man and wife. Rene despite his apparent lack of physical attractiveness is loved by every young woman in the town.
When first broadcast Allo Allo did attract some criticism for its subject as many people still considered the War, German occupation, Gestapo or the resistance as taboo subjects when it came to comedy. Allo Allo succeeded despite this and has proved to be another triumph for Jimmy Perry and David Croft to follow others they have written such as Dads Army, It Aint Half Hot Mum and Are You Being Served.
In my view the main reason it has succeeded is the strength of the characters, the consistent quality of the writing and the absurd situations in each episode. Taking the situation first there are constant threads which provide a framework for each episode. There are, for example, two upper class British airmen hidden in the town, there are the valuable paintings which are being kept from the Germans to provide a pension after the war, the ongoing contact with the resistance both communist and non-communist all of whom seem to be attractive women.
The characters are so beautifully developed that on occasions they have little opportunity for anything more than the delivery of their catchphrase. Edith herself always has the opportunity to sing in the café and this is always so excrutiating she makes Margerita Pracatan sound like Julie Andrews. Ediths very old mother is in bed every episode with the wireless which is used to contact the British in London secreted under her bed. Helping in the cafe are Mimi (Sue Hodge) and Yvette (Vicki Michelle). In most episodes Rene and Yvette are caught by Edith in a compromising position but Rene is always quick to tell Edith 'You Stupid woman' how it is not how it seems.
Other regulars in the village include resistance leader Michelle (Kirsten Cooke) famed for her giving information with the introduction 'Listen Carefully I Will Say This Only Once', Monsiuer Alphonse (Kenneth Connor) the aging undertaker with the dicky ticker, and the master of disguise M Leclair (Jack Haig) who is always immediately recognisable when he is in his disguise. One major source of the comedy is Officer Crabtree a role which Arthur Bostrom could possibly play in his sleep) who is an English policeman who is supposed to be undercover in the town. Crabtree speaks French but like all English people speaks French badly. His tortured mispronunciation of the vowels in each word leads to some very comic moments.
The portrayal of the German officers relies heavily on exaggerated stereotypes. It is probably this which ensures the programme cannot be considered offensive unless you rely try hard to find it so. Like many Perry and Croft comedies there is an effeminate character as with Ashwood in It Aint Half Hot Mum or Mr Humphreys in Are you being served. In Allo Allo this is Lieutenant Gruber (the excellent Guy Siner) who is more camp than Butlins and he inevitably is very fond of Rene. He reports to Colonel Von Straum (Richard Marner) who is ineffectual and does not care very much for the war. Unfortunately for him his General, von Klinkerhoven (Hilary Minster) , does care for it and pursues it with vigour. In later series they were joined by an Italian officer Captain Bertorelli played with great emphasis by Gavin Richards. Bertorelli is again a stereotype Italian whose bravery is questioned and whose vanity is huge.
A young female German soldier Helga (Kim Hartman) assists Von Straum but is best known as the helper and lover of Herr Flick the local Gestapo officer. Flick is played with understandable glee by Richard Gibson. The situations Flick finds himself in are often hilarious and on many occasions seem to lead to Helga being reduced to her German regulation underwear. Flick also preys on his unfortunate sidekick Von Smallhausen who regularly suffers cartoon like injuries doing Flicks work.
One criticism which I share with some people is that Allo Allo went on too long. It did become a succession of costume changes and some repetitive situations. But that was also the strength of Allo Allo, in that you knew what you were going to get and you got it in spades.
The quality of writing never really dropped but there was an increasing sense that you were watching a series of set pieces, a cycle of tableaux for which you knew the outcome. It is still worth watching when there is nothing else on and I am sure you will not be able to resist a chuckle.
Allo Allo was a very popular comedy which is still shown as repeats on BBC1 these days. It was a take off of a showcalled Secret Army which was a drama about the human pipeline in 1940's Belguim that allowed escaped world war two prisoners get back to England, this was a sppof based on that show however instead of Belgium the action was switched to France.
Given that this show is all about charicturising the various national stereotypes and prejudices we hold it makes sense to have it in France, after all apart from Poirot what does anyone know about Belgium.
Gordon Kaye plays the role of Renee, the owner of a French cafe that is frequented by the Germans, he is also unwillingly forced to help the all female resistence in their attempts to get two British airmen back to the UK. Carmen Silva plays his wife wit an awful singing voice however Renee is also carrying o with both of his waitresses and Michelle from the resistence. This is th most unbelievable part of a pretty zany comedy after all Kaye is hardly blessed with good looks.
This is actually a pretty funny comedy that manages to send up all the countries featured including the English who send over a spy disguised as a policeman however he has appaling French. The plots are deliberately made complicated and generally the humour works thanks to a large and very competent cast.
Secret Army - A World War Two based drama from the BBC.
Secret Army is the original series from the BBC that inspired the idea for the comedy show called "Allo Allo" in the 1980's.
Secret Army is about a resistance organisation called lifeline which operates in Belgium during the second world war. The aim of lifeline is to rescue allied airmen who have been shot down over occupied territory and to return them to the allies down an escape line so that they can return to their countries to fight another day.
The full three series of the show that exist cover a variety of issues, but the general story each episode is based on the usual plane being shot down and the owners of a cafe and later a restaurant helping the soldiers on the run to evade the German occupiers. Another example episode shows the lifeline members and special agents going to blow up a V2 rocket silo.
There must be more than 30 episodes in all. The box sets will take a while to get through.
The members of lifeline are risking their lives everyday and have to go about their normal jobs as well as help the airmen. It is in the interests of some of the lifeline members to be friendly to the Germans so as to avoid suspicion. Later in the show this friendliness is seen from some of the population to be collaborating with the enemy.
If your familiar with Allo Allo you will remember the foreign airmen trying to escape, the maids serving in the bar and the mother upstairs. Secret Army has all of the above, but the mood is certainly not comedy. The air is tense and nervous. People found harbouring allied airmen are shot after being tortured by the villain from the show who is an SS officer called Kessler. Kessler's equivalent in Allo Allo is Herr Flick.
Kessler is a real bad egg, he's totally committed to his job and brings about the deaths of many people. Will he ever be caught and face justice?
For anyone who missed the original showings on BBC in the seventies and liked "Allo Allo" and programmes about world war two, this series is really fabulous.
I found the each series to be gripping and full of suspense. I frequently stayed up later to watch the next episode to see what happened next.
The episodes are sometimes shown on Sky television or can be bought in a DVD box set.
Good moaning ladies and gentlemen ! Oh how I love this classic comedy, they really don't show it enough. Picture the scene, a small french village, occupied by the Nazi's during World War 2. A small cafe, run by portly frenchmen Rene Artois and his "wife" Edith. Rene Artois is secretly a member of the French resistance, although he wishes he wasn't. As a front, he makes aquaintances with high ranking German army officers, in order to keep his head on his shoulders. The Germans, General Von Strohm and Lieutenant Gruber, are a bit dodgy and have stolen plenty of paintings from Hitler, so they can become rich after the war. But Hitler has the Gustapo on their heels, which forces the General to make Rene keep his stash safe. Stash = more grief for Rene. Many stories intertwine in this show, poor Rene, his two barmaids fancy the apron of him, neither of them know of the others feelings. Then he has Edith, who knows of the stolen painting (known as "The fallen Madonna with the big boobies" by Van Clump) inside a large sausage (which provides many gags and innuendo) and wants to run off with Rene together, sell the painting and live happily ever after. Rene thinks she's an old bat though. Not only is he attracting the attentions of those three ladies, he has the rather camp Lieutenant Gruber to ward off!! Then theres the two British Airmen who have crashed near by that Rene must hide until they can be rescued. What about the French Resistance, the leader being Rene's ex-girlfriend, who holds a slight grudge against him. Don't forget the Gustapo, Herr Flick, who is catching up with the stolen art work. God, my mind is exhausted after that. Anyway, plenty of japes are had while all of this is going on. There are plenty of cast members, ranging from Michelle of the resistance ("I shall say zis only once...") to Mimi, the pint-sized barmaid. The b
est characters have got to be LeClerc, a really rubbish thief/lock picker/forger, who's trademark is lifting his glasses and saying "It is I, LeClerc". The other is Officer Crabtree, an Englishman who is masquerading as a French policeman. Unfortunately, his french is quite bad, hence "good morning" becomes "good moaning", "Bicycle" becomes "Bercircle" and other hilarious japes. In one episode, he is run over by a tank while using public facilities, his remark - "Theres obviously no piss for the wicked" There are a few videos available, but not enough to cover the whole six series' and the specials. A DVD is also a possibility I think. If not try keeping your eye out for episodes on BBC1 on Sundays, bank holiday Mondays and special occasions (christmas/easter).
One of the all time classic BBC comedies, the story of a small town in France, Nouvion, during the Second World War is streets ahead of other sitcoms, such as Dad’s Army, set at this time. With some of TV’s most memorable characters, and wonderfully witty scripts, almost every episode is a joy to be savoured, as the French Resistance, reluctantly aided by Rene Artois, try to liberate the town from the occupying Germans. CAST (CHARACTERS) GORDEN KAYE (RENE ARTOIS) – As café owner Rene Artois, otherwise known as Nighthawk, reluctant hero of the French Resistance, Kaye is a marvellous star. While Rene is quite happy running his café, and carrying on with his waitresses, the Resistance have other ideas, continually making him an unwilling partner in their attempts to liberate France. ‘Dies’ at the end of the first series, when he is put in front of a firing squad, but really fakes his death, returning in the guise of his twin brother, also called Rene. CARMEN SILVERA (EDITH ARTOIS) – Silvera is brilliant as Rene’s wife, who catches him again and again with waitress Yvette, only to fall for one of her husband’s excuses. A frustrated cabaret singer, Edith regularly gives performances in the café, at which Rene thoughtfully provides lumps of cheese for the patrons… not to eat, but to plug their ears with! VIKKI MICHELLE (YVETTE) – Michelle is gorgeously appealing as Yvette, Rene’s main paramour. The chemistry between the beautiful young girl and the balding, middle aged, man is hilarious, but always believable, especially when she is trying to persuade him to run away to Switzerland with her. FRANCESCA GONSHAW (MARIA) – As Yvette’s colleague, also having an affair with Rene, Gonshaw is good, although much of the humour in her scenes comes from the height difference between her and Kaye (She has to stand on a chair to embrace him). For my money, t
hough, replacement waitress Mimi, who joins the staff in series 4, is funnier. SUE HODGE (MIMI) – Hodge is wonderful as Maria’s replacement Mimi, a Resistance agent disguised as a waitress. The somewhat psychotic Mimi, needless to say, falls in love with Rene, and he begins an affair with her as well – partly to stop her from poisoning his German customers. ROSE HILL (FANNY) – As Edith’s invalid mother, Hill is perhaps the funniest of all of the female actresses. Her frequent put downs of her son-in-law are always brilliant, while her lifelong love affair with Roger Leclerc leads to some wonderful scenes. KIRSTEN COOKE (MICHELLE) – About the only young woman in the show not madly in love with Artois, the Resistance leader is both brave and resourceful. Cooke is great, with one of her catchphrases, ‘Listen very carefully… I vill say this only vonce,’ being one of the most famous lines from the show. KENNETH CONNOR (MONSIEUR ALFONSE) – The undertaker with a ‘dicky ticker’ and a large bank account, who dispatches his clients ‘Swiftly and with Style,’, Connor is a riot, especially when he is carrying on his unsuccessful pursuit of Madame Edith. JACK HAIG (ROGER LECLERC) – Lifelong lover of Fanny, Leclerc is, when it comes to disguises, a legend in his own lunchtime. Looking exactly the same whether he’s portraying a lost mountaineer, a war veteran, or an onion seller, the town forger is used by the Resistance simply because he’s the only one they can find – but his scenes with Rene are always showstealers. RICHARD MARNER (COLONEL VON STROHM) – The German Colonel who’s more interested in works of art than the Army, Von Strohm is wonderful as he and his staff try to steal as many paintings as they can without anybody noticing. The pursuit of greats such as ‘The Fallen Madonna With The Big
Boobies’ is a theme which recurs throughout the nine series, and which never fails to entertain. SAM KELLY (CAPTAIN HANS GEERING) – Sadly only in the first 3 series, Kelly is a great actor in any role, but this is one of his all time best, as the Captain who’s just as reluctant to wage war as his Colonel, and the rest of the Germans. GUY SINER (LIEUTENANT GRUBER) – My personal favourite character in the show, Siner is fabulous as the German Lieutenant with a crush on Rene. His scenes with the decidedly heterosexual Artois are the stuff of greatness, and every action is a masterpiece of classic camp. Gruber is also brilliant when touching up copies of Old Masters such as ‘The Fallen Madonna…’ RICHARD GIBSON (HERR FLICK) – The original ‘Nasty Nazi’, Gibson’s presence as the Gestapo officer pursuing the ‘Madonna’ because Hitler wants to give it to mistress Eva Braun adds an extra layer to the show – by giving the German officers and the French someone who they all hate. Not one of the best actors in the series, but that’s just because there are so many wonderful ones. JOHN LOUIS MANSI (VON SMALLHAUSEN) – Flick’s tiny assistant, who is bullied unmercifully by his superior, Von Smallhausen’s plight would be almost heartbreaking if it wasn’t so funny. Mansi amazingly manages to make you feel sorry for a Gestapo member. KIM HARTMAN (HELGA) – A private under the General, but the lover of Herr Flick, Helga always has divided loyalties, but Hartman has no such problem – she’s funny whoever she’s in scenes with. CONCLUSION In addition to the 9 TV series, some of which are out on video, it’s also worth checking out the 2 books, ‘The War Diaries of Rene Artois’. These are wonderful in their own right, or as a companion to the series.
Allo Allo is the greatest old comedy around. Full of French people who think they can speak English, a cafe and a man with lots of women, allo allo is a funny, enjoyable comedy which is definately a timeless classic. It is set during the war in France. It is about a man named Renae who owns a cafe and lives with his mother and her mother (who is sick and stays in bed all of the time). The waitresses all fancy Renae (he is VERY ugly!) and he is having an affair with one of them (his wife dosen't know). Each episode a woman from the French Resistance comes with a plan to disrupt the Germans. Every time, Renae and co are told to do this plan and work secretly undercover for the French Resistance. From sausages to Madonna portraits, Allo, Allo has to be op of the best comedys on BBC (aswell as My Hero), it is a great programme and I watch as many as I can, I love it and so will you!
One of the classic sitcoms shown by the BBC, which seems to be the home of great sitcoms. It centred around one Frenchman and his café during the Second World War. Allo Allo, was written by David Croft and John B Hobbs and told the story of Rene the said café owner, played by Gordon Kaye. Who becomes embroiled in the dealings of the French Resistance, through no fault of his own, Michelle of the Resistance played by Kirsten Cooke, always seemed to pop up at the most inopportune moments and deliver her classic line, which seems to have been excepted in modern speech, it was of course ‘”Listen very carefully I shall say this only once”’ All the while one of Rene’s waitresses Yvette (Vicky Michelle) is trying her hardest to be Rene’s one love, all the time dodging Rene’s wife Edith Melba Artois played excellently by Carmen Silvera. This really was a classic and with so much to it I’m hard pushed to only write a relatively short opinion, so to sum it up the entire cast who are to numerous to mention were all great, the script was great in fact the whole thing was great! Allo Allo – One of the best. Wemstalker.
Good old aunty Beeb has produced many comedies and none come better than ‘Allo ‘Allo! As a parody of life in war torn France during the Second World War, this laugh a minute programme is just as funny the second and even third time around as it was when it first appeared on our screens. Scripted by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd ‘Allo ‘Allo! has so many funny characters of which none are funnier than the English agent disguised as a French policeman. It was a masterstroke of script writing to have the constable speak in English with a French accent and mispronounce most of his words, thus simulating broken French. Now listen carefully I shall say this only wence. The basic story is how a French café owner René Artois played by Gordon Kaye and his wife Edith (Carmen Silvera) try to earn a living in German occupied France whilst the local resistance do their best to send downed RAF pilots back to England. To this end they enlisted Rene’s services much to his chagrin. The plot is further complicated by the French all girl Communist movement who have no love for either the resistance or the Germans but make an exception of René. The café’s two waitresses, Yvette (Vicky Michelle) and Mimi Labong (Sue Hodge), although both madly in love with Rene, also sell their favours under the control of Madam Edith. Throw in Herr Flick of the Gestapo, his lady friend Helga a German Soldier, Captain Gruber a homosexual who fancies René, and some stolen booty you have a farce worthy of Brian Rix. The whole cast is ably supported by a myriad of equally funny characters who make the half hours shows something to remember and chuckle over in moments of remembrance.
Allo’ Allo’ is one of those comedy shows that you can still laugh at despite the fact that the repeats shown on UK Gold and BBC1 are definitely showing signs of age. Centred around a Café in war torn France, it is a typical English slapstick style farce, which starred Gorden Kaye as café owner Rene Artois and his haggared wife, Edith, played by the excellent Carmen Silvera. In typical fashion, the Germans are depicted as hopeless, hapless and decidedly stereotypical. You can’t dislike them, because they are just so stupid. From the Colonel (Richard Marner), his sidekick Captain Hans (Sam Kelly) and the ‘bent as a nine bob note’ Lt Gruber (Guy Siner), they are all in fear of Colonel von Klinkerhoffen (Hilary Minster). Not forgetting, of course the Gestapo – in the shape of Herr Flick (Richard Gibson, then David Janson) and his assistant von Smallhausen. Helga (Kim Hartman) plays the much put upon, supposed girlfriend of Herr Flick. She is one of the stars – often the subject of innuendo and double entendre and ending up having to be in some kind of compromising position – for the sake of the Fuhrer. Are the memories coming flooding back yet? The French are all at war, so all that is left in the town of Nouvion are the café waitresses, the Funeral director Alphonse (Kenneth Connor) and M.LeClerc (Jack Haig), plus the resistance who are all female! To Michelle – leader of the resistance - is given one of the most recited and best known catch phrases in recent sit com history. ‘Leesen very carefully, I will say these only wunce’ . Vicky Michelle plays waitress Yvette whose main duties are to be found in the arms of Rene, or similar types of situations. Rene, being the kind of person who would be caught, then has to explain his actions to Edith “Stupid Woman”, he starts before coming up with the most unbelievable explanation possible. But funny – yes monsieur
! Characters came and went during the 8 year run of the show – from 1984 – 1992. An Italian officer was introduced, always after the ladies and not exactly someone who was going to win the war – except for our side. Arthur Bostrum was introduced to the show around the third series, playing a British flyer, stranded in Nouvion and acting as a Gendarme. His 'Fronch accont wiz the moist awfill win you cud imagoon'. But he became an integral and funny part of the series – it was corny, oh yes, but funny to boot. Just thinking about it, the laughter comes flooding back. Not politically correct, certainly not historically accurate, but a true classic comedy creation from the pen of David Croft (who also brought us 'Dads Army', 'It Aint arf Hot Mum' and 'Are you being served?'
`Allo `allo made Saturday nights when I was younger. It symbolised a time when you could settle down in front of the television on a Saturday night and be entertained by a BBC comedy. It has changed somewhat now, with plenty of rubbish on at peak viewing times. I think `Allo `allo was the success it is because the comedy was gentle and although not innocent, it was genuinely funny and suitable for the whole family. As a 15 year old at the time it came onto our screens, I also enjoyed the series because Vicki Michelle who plays one of the serving girls used to shop at our local branch of Waitrose. All of the people working there with me at that time enjoyed our day even more when we knew she was coming in! How sad maybe, but we had to get though the day somehow. The BBC had the right idea when it decided to end the series run after the injury caused to` Rennai`. The show had run for a while and was beginning to look dated. I am pleased to see reruns now on the BBC on a Sunday afternoon. The scripts are excellent and I an sure people will enjoy them for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading this.