Allo! Allo! 1982
The 18th June 2020, marked the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the French Resistance. Of course years after the war TV writers were keen to tell the story of the efforts of the resistance with TV shows such as Secret Army.
Of course it also attracted the interest of comedy writers Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft. In Allo! Allo! they parody the BBC drama Secret Army and in doing so create one of the all time great British Sitcoms.
Following a Pilot episode in 1982, the show clocked up a mammoth ten years on our television screens with a 84 episodes. In a 2004 poll, Allo! Allo! ranked number 13 in Britain’s Best Sitcom.
After the first 3 series the show lost 2 of it’s main characters Sam Kelly and Francesca Gonshaw (Captain Hans Geering and waitress Maria). In the final series Herr Flick of the Gestapo played brilliantly by Richard Gibson is played by David Janson, who in this writer’s opinion didn’t manage to carry it off as well.
The series was noted for it’s ridiculous French accents and sexual innuendos.
A reunion special, comprising new material, archive clips and specially recorded interviews, was broadcast on 28 April 2007 on BBC Two.
The only real downside to this show is that to follow it properly you need to see all of it.
Set during World War II, ‘Allo ‘Allo! follows the antics of René Artois, a French café owner in the town of Nouvion.
Germans have occupied the town and stolen all of its valuable artefacts. These include the first cuckoo clock ever made and a painting of The Fallen Madonna by Van Klomp (known to those who have seen it as The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies). The local commandant has decided to keep them for himself after the war and forces René to hide the painting in his café. Hitler also wants the painting, and sends Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo to the town to find it. Flick, in turn, conspires to keep it. The paintings are duplicated by a forger, get mixed up and put in knackwurst sausages. One is sent to Hitler on an ammunition train, which gets blown up, one is hidden, and the other is eaten for dinner by Flick himself.
If all this is not enough the Cafe is being used by the local resistance to hide to British Airmen and to add to his troubles Rene seems to be the most fanciablr man in France – women just can’t keep their hands off him.
John Louis Mansi
David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd (1982-1989)
Jeremy Lloyd and Paul Adam (1991-1992)
John B. Hobbs
Original Transmission Dates: 30th December 1982 – 14th December 1992
As well as the long running TV series, the show gave rise to a successful touring stage-show featuring most of the TV cast. The stage show ran from 1986 to 1992, including three London stage runs as well as international tours.
On 22 March 2007, a one-off special episode entitled The Return of ‘Allo ‘Allo! was filmed in Manchester, and was broadcast on 28 April 2007 at 9 pm on BBC 2.