Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Listen very carefully, ve shall say zis...etc etc

There’s been an odd about-turn on ‘Allo ‘Allo…we don’t remember it being dreadfully funny on broadcast, but watching repeats over the last 5 years has forced a complete rethink: ‘Allo ‘Allo is brilliant; and now the Germans can enjoy it too…Widely reported yesterday was the acquisition of the classic sitcom by German TV station ProSiebenSat1, along with wide-ranging speculation that the German’s would (a) probably not get it, or (b) be mortally offended.

We can’t account for (a), it’ll depend entirely on how successfully the re-dubbed show will work in German, especially considering ‘Allo ‘Allo worked best when it boiled down to word-play and accent/language gags.

As for (b), we don’t recall ‘Allo ‘Allo being specifically offensive to the Germans…the German army are painted as inept buffoons who just want an easy life. As indeed are the occupied French, and the British. The majority of the German characters are actually quite likeable, Herr Flick and General Von Klinkerhoffen aside, but they themselves are very broad steretypes no different to the French Onion sellers and the cloak-and-dagger Resistance.

Still, it's difficult for us in the UK to fully appreciate the perception of the war in Germany. Seeing the Nazis as figures of fun is ingrained into our cultural memory, dating back to the war itself when Hitler and Goering would appear in the Beano as inept slapstick thickos. In Germany, where perception of the War is still wrapped in a sense of shared shame about the holocaust, programme makers have always tread carefully. "Heil Hitler"'s are still very rare on German TV, only time will tell if they still offend people when abbreviated to "kler!".

Still, it’s a nice excuse to post our all time favourite ‘All ‘Allo moment. Okay, our favourite ‘Allo ‘Allo moment not involving Vicky Michelle’s specialist film career. Ahem…

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