Martin McKeand - Series Producer

This month we bring you part 2 of our exclusive interview with Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Series Producer Martin McKeand. Martin tells us how cast and crew coped with the sad loss of Gary Holton, how Tim Healy was prone to the occasional mishap on set, whether there was any truth in the rumour a third series in the 80’s was to be set in Moscow and how he feels about the love and affection shown by fans across the world almost 35 years since Auf Wiedersehen, Pet first aired back in 1983. Copyright: The following images, articles and text are copyright awpet.com. Site Release Date: First featured in Newsletter 20 Read part one of our interview here

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Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 1983 - 2016
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Q7. Do you have any fun stories that happened while on set?   A.  Absolutely no fun was had by anybody at any time. We were all incredibly serious people. Not.   Q8. With the death of Gary Holton, there was a worry that the 2nd series might not even make it on screen, how did everyone cope with the situation?   A.  There was never any question of the 2nd series not being completed. Gary's death occurred after all the Spanish location work was finished, and there was only a comparatively small amount of UK shooting left to do. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais came over to rewrite some scenes, and we were able to shoot others using body doubles. There's a scene in one episode where a very young Gina McKee (in what may have been her first TV role ?) has a scene with Gary - the two-shots of Gary are for real, the two-shots featuring Gina are with a body double filmed weeks later from behind. As for people's reactions, in hindsight we should have seen it coming but it really was a terrible shock. Gary had been a real pain at times but strong men wept when we heard the news.   Q9. As producer, did you have any input or make any changes to how the series was progressing?   A.  Of course, that's what producers do!   Q10. There have always been rumours about a 3rd series being produced in the late 80's set in Moscow, do you know anything about this?   A.  No, after the second series Central were very keen to make a third series of course, but most of the main cast had moved on to other things. Someone at Central had the insane idea of cutting the episodes down to 30 minutes and re- releasing it as a sitcom. Most of the cast and the director demanded that their names be taken off the credits so that project was abandoned though a few 30-minute episodes were shown I believe. As we know, much later the rights reverted to Franc Roddam and he got further series made with the BBC. I think one of these opened in Russia. I'm sorry to say I didn't watch many of them.   Q11. From memory was there any disasters on set?   A. Almost daily. Tim Healy was particularly prone to mishaps. He cut his eye when opening an envelope. He cracked his head when being driven down a country lane by Pat Roach. At Beesthorpe Hall the only approach to the location was across land owned by the local ( Conservative ) MP. Nobody checked with him and he had us over a barrel. But as far as I remember, no sets fell down, nobody was seriously injured and most of the problems were caused by Union regulations. I remember Kevin Whately saying "This is the first time I've been on a night shoot that was closed down before it got dark ". And a well-known actor saying to director Roger Bamford, thirty seconds before the Union electricians were going to pull the plug: "What do I do now ?" and Roger saying " Just stand there and say the line!".   Q12. Many of the cast and crew we have interviewed over the years, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet seems to be something they hold close to their hearts, how do you feel about AWP, and what does it mean to you?   A.  Well, I'm hugely grateful to Alan McKeown, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for asking me to produce the show. As I've said above, I had never done anything like it before. It took up four years and I remember almost every minute. I went on to produce the first two series of Spender with Jimmy Nail which was a different kind of experience. I haven't seen him since that time but follow his career, and that of all the other great actors we worked with, with great interest. Haven't they done well! Met up with Dick, Ian and Tim Healy, Kevin and Chris Fairbanks at "Sunday for Sammy" a couple of years back. Really miss Sammy, a friend and drinking companion both in the Byker Arms, the Live Theatre bar, and in the French House in London. Happy days...   The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Fansite would personally like to thank Martin for taking part in our interview.  

Martin McKeand Interview Part 2

This month we bring you part 2 of our exclusive interview with Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Series Producer Martin McKeand. Martin tells us how cast and crew coped with the sad loss of Gary Holton, how Tim Healy was prone to the occasional mishap on set, whether there was any truth in the rumour a third series in the 80’s was to be set in Moscow and how he feels about the love and affection shown by fans across the world almost 35 years since Auf Wiedersehen, Pet first aired back in 1983. Copyright: The following images, articles and text are copyright awpet.com. Site Release Date: First featured in Newsletter 19 Read part one of our interview here
Do you have something to add? If you have something to add, whether it be pictures, a magazine interview or something else, we would love to have it on the Fansite! Please use the Contact link above in the navigation bar and Email us.
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 1983 - 2016
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Q7. Do you have any fun stories that happened while on set?   A.  Absolutely no fun was had by anybody at any time. We were all incredibly serious people. Not.   Q8. With the death of Gary Holton, there was a worry that the 2nd series might not even make it on screen, how did everyone cope with the situation?   A.  There was never any question of the 2nd series not being completed. Gary's death occurred after all the Spanish location work was finished, and there was only a comparatively small amount of UK shooting left to do. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais came over to rewrite some scenes, and we were able to shoot others using body doubles. There's a scene in one episode where a very young Gina McKee (in what may have been her first TV role ?) has a scene with Gary - the two-shots of Gary are for real, the two-shots featuring Gina are with a body double filmed weeks later from behind. As for people's reactions, in hindsight we should have seen it coming but it really was a terrible shock. Gary had been a real pain at times but strong men wept when we heard the news.   Q9. As producer, did you have any input or make any changes to how the series was progressing?   A.  Of course, that's what producers do!   Q10. There have always been rumours about a 3rd series being produced in the late 80's set in Moscow, do you know anything about this?   A.  No, after the second series Central were very keen to make a third series of course, but most of the main cast had moved on to other things. Someone at Central had the insane idea of cutting the episodes down to 30 minutes and re-releasing it as a sitcom. Most of the cast and the director demanded that their names be taken off the credits so that project was abandoned though a few 30-minute episodes were shown I believe. As we know, much later the rights reverted to Franc Roddam and he got further series made with the BBC. I think one of these opened in Russia. I'm sorry to say I didn't watch many of them.   Q11. From memory was there any disasters on set?   A. Almost daily. Tim Healy was particularly prone to mishaps. He cut his eye when opening an envelope. He cracked his head when being driven down a country lane by Pat Roach. At Beesthorpe Hall the only approach to the location was across land owned by the local ( Conservative ) MP. Nobody checked with him and he had us over a barrel. But as far as I remember, no sets fell down, nobody was seriously injured and most of the problems were caused by Union regulations. I remember Kevin Whately saying "This is the first time I've been on a night shoot that was closed down before it got dark ". And a well-known actor saying to director Roger Bamford, thirty seconds before the Union electricians were going to pull the plug: "What do I do now ?" and Roger saying " Just stand there and say the line!".   Q12. Many of the cast and crew we have interviewed over the years, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet seems to be something they hold close to their hearts, how do you feel about AWP, and what does it mean to you?   A.  Well, I'm hugely grateful to Alan McKeown, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for asking me to produce the show. As I've said above, I had never done anything like it before. It took up four years and I remember almost every minute. I went on to produce the first two series of Spender with Jimmy Nail which was a different kind of experience. I haven't seen him since that time but follow his career, and that of all the other great actors we worked with, with great interest. Haven't they done well! Met up with Dick, Ian and Tim Healy, Kevin and Chris Fairbanks at "Sunday for Sammy" a couple of years back. Really miss Sammy, a friend and drinking companion both in the Byker Arms, the Live Theatre bar, and in the French House in London. Happy days...   The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Fansite would personally like to thank Martin for taking part in our interview.