'A Haze of Beer and Schnapps Fumes...’ Part Two.

Series producer of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Martin McKeand kindly agreed to write about his memories of Series 1 & 2 for the Fansite to celebrate 35 extraordinary years of Britain’s #1 ITV Comedy Drama! From those first memories in Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Elstree to those final scenes shot on the back of a Yacht in Marbella. with his good friend and AWP director Roger Bamford. We were so excited about Martin getting involved that this is the first of several pieces that he’s kindly agreed to write for the Official Fansite! This is Part Two! Copyright: Images, articles and text are copyright awpet.com. Acknowledgement: Martin McKeand

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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 - 2019
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After the great popular success of the first series you might expect the second series to be up and running in short order. But it didn't work out like that. As I've recorded earlier, the "management" at Central TV didn't know how to follow up on the popularity of the programme and a lot of time was wasted, by which time many of the actors were involved in other projects, and the idea of British brickies working in Germany was no longer viable. But eventually a deal was cobbled together, and the creative team met to decide how to get the show on the road again. Writer Stan Hey describes that process... “It was tough getting the collective mojo working on the second series – the difficult second album. But we had some great actors on the team, and their established characters had a lot of mileage in them. This was probably why the drama became more of a serial – we had fewer ‘events’ and ‘plots’ but more time to extend and enjoy the characters....” Also by now Central Television had moved from its base in Elstree ( now home of "Eastenders" ) to new studios in Nottingham, and there was a complete change in "management", none of whom were involved with the first series or, indeed in many cases the making of television programmes. I and the leading programme director Roger Bamford had to deal with a whole new set of people telling us what we couldn't do. But the most important team members were still on board, notably the writers, Dick, Ian and Stan, and our wonderful main cast. As an example of the management at the Nottingham Studios, on one occasion when we were filming there Jimmy Nail was required to make a quick costume change. Finding his dressing room locked, Jimmy went to the front desk to get a spare key. There was nobody there so Jimmy kicked down the door of his dressing room. Result: some jobs worth called the police and asked them to arrest Jimmy for breaking and entering. Very helpful!. Using Nottingham as our base meant we had to find locations for filming mostly in that area, and we were fortunate to  discover Beesthorpe Hall which was to be our base for the first few episodes, before moving to Spain. But unfortunately Beesthorpe could only be approached by way of a private road which ran through the property of the then local MP who had taken against Central for other reasons. But eventually a deal was worked out and we spent several pleasant and sunny weeks in the Nottinghamshire countryside. There was a welcoming pub nearby which made a good base for our lunch break, and on more than one occasion we drank them dry. Then to Spain, where, as described by Stan Hey here in Question 7, we had carried out an extensive recce. One place we came across was a bar in Fuengirola called "The Office". When you entered it was like going onto the set of "Eastenders". Wall to  wall cockneys, beer and fish and chips, and rowdy singing. One person we spotted was a well known East End villain, much sought after by the police at the time. We asked him if he would be interested in appearing as an "extra" in one of our scenes but he politely declined. The storyline involved the lads working on Allie's villa and the brilliant Peter Millhouse found a place under construction in San Pedro along the coast from Marbella that needed a swimming pool to be dug out and built. This became one of our bases or the Spanish filming, and the filming was carried out as the work on the swimming pool progressed. The other was the exclusive Marbella Club itself, which was the location for the meetings in the hot tub between Ally Fraser played by Bill Paterson, and Kenny Ame  played by Jimmie Booth, to discuss various dodgy deals. One of the great pleasures, for me, of this series was that we were able to bring in other great actors to play major roles. Of course in the first series we had the then almost unknown Ray Winstone, and the great Michael Elphick, but in the second we were able to spread the net wider. I had always admired Bill Paterson since seeing him working with Scottish experimental theatre groups and I was delighted that he agreed to take on the role of Ally Fraser which he made his own. I see Billy from time to time, he is one of those actors who is constantly in work, but he tells me that when people stop him in the street the role they most often want to ask him about him is Ally Fraser in AWP. Then Jimmy Booth, another great actor who started in experimental theatre with Joan Littlewood in Theatre Workshop. James was living in Los Angeles but was delighted to join Bill in a hot-tub in Marbella. And the great Brian Pringle, who played Pringle the grumpy landlord of the pub that the lads are billeted in for a time. Brian Pringle had played major supporting roles in many great films - I remember particularly "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning". Brian Pringle was a sweet man and a great drinking companion. Sadly neither he or Elphick or Booth are still with us. And also of course many others, including the beautiful Katie Rabett as Pringle's daughter, and Carolyn Courage as Mrs Bellamy.             I shouldn't finish this piece about the making of series 2 without mentioning the death of Gary Holton. But I wrote about it in a previous piece here, and I don't really want to expand on that except to say - what a sad waste. As a last memory of recording the second series in Nottingham, I remember we were doing a few pick-up shots in one of the studios just before Christmas 1985. There was a children's carol service being broadcast LIVE from the reception area at the studio. There was also a Union dispute going on between the electricians and the management. And as the carol service was reaching the end, a group of disgruntled electricians trudged through the picture, scattering the angelic choristers, and for some reason the screen went blank. And to anyone who is reading this, if you have any questions I will try to answer them. Meanwhile, keep the torch burning! All best Martin McKeand. © The text & images are copyright awpet.com and are not to be used or copied without permission.

'A Haze of Beer and Schnapps Fumes...’ Part

Two.

Series producer of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Martin McKeand kindly agreed to write about his memories of Series 1 & 2 for the Fansite to celebrate 35 extraordinary years of Britain’s #1 ITV Comedy Drama! From those first memories in Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Elstree to those final scenes shot on the back of a Yacht in Marbella. with his good friend and AWP director Roger Bamford. We were so excited about Martin getting involved that this is the first of several pieces that he’s kindly agreed to write for the Official Fansite! This is Part Two! Copyright: Images and text are copyright awpet.com. Acknowledgement: Martin McKeand
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 - 2019
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After the great popular success of the first series you might expect the second series to be up and running in short order. But it didn't work out like that. As I've recorded earlier, the "management" at Central TV didn't know how to follow up on the popularity of the programme and a lot of time was wasted, by which time many of the actors were involved in other projects, and the idea of British brickies working in Germany was no longer viable. But eventually a deal was cobbled together, and the creative team met to decide how to get the show on the road again. Writer Stan Hey describes that process... “It was tough getting the collective mojo working on the second series – the difficult second album. But we had some great actors on the team, and their established characters had a lot of mileage in them. This was probably why the drama became more of a serial – we had fewer ‘events’ and ‘plots’ but more time to extend and enjoy the characters....” Also by now Central Television had moved from its base in Elstree ( now home of "Eastenders" ) to new studios in Nottingham, and there was a complete change in "management", none of whom were involved with the first series or, indeed in many cases the making of television programmes. I and the leading programme director Roger Bamford had to deal with a whole new set of people telling us what we couldn't do. But the most important team members were still on board, notably the writers, Dick, Ian and Stan, and our wonderful main cast. As an example of the management at the Nottingham Studios, on one occasion when we were filming there Jimmy Nail was required to make a quick costume change. Finding his dressing room locked, Jimmy went to the front desk to get a spare key. There was nobody there so Jimmy kicked down the door of his dressing room. Result: some jobs worth called the police and asked them to arrest Jimmy for breaking and entering. Very helpful!. Using Nottingham as our base meant we had to find locations for filming mostly in that area, and we were fortunate to  discover Beesthorpe Hall which was to be our base for the first few episodes, before moving to Spain. But unfortunately Beesthorpe could only be approached by way of a private road which ran through the property of the then local MP who had taken against Central for other reasons. But eventually a deal was worked out and we spent several pleasant and sunny weeks in the Nottinghamshire countryside. There was a welcoming pub nearby which made a good base for our lunch break, and on more than one occasion we drank them dry. Then to Spain, where, as described by Stan Hey here in Question 7, we had carried out an extensive recce. One place we came across was a bar in Fuengirola called "The Office". When you entered it was like going onto the set of "Eastenders". Wall to  wall cockneys, beer and fish and chips, and rowdy singing. One person we spotted was a well known East End villain, much sought after by the police at the time. We asked him if he would be interested in appearing as an "extra" in one of our scenes but he politely declined. The storyline involved the lads working on Allie's villa and the brilliant Peter Millhouse found a place under construction in San Pedro along the coast from Marbella that needed a swimming pool to be dug out and built. This became one of our bases or the Spanish filming, and the filming was carried out as the work on the swimming pool progressed. The other was the exclusive Marbella Club itself, which was the location for the meetings in the hot tub between Ally Fraser played by Bill Paterson, and Kenny Ame  played by Jimmie Booth, to discuss various dodgy deals. One of the great pleasures, for me, of this series was that we were able to bring in other great actors to play major roles. Of course in the first series we had the then almost unknown Ray Winstone, and the great Michael Elphick, but in the second we were able to spread the net wider. I had always admired Bill Paterson since seeing him working with Scottish experimental theatre groups and I was delighted that he agreed to take on the role of Ally Fraser which he made his own. I see Billy from time to time, he is one of those actors who is constantly in work, but he tells me that when people stop him in the street the role they most often want to ask him about him is Ally Fraser in AWP. Then Jimmy Booth, another great actor who started in experimental theatre with Joan Littlewood in Theatre Workshop. James was living in Los Angeles but was delighted to join Bill in a hot-tub in Marbella. And the great Brian Pringle, who played Pringle the grumpy landlord of the pub that the lads are billeted in for a time. Brian Pringle had played major supporting roles in many great films - I remember particularly "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning". Brian Pringle was a sweet man and a great drinking companion. Sadly neither he or Elphick or Booth are still with us. And also of course many others, including the beautiful Katie Rabett as Pringle's daughter, and Carolyn Courage as Mrs Bellamy.             I shouldn't finish this piece about the making of series 2 without mentioning the death of Gary Holton. But I wrote about it in a previous piece here, and I don't really want to expand on that except to say - what a sad waste. As a last memory of recording the second series in Nottingham, I remember we were doing a few pick-up shots in one of the studios just before Christmas 1985. There was a children's carol service being broadcast LIVE from the reception area at the studio. There was also a Union dispute going on between the electricians and the management. And as the carol service was reaching the end, a group of disgruntled electricians trudged through the picture, scattering the angelic choristers, and for some reason the screen went blank. And to anyone who is reading this, if you have any questions I will try to answer them. Meanwhile, keep the torch burning! All best Martin McKeand. © The text & images are copyright awpet.com and are not to be used or copied without permission.