© Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is copyright of ITV Studios, BBC & Franc Roddam.
‘I’ve lost my train of thought now, thank you!!....’ Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - Behind The Scenes Series 4. These short interviews with the cast was done for the BBC Series 4 of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Tim Spall talks about Series 4 and a short bit about how Pet changed his life. The following is copyright of the BBC. © The images and text are copyright of the BBC and are not to be used or copied without permission.
"I'm a bit ambivalent about Barry to be honest," admits Timothy Spall. "I love playing the character and I'm deeply proud that he's so popular, but he's a bit of a nuisance to me."When we first started I was perceived as being like Barry so I have a very odd relationship with him. It really is a love/hate thing. I feel like I'm killing myself when I do him and I can feel all the qualities of a class A1 pillock rising up in me! I really love him but I'd also like to strangle him. "But writers Dick and Ian turned him on his head for the last series. They made him rich, which was a very clever thing to do as he's the last guy you'd expect to finally make some money and something of himself. "It's deepened him - not that he was two-dimensional before – but now he's more than just the butt of the jokes. This time he has a much more emotional story to go through."When the series starts Barry is reluctant to go to Cuba. He's trying to patch up his life after the lovely Tatiana deceived and left him. He's a broken man. "And there is a big question mark over his finances which were all tied up in bent money (although he didn't know anything about it). And his wonderful house now has subsidence as the earthquake in Dudley hit it. So he's buggered. "He's in therapy and he thinks that it's doing him a hell of a lot of good. He's seeing a nice woman in Solihull who is keeping him sane. But eventually he decides to team up with the boys again because Oz and Dennis convince him that they're his family and it's all he's got left. "Barry might be back in the bosom of his friends but he can't cut the ties to his Solihull-based therapist. "While he's in Cuba he's always on the phone to Solihull which is costing him a fortune! "But he soon gets settled in and back in situ sharing a room with Oz. They've always had an odd friendship: they're so different but they have an affection for each other."Oz has fallen in love for the first time in his life and he's finding it difficult. So Barry and Oz start counselling each other. They're two guys just trying to deal with their problems in these peculiar and slightly mad therapy sessions! But they do help each other." Like the other members of cast, Tim admits that the real magic of the series is in the writing. "There are more layers to the characters now, which makes the comedy more funny and poignant. It's laced with a bittersweet quality. "All of them have in common an incongruous decency and loyalty. In normal circumstances they probably wouldn't have been friends, but they were brought together by adversity in the beginning and they are always in extremis, which pulls them together."It's about ordinary guys and how they behave in an environment they're not used to. "I believe that's the skill of Dick and Ian's writing. They tap into the great sense of the ridiculous of life. Only in a Clement and La Frenais script would you get characters who for extra mural activities end up going to guinea pig roulette! They manage to find the true lunacy of life. "Having just spent months filming with Richard Dreyfuss, Tim was better prepared than some for the rigours of filming in the jungle. "I'd never been to the Dominican Republic but I was in French Guyana (near Venezuela) whilst filming The Old Man Who Reads Love Stories with Richard and we did a lot of filming in the jungle so I had a feeling of what it might be like. "French Guyana is a really bizarre place – it's ruled from Paris and they even have their own Euro MP. "But the Dominican Republic is an amazing mixture of the Caribbean and America. In Santo Domingo you can be on one street that is fairly run- down and looks like Russia, but then turn the corner and you're in a huge mall like those in the middle of LA. "Then there's the fourteenth century centre. Christopher Columbus' house is still there and it's full of beautiful, colonial-style buildings. It's fascinating. "And bloody hot. It was a 100 degrees with 99% humidity! But that's all part of the deal. These characters are from a northern European country and the island works its magic on them. They get involved in the flow and life of the place. "We were shooting in some really rural places – passing through and filming in real shanty towns. But the people have never seen a film unit before. They were totally fascinated and, once they'd realised that we weren't doing anything sinister, they really got into it. "Some of the crew stayed for a drink one evening and had a fantastic time with them. "But in the beginning Timothy Spall - acclaimed character actor and OBE - almost signed up for the army rather than heading to drama school.