BBC sells Nazi-bashing comedy to German TV

The BBC said Monday it has sold a hit British television comedy series which makes fun of the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France to a German broadcaster.

German audiences will be able to watch “‘Allo ‘Allo” — which ran in Britain from 1982-1991 – for the first time after ProSiebenSat1 bought all 83 episodes from BBC Worldwide, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm.

“‘Allo ‘Allo is a high quality programme which had not been picked up in Germany until now due to the subject matter,” said a BBC spokeswoman. “Both BBC Worldwide and ProSiebenSat1 are very happy about the deal.”

The sitcom, which relies heavily on double entendre and comic accents, is set in a French cafe whose owner Renee Artois and his wife Edith try to help the local resistance while keeping out of trouble with the Nazi occupiers.

It is unclear how the accents will be rendered in German to avoid losing the jokes in translation; one character routinely gets a laugh with British audiences by saying “Good moaning,” in mangled English.

Another long-running joke which titillates British viewers involves the cafe owner hiding a painting, The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, inside a garlic sausage to prevent it falling into Nazi hands. But the BBC is confident Germans will understand the humour.

“‘Allo ‘Allo is one of the most successful BBC comedies ever made and is already loved in over 50 countries,” said Isabelle Helle, head of German-speaking territories at BBC Worldwide. “We’re really excited that ProSiebenSat1 has decided to take all series.”

Now German viewers will be able to follow the daily cafe antics of Renee, Edith and the Gestapo. They “might even pick up on some of those famous catchphrases,”

she said, citing: “‘Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once…’.”

The Local’s Blog: Allo Allo is about all Europeans.