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Allan McKeown obituary

2 January 2014 5:53 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Television and stage producer known for Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Birds of a Feather

The television producer Allan McKeown, who has died aged 67 of prostate cancer, created the groundbreaking Witzend Productions with the sitcom writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and had hits on both sides of the Atlantic. It was one of the earliest independent production companies outside the British broadcasting establishment to find success within it.

A prime example of Witzend's attempts to push the boundaries of the medium – and McKeown's credit as executive producer – was Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1983-86). The series, about a group of itinerant British builders in Germany – developed by Clement and La Frenais from an idea by Franc Roddam – went beyond the sitcom format to become one of the first in the comedy-drama genre.

ITV at first had no plans to make a second series but backtracked when up to 13 million viewers tuned in. »

- Anthony Hayward, Ian La Frenais

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