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'Allo 'Allo! at the London Palladium (1988)

| Short, Comedy
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Eight minutes is all there was
10 March 2008 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Wrongfully identified as a 'TV series' here on IMDb, this 8 minute short was really just an excerpt of the 'Allo 'Allo! stage show broadcast as part of the second Night of Comic Relief on march 10, 1989. Shown just once, between ten and eleven PM, and as far as I can tell, a complete registration of the live show has never been broadcast anywhere or indeed been filmed for television, even though the show is still performed regularly (mostly by amateur companies, but occasionally with some of the original cast members returning to their beloved parts).

As a stage farce, the plot by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd was quite a bit raunchier than the usual episode. The sequence shown on Red Nose Night 2 involved some antics with an inflatable Hitler doll, which prompted a flabbergasted Jonathan Ross to exclaim 'I thought that was supposed to be a family show' afterward. Obviously Ross didn't watch the show at all: it debuted in 1982 in a post 21.00 strictly adult time slot but as the series went on, the BBC started screening it earlier each year until it became a Saturday evening family show.

The stage show opened in November 4th, 1986 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London and although reviled by critics, proved to be an instant hit over Christmas and kept putting bums on seats beyond the end of the TV show that spawned it in 1992. The first line up consisted of a near complete roster of the show's cast, including Sam Kelly as Captain Hans Geering and Jack Haig as LeClerc. As soon as Kelly left the show because he had promised himself to move on after three series (a decision he says to regret now), Captain Bertorelli (Gavin Richards) was written into the play to replace him.

Over the years, TV cast members came and went as their acting schedules allowed, to be replaced by look- and/or sound alikes on stage. The show even went on with Gorden Kaye's understudy when Kay had his terrible a car accident during the Burns' Day storm on 25 January 1990. When Richard Gibson announced he wanted to get out of his part as Herr Flick because of fears of typecasting, he was replaced by David Janson, who had been playing the part on stage for a while. Gibson now confesses that if he had known the show was only going to last one more season, he would have stayed on.

In June and July of 2007, Gorden Kaye, Sue Hodge and Guy Sinner reunited as René, Mimi and Lt. Gruber respectively, to do the show in Brisbane, Australia and plans are now a foot for similar cast reunions in other European countries that still remember the war. The cast is still willing to don their old costumes, as is evident by their many convention appearances in recent years. So come on, BBC, or any other network for that matter, how about a TV registration longer than 8 minutes, eh?

8 out of 10


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