Many years have passed since the lads completed the building job in Spain for Ally Fraser when all bar one of them are brought back together in Middlesborough for Oz's wake - but someone ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Healy ...
Julia Tobin ...
Michael Angelis ...
Alan Igbon ...
Tommy Rampton
John Kazek ...


Many years have passed since the lads completed the building job in Spain for Ally Fraser when all bar one of them are brought back together in Middlesborough for Oz's wake - but someone puts in a surprise appearance with a proposal for a very ambitious project for them to undertake. Written by Alex Andrews

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Comedy | Drama





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Release Date:

28 April 2002 (UK)  »

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References The French Connection (1971) See more »

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A wake with no body?
13 May 2012 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

When I heard back in 2001 that the B.B.C. had decided to revive 'Auf Wiedershen, Pet', my heart sank. Why bother, I thought? It could not possibly be the same without 'Wayne'? ( Gary Holton died of a heroin overdose in 1985 ). Besides, recent attempts at programme revivals such 'Agony Again', 'Doctor At The Top' and 'The Liver Birds' had flopped. It was with some trepidation that I tuned in to the first episode in 2002. To my surprise, it turned out far better than expected. It is now seventeen years since 'the magnificent seven - 'Oz' ( Jimmy Nail ), 'Dennis' ( Tim Healy ), 'Barry' ( Timothy Spaull ), 'Bomber' ( Pat Roach ), 'Moxey' ( Christopher Fairbank ), 'Neville' ( Kevin Whately ), and 'Wayne' ( Gary Holton ) - were last together in Spain. At the start of this episode, Oz has apparently died, and the gang are invited to a wake in Middlesborough. Wayne's son 'Wyman' ( Noel Clarke, later to play 'Mickey' in the smash-hit 2005 revival of 'Dr.Who' ) informs the others that his father died two years before of a congenital heart condition. There is another shock in store for them too; Oz is not dead after all. He has reunited the gang to propose a business deal; to dismantle the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge, and sell it to Malaysia. Whoever gets the job will make a small fortune. Oz found out about the project when he shared a prison cell with disgraced ex-Tory M.P. 'Jeffrey Grainger' ( the excellent Bill Nighy ). As both Neville and Barry have their own businesses, finding the £10,000 investment won't be a problem. It isn't for Moxey either - he steals it from the safe of Liverpuddlian gangster 'Mickey Startup' ( Michael Angelis ). Dennis is reduced to driving taxis for a drug dealer, so Oz proposes to loan him the money and he can repay it out of his share of the profits. One way or another the boys are back together again...

Thanks to a terrific script by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, not to mention superb playing from the main cast, 'Auf Pet 2002' turned out a winner, and the biggest hit the B.B.C. had had in years. Rather than put the lads back as they once were, it acknowledges that time has passed. As well as the performers mentioned earlier, we also have Julia Tobin back as Neville's wife 'Brenda'. The actress was re-hired at Whately's insistence. Of the characters, Barry seems to have had the most success - enjoying a millionaire lifestyle while married to the sexy 'Tatiana' ( Branka Katic ). Oz has undergone the biggest change, from a beer-swilling, violent slob into an ambitious, computer literate, new man. Needless to say, the old Oz still lurks below the surface, as Dennis' drug dealing passenger finds out to his cost. It was good to see Jimmy Nail looking like his old self again; when he played 'Spender' a few years before, he was barely recognisable. 'Bomber' looks in bad shape, though. There was a good reason for this - Pat Roach was dying of cancer ( though this was not public knowledge then ).

With only six episodes, the new series became one long story instead of a dozen or so smaller ones. Michael Angelis and Alan Igbon had previously appeared in 'Boys From The Blackstuff', believed to have been one of the main inspirations for 'Auf Pet'.

The one negative aspect is 'Wyman'. No offence to Noel Clarke, but the character does not interact well with the others. He isn't in the construction business, for one thing. He is a disc jockey. After informing the others of Wayne's passing, he should have been written out. He seems to have been included purely as an afterthought, to offset possible complaints from young viewers about it being an 'old blokes' show. Bad news for Joe Fagin fans - the closing theme 'Why Aye Man' was by Mark Knopfler.

Funniest moment - when the drug dealer threatens to eat Oz's liver if he sees him again, he snarkily replies: "Would that be with or without the farva beans?".

Clement and La Frenais had once again pulled off the difficult trick - as they had done thirty years before with 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads' - of constructing a follow-up that was easily on a par with the original.

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