Like this page?
Send it to a friend!
René Artois is a café owner in the Nazi-occupied French town of Nouvion, whose efforts to appease a range of opposing factions without being killed provide the unlikely scenario for this long-running hit BBC One sitcom.
German Colonel Von Strohm is on good terms with René but exploits the café to hide a stolen painting (the oft-mentioned Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by Van Klomp) he plans to sell after the war for his retirement.
Unfortunately Hitler also wants the painting and has sent Gestapo agent Otto Flick to find it. But the Germans aren't René's only problem.
The French Resistance, led by Michelle, force him to aid their persistent attempts to return two bumbling British airmen to England and all the time René must keep secret from his wife his long-running affairs with his two waitresses or risk losing his cherished café.
An innovative trick was the portrayal of languages, with French characters speaking English in a French accent whilst the 'English' had an upper-class twang.
Hence the poor French of Englishman Crabtree (disguised as a gendarme) could be depicted by his serial mispronunciations, especially his famous greeting "Good Moaning".
It's the best known of a raft of catchphrases (Michelle’s "Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once" coming a close second).
The comedy maintained a large number of subplots and returning characters (including the camp Lieutenant Gruber, undertaker Monsieur Alfonse and forger Leclerc), cheerfully revelling in a bawdy 'picture postcard' humour.
To cram in the twisting story, episodes would run on from each other linked by René's opening monologues to camera.
Written and performed as a farce, writers David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd made great play of national stereotypes (sex-obsessed French, posh British twits) but this didn't stop the show becoming a massive success on both sides of the Channel.
'Allo 'Allo! treated the war itself quite reverently, but targeted more specifically the raft of wartime dramas that were flooding TV schedules, especially ITV series Secret Army (1977-1979), about the Resistance movement.
It may not have quite the enduring appeal of Dad's Army, but over 85 episodes retained a strong, popular, family following.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.