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Newcastle in 1983 in 10 photographs: Our introduction to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet | CPT PPP Coverage

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Newcastle in 1983 in 10 photographs: Our introduction to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet appeared on by Chronicle Live.

From Auf Wiedersehen, Pet on television to King Kev at Newcastle United in 10 archive images

It was 1983 and there would be some notable new additions to the UK’s television schedule.

At a time when we had just four channels, sizeable audiences quickly built up for the American adventure epic The A Team, the historical comedy romp Blackaddder, and the children’s quiz show Blockbusters. Another instant hit, and one with a heavy Tyneside flavour, was first screened this month 40 years ago. It was called Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Written by Dick Clement and Whitley Bay-born Ian La Frenais – creators of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads and Porridge – it was, the Chronicle reported, “a 13-part comedy-drama series about a gang of building workers who head for Germany in search of employment. Only a 90-minute flight from home they may be, but they might as well be in the Chinese countryside for the amount they have in common with their German hosts.”

In the event, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet would become an enduring TV triumph, showing the ups, downs and boozy scrapes of an ill-matched bunch of Brits forced to live in a hut on a German building site as they escaped the soaring unemployment of early-’80s Thatcherite Britain.

Central to the show’s success were a trio of Geordies – bricklayers Dennis, Oz and Neville – brilliantly portrayed by relatively unknown Tyneside actors Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail and Kevin Whately. A couple of days before the first episode was aired on November 11, the Chronicle caught up with one of the new show’s stars.

Jimmy Nail (real name Jimmy Bradford) had until recently been the singer in a Newcastle punk band called the King Crabs. He told us: “I’m chuffed as hell to be in the series. I’ve met people like Oz before. In fact, I used to work on a German building site for two years and was a bit of a hard nut meself, and also a general ne’er-do-well.”

Our main photograph shows Healy, Nail, and Whately making a personal appearance at a Tyneside Jobcentre at a time the new show’s ratings were going through the roof. It’s one of 10 images we’ve pulled from the ChronicleLive archive recalling some of what was going on around Newcastle in 1983.

Elsewhere we see Newcastle United stars Kevin Keegan and Terry McDermott signing autographs for young fans, AC/DC’s Tyneside-born singer Brian Johnson back on home turf at a new recording studio, and Chronicle competition winners at Newcastle Airport ready to enjoy a flight on Concorde which was returning to the city a year after flying in for its first ever visit.

Elsewhere in popular culture 40 years ago, this week’s UK singles chart featured the likes of Uptown Girl by Billy Joel, Say Say Say by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, and Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. And if you fancied catching a film at the flicks, 1983’s biggest grossing movies included Return Of The Jedi, Octopussy, and Flashdance.

In news headlines that year, the £26m Brinks Mat robbery took place at London’s Heathrow Airport, seatbelt use for drivers and front-seat passengers became mandatory in the UK, CND organised marches and demonstrations against the deployment of American nuclear missiles at Greenham Common in Berkshire, and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party won a landslide General Election.

Check out our 10 archive photographs recalling some of what was going on around Newcastle 40 years ago.

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