As has been remarked on many times, recently we have lost a lot of famous people.  The death of Gorden Kaye earlier this week felt to me to be one of the greater losses.  In saying that, I’m not trying to compare talent or success of different individuals, but merely looking at what a central part of my viewing ‘Allo ‘Allo! was for so many years, what a central part of ‘Allo ‘Allo! Gorden Kaye was, and how much pleasure I got from them both. Through much of the 80’s and into the 90’s, ‘Allo ‘Allo! was the unmissable, laugh out loud comedy series.  Just thinking back now raises a smile – the gateau in the chateau – remember that?  And so many catchphrases!  May be what didn’t strike us at the time was just how groundbreaking and original this series was.  Despite the comedy, there was a darker, more dangerous feel to it than other sitcoms set in the war – occupied France, the German generals, the Gestapo, the Communist Resistance.  The plots were the most complex possible, around the British airmen, the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, Michelle’s harebrained schemes and René’s affairs of the heart.  The cast, probably the biggest of any sitcom, were superb, most of them serious actors, rather than comedy actors as it were, helping with the more sinister and less savoury parts of wartime life in occupied France.  And what the writers did with the different languages was genius, how very clever.  There were so many different and funny characters, it was impossible to pick a favourite, but the action all revolved around René, and Gorden Kaye was in the middle of it all, holding the programme together, switching from confusion, to fear, to lust as his character was swept along by events.  So I watched last night’s episode, shown in tribute to him, and was reminded of all the laughs, all the pleasure over so many years, and the brilliance of both the series and of Gorden Kaye’s performance.  Farewell Night Hawk, over and out…

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