This week we received the sad news that Gordon Kaye, star of British sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo (1982-1992) had died in a care home at age 75. Kaye played protagonist and cafe owner René Artois in the hilarious comedy set in German-occupied France during World War II.
I loved this show as a child and still get a kick out of it today. One of the most memorable aspects was the plethora of humorous catchphrases. For today’s post and in honour of Kaye we will be counting down the top 10:
#10 Does nobody hear the cries of a poor old woman?
The cantankerous Madame Fanny La Fan did not like to be ignored and she made sure everyone knew about it.
#9 I was pissing by the door…
A British spy posing as a French police officer Crabtree gave us a lot of chuckles as he repeatedly mangled the French language, which came out in the show as ridiculous English. His “pissing (passing) by the door” is one of his many gems.
#8 Shut up, you silly old bat
René had little patience with his annoying mother-in-law, the aforementioned Madame Fanny, and frequently asked her to shut her trap.
#7 You may kiss me
Gestapo officer Herr Otto Flick and his private secretary and lover Herr Helga were quite the pair. Flick’s lack of emotions during their intimate moments made for very silly scenes and his invitation to relations, “you may kiss me”, is delivered with as much as passion as someone asking for the mayo.
#6 What-a mistake-a to make-a
Captain Alberto Bertorelli joined the show in series four but his ridiculous hat and catchy catchphrase when things went bottoms up “what-a mistake-a to make-a” made up for any lost time.
#5 Ooh my dicky ticker
While René was sneaking around with his sexy waitresses Edith was being conspicuously wooed by Belgian undertaker Monsieur Alfonse. But his constant complaints about his weak heart would make one wonder what would happen if he ever bedded her.
#4 It is I, LeClerc!
Resistance forger LeClerc could not fool a blind man with his disguises but always felt that he had fooled his resistance colleagues, and therefore had to reveal his true identity.
#3 Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once
Super secretive French resistance leader Michelle Dubois would remind you of the sensitivity of her information with this oft repeated warning.
#2 Good moaning
Crabtree makes this list a second time for his usual greeting, a bastardisation of French which came off as “good moaning” instead of “good morning”. I still use it in conversation to this day.
#1 You stupid woman
René was an adulterous lecher and would often be caught by his wife Edith in a compromising position with a waitress, either the sultry Yvette, the spitting Maria or the violent dwarf Mimi. But every time he would be caught he would call his wife a stupid woman and concoct some cockamamie story like the waitress in question was choking or helping him screw in a light bulb. René you dirty dog you.
So what is your favourite ‘Allo ‘Allo! catchphrase? And for my Top 10 ‘Allo ‘Allo characters you can click here.