10 things you didn't know about 'Allo 'Allo!

The myth about "Klop!", where you can actually view the Fallen Madonna and much more...

10 things you didn't know about 'Allo 'Allo!

David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd's much-loved sitcom spoofed war films and dramas like Secret Army and ran for a massive 9 series and 85 episodes over ten years. Already knew that? Well , here are some fascinating facts you might not know and, yes, we shall say zis only once...

1. The eight-year-old mummy!

Although they played mother and daughter in the show, actresses Rose Hill and Carmen Silvera were only eight years apart in age. Carmen, who played Madame Edith, was 60 when the show started and Rose, who played her mother Madame Fanny La Fan, was 68. And, in fact, Rose Hill eventually outlived her on screen daughter by one year when she died in 2003, following Carmen's death in 2002.

2. I can act jolly squeak prefect Fronch

Officer Crabtree, the British spy posing as a policeman, was constantly mangling the French language, serving up arguably the show's most famous catchphrase, "Good Moaning". Ironically enough though, actor Arthur Bostrom was, and still is, completely fluent in French. Did he do it all through gritted teeth, we wonder...?

3. David Croft said 'goodbye goodbye' before 'Allo 'Allo! ended

Although the show is very much seen as David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd's creation, Croft was not on board for the entire run. After Series 6, he decided to hand over writing duties and Lloyd teamed up with Paul Adam for Series 7-9. The only other writing credits attributed to Paul Adam are two little-known films, one of which is To Catch a Yeti, a 1995 TV movie that finds rock star Meat Loaf befriending a Bigfoot who is lost in a US suburb... which is information that you almost certainly didn't want to know, but now you do.

4. It's a fair "klop!"

Captain Hans Geering (Sam Kelly) is famous for shouting "Klop!" when doing a Nazi salute, except that's not what he's saying at all! Kelly has stated that he felt the character couldn't be bothered saying all of "Heil Hitler!" and just exclaims "-tler!" instead. Of course, on paper, "-tler!" sounds nothing like "Klop!", but if you listen to Geering again armed with this information you can hear it and Kelly himself was forever correcting fans about their misconception.

5. Series 6 could have been Rene's last appearance

Forget the Nazis or a wrathful wife, it was actually the wind that nearly did Rene in. Gorden Kaye was almost killed during an extremely violent UK storm in January 1990 when debris smashed through his car windscreen, leaving the actor requiring emergency brain surgery. It left Gorden with a deep scar on his forehead that is noticeable from Series 7 onwards.

6. Series 5 contains almost a third of the total number of 'Allo 'Allo! episodes

If you're wondering why every series of 'Allo 'Allo! usually has between 6-8 episodes but Series 5 has a whopping 26, it was done to try and get America interested in the show. As US viewers are used to long seasons rather than short series, the usual episode tally had to be tripled - remarkably, though, Croft and Lloyd still managed to pen all of the episodes apart from two. Unfortunately, the show failed to take off, although it did win a cult following years later.

7. The 'Allo 'Allo! stage show ran as long as the TV show

In 1986, Croft and Lloyd adapted their hit sitcom into a touring stage show featuring most of the TV cast. With three runs in London, as well as international tours, the show kept going until 1992 when the TV series ended. But, if you include a revival for a summer season in Bournemouth in 1996, that makes a run of ten years - exactly the same amount of time 'Allo 'Allo! was on the telly.

8. Write the theme tune, sing the theme tune

Unusually for a David Croft production, 'Allo 'Allo! had theme music rather than a sung theme tune. The gentle accordion-based melody was written by Croft with Roy Moore but lyrics were added when actress Carmen Silvera decided to release it as a single in the 1980s. In the show, of course, Edith is a ferociously tuneless cabaret performer - Carmen herself delivers a more respectable performance but a glittering career as a pop diva was probably never on the cards.

9. Rene the rock star

Carmen Silvera wasn't the only one to release a song tied to the show - in 1986, Gorden Kaye and Vicki Michelle recorded a version of the erotic French pop ditty 'Je t'aime... moi non plus' - you know, the one with Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg whispering lustily over a catchy organ riff. In a radical reimagining of the 1960s classic, René and Yvette whisper lustily over a catchy organ riff, albeit in a slightly more comical manner. Hopes of a pop career were no doubt abandoned when the single peaked at No 57 on the UK charts.

10. You can view The Fallen Madonna at Longleat House

The most famous of all the sought-after treasures in 'Allo 'Allo! has to be The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by the fictional painter van Klomp. The coveted painting, often hidden in large sausages, was such an emblem of the show that the late Lord Bath - a huge 'Allo 'Allo! fan - had a specially commissioned copy hung alongside Old Masters at Longleat House, his ancestral home. You can still see it today, so what are you waiting for?