This week I am taking you back to one of my favourite television series, 'Allo 'Allo!, of which 85 episodes were produced between 1982 to 1992, a number of which were shot at the BBC Elstree Centre.

That was lucky for me as it gave me an excuse to stage a tribute evening to the programme for local residents to which people came dressed as characters from the show. I attended dressed as a German officer, which I guess would a big no-no today. I invited Gorden Kaye, who starred as the cafe owner Rene, reluctant hero of the Resistance, and Carmen Silvera, who played his long suffering wife. They were great and joined in the fun.

We had a small band made up of senior citizens who were more eager than talented. I asked Carmen if she would sing us a song . She was actually a good singer but her character always sang badly and she agreed to sing in character. Unbeknown to her, the band were also off key, which threw her for a few seconds but she coped admirably.

Gordon sadly died in 2017 having been suffering from dementia and Carmen passed away from lung cancer in 2002, aged 86.

What happened to the rest of the cast? Well, here is a quick run down: Vicki Michelle, who played Yvette, is still very busy. It is always a pleasure to meet her and she never seems to age. Kim Hartman, alias Private Helga, went on to appear in Grange Hill but sadly Richard Marner, who played the German Colonel Kurt Von Strohm, died in 2004.

Kirsten Cooke, who played Michelle, I have not seen on television for many years, nor Richard Gibson who played Herr Flick.He was replaced by David Janson in the last series. John Louis Mansi, who played his sidekick Von Smallhausen, died from lung cancer in 2010. Sadly Hilary Minster, who played the general, died from cancer aged just 55. Guy Siner, who played Lieutenant Gruber, continues to enjoy a successful career.

Arthur Bostrom, aka Officer Crabtree, continues with his career and ironically in real life is a fluent French speaker. Alas, Jack Haig died during the making of the series in 1989. You may recall him as Leclerc. Rose Hill, who played Fanny La Fan, died aged 89 in the same retirement home as Carmen. In her youth she was an opera singer.

We all remember Kenneth Connor from the Carry On movies but I equally recall him as the Undertaker Alphonse with the dicky heart. In his private life I am told he suffered from depression. He died from cancer just after the series ended.

To the best of my knowledge Sue Hodge, who played Mimi, and the two RAF officers John Collins and Nicholas Frankau are alive and well.

The BBC took a big gamble on the format of 'Allo 'Allo!, which sent up the French, the Germans and the British. It proved a big success, apparently selling to 82 countries. We seem to be losing that ability to laugh at ourselves nowadays surrounded by the politically correct brigade looking to be offended. Or perhaps we were unthinking 30 plus years ago laughing at the Carry On films and such television series. I suspect we are just moving into changing tastes as to what is funny. I would like to plan a reunion of the surviving cast members, inviting members of the public to attend dressed in suitable costumes. It might be nice to invite guests from our French and German twin towns. Just an idea.

Until next time, I will say this only once. Carry on regardless.