Sunday, December 6, 2015

Have a cigar

This week finds Imagine Editor and Presenter Alan Yentob in Cuba, following dancer Carlos Acosta.

Alan nearly got there before for Auntie: This is the BBC's own story of the generation of series 4 of Auf Weidersehen, Pet, starting in the summer of 2001.

"We were all in Arizona whilst filming the last series," said writer Dick Clement, "and we had an evening in a bar with Alan Yentob (BBC Director of Drama, Entertainment and Children's) who had flown out to see us filming. [As you do...]

"Euphoria was high as everything seemed to be going well and the vibe for the series was really good so when Yentob jokingly asked 'where's the next one then?', Ian [La Frenais] glibly replied 'Cuba' - but with no thought in his head of how we'd make it work!" 

Executive producer, Franc Roddam [London base: next Notting Hill crescent to the Yentobs] agrees: "Once Arizona was complete we did start kicking ideas around. We considered Australia but felt that it was too like America and we thought about Spain as it's a big working class destination. 

"But I think Cuba really intrigues people as the last socialist society; people admire Fidel and Che Guevara."

Sadly, Cuba refused filming permits - so they ended up in the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2003, pretending it was Cuba.

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