Reuniting Auf Wiedersehen, Pet cast

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STARS of an iconic TV series are reuniting after three decades thanks to a Wearside fan.

After saying “ta’ra for a bit”, actors from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet are set to come together for a 30th anniversary celebration.

Lifelong fan David Gardener, from Hetton, dreamt up the sell-out event, which kicks off today with a themed treasure hunt around Newcastle and Gateshead pubs.

Tomorrow, there will be a screening at the Tyneside Cinema, where fans can vote to see their favourite episode, followed by a ‘Brickies’ Banquet’ at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton hotel.

Fans will also have the chance to pose questions to the show’s writers, Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, and its creator, Franc Roddam.

The show, which followed the exploits of a group of migrant construction workers from the North East, struck a chord with David, who delivered wages for a building company in the 1980s.

Thirty years on, David and fellow fan Lee Barratt, from Blackburn, who together run the Official Auf Wiedersehen Pet fan site, thought about how they could celebrate the landmark anniversary of the show.

David said: “Although Lee and I know a lot about the show, we needed more advice and support about how to run a convention.

“We contacted the Sunday For Sammy Trust and spoke to former Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw and his Tyne Idols business partner Paul Irwin, who put together an organising committee to move the event forward.”

All profits from the convention will be donated to the Sunday for Sammy Trust, which supports aspiring young performers and was set up in memory of actor Sammy Johnson.

Ray, who is also administrator for the charity, said: “In the great tradition of the Sunday for Sammy concerts, we are keeping attendees, running orders and the content very close to our chests.

“This adds to the excitement on the night and I’m sure most people will see this as an added bonus.

“We’ve a major exhibition of Auf Wiedersehen Pet memorabilia for people to see, including scripts, costumes and other props, a lovely meal and some fine entertainment.

“Although the dress code is casual, we’d like people to follow the lead of the lads themselves, just like when they went out for the night in their best bib and tucker.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean suits, but because of the importance of this event for the fans, cast and writers, we’d rather no one wears jeans or trainers.”

Ray added that award-winning director Geoff Wonfor would be filming at the event, so guests would be asked to switch their mobiles off and keep movement around the room to a minimum when the cameras are rolling.

More information can be found at www.auf-pet.com/convention.html