Tuesday, 22 November 2011

All aboard the Euro-visions express (Part Two)

So after a stop off in Spain we are ready to start our journey again in Germany, now you might think that Germany and light entertainment don't go together as bedfellows but strangely they do. With their love for Monty Python and associated shows which have been shown on various channels through out Germany, but more about trans-european shows later...
Though first of all when Robin Blamires tweeted me in response to Part One, he reminded that Noel's House Party made it to Germany for a short while. In 1994, a Germanic version broadcast on Sat. 1 presented by Thomas Gottschalk. Gottschalk himself had been on a similar career path to Noel Edmonds, radio presenter playing pop music but also he had done a entertainment show called 'Na Sowas!' which I referered to in part one. 'Na Sowas!' or roughly translated 'Well Something Like That!" was in style very like The Late Late Breakfast show. So the comparisons are there between Gottschalk and Edmonds, in which the love of live television has seen them both encompassing live stunts into their shows.
Since 1981 there has been one show which has maintained its place as Germany's number one entertainment show and that is 'Wetten Dass!' or as when it came to these shores 'You Bet!' Its format runs the same as the latter but it is live with the addition of music acts to allow the grand sets needed to be set up ready for each of the challenges. The original host and creator Frank Elsner presented the show up until 1987 when Gottschalk took over the show for five years, but took time out between late 1992 and the late 1993 and handing the show over to Wolfgang Lippert. Though Lippert only presented nine editions during this period, Gottschalk came back to present and he has stayed there ever since. But following an accident nearly one year ago which left a man a quadriplegic when one of the challenges went wrong and the show was pulled off air with Gottschalk unable to continue, he made the decision to leave the show at the end of the 2011 series on the 3rd of December because he felt he had to leave.

Gottschalk's place as Germany's number one entertainment host has been has been assured, so if you can get to see that final edition with Gottschalk of Wetten Dass on 3rd December it will be worth it for a man who has transcended his television career by even appearing in Sister Act 2, as part of Whoopi Goldberg losing a bet on the show.

Thomas Gottschalk not betting on the original host appearing...

As we move on from Germany, we enter Switzerland. Why Switzerland, what programme has come from Switzerland? Though a few have gone there... Switzerland, the home of the Golden Rose of Montreux... Through out television, the Golden Rose has been the standard for quality entertainment throughout Europe since 1961 and now takes places in Lucerne since 2004, but this was the prize all producers wanted to achieve whichever channel they were from. Over the years, Britain has had great success winning the Golden Rose and even in some years winning the silver one as well. 

From 1961 when The Black and White Minstrels won the Golden Rose through to 2003 when reality television had come into its element with Faking It winning for Channel 4. Its has been an honour to win the prize with performers of real quality taking the honour people such as Sir David Frost, Marty Feldman, Lenny Henry, The League of Gentlemen and also Kermit the Frog as well. The wide range of programming shows the depth of the British entertainment television industry between these dates with game shows, satirical shows and big entertainment spectaculars providing the winners. In 1972 when Marty Feldman's Comedy Machine won for ATV, the runner-up was The Goodies of which Tim Brook-Taylor found himself in the odd position of both writing for Feldman but also writing and performing with Bill Oddie and Graham Garden as well. Some of the shows which have won the prize have never been seen by British audiences, but in their special ways they show the best that each country has to offer for themselves. With even the prize going across the Atlantic with shows from the United States and Canada winning on many occasions, this shows that the Rose d'Or has the prestige to be able to break down barriers between American and European television.

"And now for something different... and rare.."

As such since 2004 with the categories being separated into component parts such as Arts and Specials, Music, Sitcom, Variety and even giving a prize to the best pilot programme in that year. There have been winners throughout the intervening years such as Peter Serafinowicz, The Inbetweeners, The Vicar of Dibley etc. It seems diluted as an award, though that maybe with the proliferation of some many channels out there. But if Benidorm Bastards or I Survived a Japanese Game Show makes it to air over which could be a possibility then who knows what might happen to the next generations of shows. 

From Switzerland via the medium of a huge rubber band, we are back here in the UK again. So thanks to our European cousins, shows have come over to us and we have sent shows to them. Showing surely the universal language is television and over borders come ideas, new thrills and the chance for performers to been seen in many countries as they can. But for the Gold Standard, they are all trying to achieve at the same time and that, that in itself is just special...

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