A decade and a half after Auf Wiedersehen, Pet made Oz, Barry, Neville and Dennis household names, the cast are reuniting for a new series to be screened by the BBC next year.



The band of brickies, whose friendship was cemented on construction sites in Germany at the height of Thatcherite unemployment, are seen coming together for one last job.



Barry (Timothy Spall) now drives a Bentley. Dennis (Tim Healy) drives a taxi. Marriages have come and gone.



They journey for the reunion from their homes in places as diverse as Middlesbrough and Arizona.

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In a script by the series' original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, the gang is augmented by newcomer Noel Clarke, in place of Gary Holton, who died in 1985.



"The timing seems absolutely right for the return of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet," said Jane Tranter, the BBC's controller of drama commissioning.



"The fact that the original team have embraced it so enthusiastically demonstrates the power that the show still has to excite people.



"It's moved on, in spirit and in time, and the maturity of the characters has brought a new edge and humour to the storytelling."



Only two series were made of the original show, which became one of the biggest small-screen hits of the 1980s.



Nearly all the cast have since gone on to greater fame. Kevin Whately starred as Sergeant Lewis in the Inspector Morse series, while Jimmy Nail embarked on a successful singing and television career.



Their busy schedules have thwarted previous attempts to revive the series.



But Franc Roddam, its creator, persuaded the writers to pick up the story, and space was finally created in the actors' diaries to allow filming to start next week.



The series will be made in London, Middlesbrough and the United States over the next four months.



The revival of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is part of a trend towards plundering the back-catalogue for audience-winning ideas. ITV is remaking The Forsyte Saga, which was a big hit for the BBC in the 1960s.



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