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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Auf Wiedersehen Pet is ratings hit
Auf  Wiedersehen Pet
All but one of the original cast have reunited
Cult comedy Auf Wiedersehen Pet has made a triumphant return to the small screen with nearly 12 million viewers tuning into the first show of the revived series on BBC One.

A massive publicity drive appears to have worked as 47% of the television audience tuned in to see what had happened to the fictional building team after a 16-year break.

All but the late Gary Holton, who played Wayne, have been reunited in the new series, which sees the men jet off to Arizona.

The cast back then were largely unknown actors but the likes of Timothy Spall, Jimmy Nail and Kevin Whately have gone on to become big TV successes.

The Forsyte Saga
The Forsyte Saga has transferred from the BBC to ITV1

Auf Wiedersehen Pet beat its ITV1 rival Forsyte Saga which attracted 6.1 million viewers in its 2100 BST time slot on Sunday, according to unofficial figures.

The network had been hoping the period drama would create the same excitement as the original 1960s series, when it became essential viewing and was one of the most talked about programmes of its time.

The new adaptation attracted nine million viewers its first week, but this has slipped to between 7.7 million viewers and 6.1 million viewers in recent weeks.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet started life in the 1980s over on ITV, where it became a firm favourite.

It was the BBC which took the decision to commission original writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to resurrect it.

Coincidentally, the Forsyte Saga was a BBC success in the 60s but it is now an ITV1 show.

Channel 4's political drama The West Wing, pulled in 1.1m viewers in the same time slot, a 5.9% share of the potential audience.

See also:

29 Jun 01 | Wales
Forsyte Saga role for Gruffudd
28 Apr 02 | Reviews
Revived Pet lives off its past
27 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Pet boys fête TV return
13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Cameras roll for new Auf Wiedersehen
04 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
BBC revives classic sitcoms
14 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
BBC showcases classic drama
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