The classic 80s sit-com ’Allo ’Allo comes to Bolton Little Theatre (BLT) next week as an experienced cast brings René, Edith and the gang to life on their main stage.

“It’s a very well written comedy really," said director Richard Leigh, “So many TV adaptations are just series of episodes strung together – but this is the purpose written stage play which Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft wrote for the original cast and that they toured with during the 1990s.”

The story sees René trying to hide a priceless painting in his cellar for both the German Town Commandant and the Gestapo ­— so clearly one of them is going to be disappointed. It’s hidden inside a knockwurst sausage hanging in René’s cellar – although he secretly plans to outwit both of them by replacing it with a forgery and selling it himself after the war.

“René is trying to keep everyone happy and save his own skin into the bargain.” said Simon Mott who takes on the role of the hapless café owner.

Simon is a seasoned performer and director at the theatre, although he admits: “I don’t think I’ve had to do a French accent on stage before – still, there’s a first time for everything.”

Despite it being a very experienced cast, there are several new faces for BLT audiences including Mark Weatherall as ‘LeClerc’, Ashley Hambrook as ‘Gruber’ and Paul Ward as ‘General von Schmelling’.

The newest face though is Ania Pankiewicz who takes on the role of ‘Yvette’, one of René’s waitresses.

Ania can normally be found behind the camera lens as the theatre’s production photographer ­— it’s her superb cast portraits audiences see in the bar at each play ­— but this time she has been unable to resist the temptation to step into the limelight herself.

“ ’Allo ’Allo was really popular in Poland when I was growing up,” she said, “So when I saw BLT were staging I didn’t want to pass up the chance to play my favourite character.”

And in fact virtually everyone’s favourite characters are re-introduced in this production including René’s tone-deaf wife ‘Edith’ played by Catherine Henderson, diminutive waitress ‘Mimi’ played by Nicola Bateson, the stoney-faced ‘Herr Flick’ played by Joel Cheetham and ‘Helga’ played by Judith Leigh.

“My character has the honour of having the show’s iconic catch-phrase,” notes Sue Mallett who takes on the role of ‘Michelle of the Resistance’.

Sue has already appeared twice on stage this season but was delighted to honour her commitment to complete the season with ’Allo ’Allo.

She said: “I first auditioned for the part in 2019 which seems like an age ago now.”

“That’s right,” explains Richard, “we first intended staging the show in 2020 but it was cancelled because of Covid. It was rescheduled to open last season, but again had to be postponed following the untimely death of our friend and fellow cast member Kev Walsh who was to play René, so this is the third time we’ve tried putting on this extremely funny play.”

And staging the production this time round certainly hasn’t been plain sailing admits Richard.

He said: “With such a long time between original casting and opening night it was inevitable we were going to lose some of the original cast, but I didn’t expect to have to re-cast quite as many as I have.”

In fact Richard has had to step in to play one of the characters himself.

“The actor who was cast as the Italian Captain Bertorelli was cast in another play and couldn’t commit to the new rehearsal times,” he said, “So since I’d played the part before I just thought it easier to step in myself and do it. But acting and directing at the same time isn’t particularly easy – as I’ve found out! But we’ve got there in the end – and it’s been a real team effort.”

’Allo ’Allo runs from Monday,June 24 to Saturday, June 29th at 7:30 pm at Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4TG. For tickets visit or ring 01204 524469.