WHEN wartime comedy ’Allo ’Allo invaded our TV screens back in 1982, it wasn’t long before global success followed.
The BBC show ran for 10 years, was translated into countless languages and made international stars out of its cast.
That cast, of course, included Moldgreen actor Gorden Kaye, who made the role of René his own.
Kaye is not in the new version of the show, but a national stage tour to mark the 25th anniversary of the series is proving a real hit with nostalgic theatregoers – as well as attracting a new generation of fans.
And loving every minute of it is actress Vicki Michelle, who is reprising her original role as sexy cafe waitress Yvette Carte-Blanche.
"It’s going brilliantly," enthuses Vicki, enjoying a rare afternoon off at the show’s current pit stop in Inverness.
"We’ve had some fantastic audiences. It’s lovely because as well as getting fans who enjoyed the show the first time around and really follow it, there’s a new generation coming to see us.
"We’re getting a real mix of people. People are treating it as a family occasion and bringing their children and it’s also quite big with university students at the moment.
"The response been just superb – it really is a laugh a second!"
The stage tour, which hits Halifax’s Victoria Theatre on Monday, was revived following the success of a one-off TV episode released to mark the 25th anniversary of the show.
The episode, entitled The Return of ’Allo ’Allo, reunited several of the original cast.
But although she played Yvette in all nine series of the programme and appeared in national and international tours, Vicki reveals she wasn’t sure about donning her waitress’s pinny once again for the tour.
"When I was first offered it I turned it down, it was such an iconic series and I didn’t want anything to detract from it.
"But the producers asked me to go and see the stage production of Dad’s Army and I was so impressed I said ‘If you can do a job like that with ’Allo ’Allo, I’ll do it!’."
Also responsible for persuading Vicki to reprise her sex-bomb character was former Hi-de-Hi star Jeffrey Holland, one of her co-stars in the show.
Jeffrey is playing the hapless French cafe owner René in the role originally played by Huddersfield-born actor Kaye.
Vicki is the only original star of the series appearing on the tour, but says she is in good company with a talented cast who look so much like her former co-stars it’s scary.
She says: "Jeffrey had very big shoes to fill playing René, but he’s absolutely brilliant in the part. He has the same deadpan face and his timing is fantastic!
"The whole cast are a really talented bunch and spookily like the original people. I really felt like I was looking at them when I first started!"
Set in occupied France during World War Two, ’Allo ’Allo follows René and his wife Edith as they struggle to hide a priceless portrait stolen by the Nazis and hidden in a sausage in their cellar.
Adding to René’s woes, the French Resistance force him to aid their persistent attempts to return two bumbling British airmen to England, while at the same time he is trying to keep his long-running affairs with his two waitresses from his wife.
The stage show too contains popular catchphrases like "You stupid woman!", "Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once", "Good moaning!" and Vicki’s own iconic "Ooooh, Renee".
Vicki has enjoyed success as a TV and theatre actress since the show finished, including a recent role in Emmerdale, but says she still has a real fondness for the role and show that made her famous.
She says: "I’m really enjoying playing Yvette again; the role’s second nature to me and really takes me back.
"People have such a fondness for the show, it has an enduring appeal and makes people laugh out loud no matter how old they are.
"I don’t know if I’ll play Yvette again, we’ll have to see what happens after the show – I’ll need a holiday before anything else!"
’Allo ’Allo is on at the Victoria Theatre from Monday to Wednesday.