The German Programme: Wie Sagt Man...?

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started3rd Nov 1980
ended1st Dec 1980
last rpt11th Feb 1983
3 school years
duration20 mins
age rangeSecondaryAge 11-13 & Age 13-16
languagede/enIn German & In English
German Programme Wie Sagt Man title 1.jpg

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Wie Sagt Man...? is a unit of the ITV Schools series The German Programme from the 1980s, covering German language for Secondary pupils.

Five clearly structured programmes supporting pupils preparing for their German language exams, and especially the oral part of the exams.

The German presenter Irmgard Meyer talks to viewers in English and speaks German to others in the programmes. Each episode has four distinct sections which are announced as they begin:

  • First a conversation between German people in a situation such as shopping or buying tickets in a travel agency.
  • Second an analysis in English of some of the language used in the conversation, showing sentence construction on screen.
  • Third a mock oral exam in which Irmgard asks questions of an English student, they attempt to answer, and their answers are analysed afterwards
  • Finally the same questions from the oral exam are asked in vox pops of real German people.
Irmgard explaining how to deal with German oral exams

The programmes were modelled closely on Thames Television's successful series Comment Dit-On...? for French students of a few years earlier, and the Germany-set sections were recorded in Hamelin Violet-marker.png in the early summer of 1980[1].

Episode List

# Title Broadcast
1. In der Stadt #1980-11-03-00-00-003 Nov 1980
2. Bei Bekannten #1980-11-10-00-00-0010 Nov 1980
3. Einkaufen #1980-11-17-00-00-0017 Nov 1980
4. Im Café #1980-11-24-00-00-0024 Nov 1980
5. Auf dem Bahnhof #1980-12-01-00-00-001 Dec 1980


Year Term Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Channel Details
1980-81 Autumn 1980 Monday, 10:40am Friday, 10:15am ITV
Summer 1981 Friday, 9:30am ITV
1981-82 Spring 1982 Tuesday, 11:39am Wednesday, 10:16am ITV
1982-83 Spring 1983 Tuesday, 11:39am Friday, 10:35am ITV


Presenter Irmgard Meyer
Series development Gisela Cumming
Graphics John Stamp
Education Officer Mary Law
Director & Producer Tony Davenall


Teacher's Notes

A teacher's booklet initially cost 83p in 1980.

A revised version was issued the following year, after the programmes had been made, containing transcripts of the German sections of each programme, for £1, and by 1983 the price rose to £1.25.


Thames Television International released the unit on VHS video around 1986, priced £25 plus VAT[2].

Sources & references

  • Davenall, A.M. (1980) 'Making Programmes' in British Journal of Language Teaching volume 9, number 2 & 3, autumn 1980. pp.115-119
  • ITV Schools Annual Programme Guides 1980-83.
  • Thames TV (1986) advertisement in Times Educational Supplement issue 3670, 31 October 1986. p.34
  • TV Times listings, 1980-83. London: BBC.
  1. Davenall (1980) says "I write on the eve of our departure for Germany to film our first German language programme - Wie sagt man...? - which is to be modelled on Comment dit-on ...?
  2. Video release details according to Thames TV (1986)


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