Wir Waren Vier
Wir Waren Vier is a German-language ITV schools TV series from the 1960s, covering German Language for secondary school pupils.
The everyday adventures of a group of four German friends, told entirely in conversational German to give viewers a taste of the sound and flow of the language, even if they can't catch every word.
The four friends of the title (Wir Waren Vier - We Were Four) are all around 18 years old - Antje celebrates her 18th birthday during the spring term and then prepares to take her driving test. She works in a flower shop and likes the latest trends, dances, and anything American. Her parents live in East Berlin and she is out of touch with them.
Manfred works in his father's garage and dreams of owning a sports car.
Ulrike is a sensible organiser, from Düsseldorf, who works as a secretary to the pompous Herr Bressler in an import-export company.
Günther works as an apprentice bank clerk, loves poetry, and comes across so seriously that his friends call him Herr Professor.
Peripheral characters who appear from episode to episode are generally played by one of two recurring actors. Gordon Sterne plays Ulrike's boss Herr Bressler and reappears as a caretaker, a police officer, the conductor of the Cologne Symphony Orchestra, and later Ulrike's uncle Georg from America.
Meanwhile Michael Wolf appears as various different waiters and another police officer. Other recurring characters are a pair of schoolchildren, Ingrid and Helmut, who meet Günther at the railway station and later come to Antje's birthday party.
Throughout the series the four go on a winter holiday together to Innsbruck, from which Manfred returns on crutches, and rehearse a performance of Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
This series was the second attempt at supporting German school lessons on British television, after ATV's earlier interview series Auf Deutsch. After a couple of years there was one further attempt at supporting German through drama in the 1960s with Karl und Christa before British television left the subject alone for a decade.
|1.||Die Neue Wohnung||21 Sep 1964|
|2.||Die Mädchen wollen einladen||28 Sep 1964|
|3.||Freunde bringen Freude||5 Oct 1964|
|4.||Im Restaurant||12 Oct 1964|
|5.||Vier Spielen Skat||19 Oct 1964|
|6.||Alter guten Dinge sind Drei||26 Oct 1964|
|7.||Russische Eier||9 Nov 1964|
|8.||Das Geld der Welt||16 Nov 1964|
|9.||Ulrike im Büro||23 Nov 1964|
|10.||Weihnachten steht vor der Tür||30 Nov 1964|
|11.||Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen!||18 Jan 1965|
|12.||Manfred im Krankenhaus||25 Jan 1965|
|13.||Der Onkel aus Amerika||1 Feb 1965|
|14.||'Mathematik schwach'||8 Feb 1965|
|15.||Hals und Beinbruch!||15 Feb 1965|
|16.||Antje hat Geburtstag||1 Mar 1965|
|17.||Karneval||8 Mar 1965|
|18.||Die Probe||15 Mar 1965*|
|19.||Leib' und Leid||22 Mar 1965|
|20.||Katastrophe in der Küche||29 Mar 1965|
|21.||Die Jungen sehen fern||3 May 1965*|
|22.||Günthers Geheimnis||10 May 1965|
|23.||Prüfungsproblemes||17 May 1965|
|24.||Wir wollen wandern||24 May 1965|
|25.||Manfred und die neue Welt||31 May 1965|
|26.||Wir nehmen Abschied||14 Jun 1965|
* - Die Probe was previewed as part of an Out of School programme on Thursday 31 December 1964 at 14:05 on ITV
* - Die Jungen sehen fern was previewed as part of an Out of Schools programme on Tuesday 20 April 1965 at 10:50 on ITV
|1964-65||Autumn 1964, Spring & Summer 1965||Mon||11:30||Wed||13:40||Fri||11:35||ITV||Mon & Wed in ATV region only|
|1966-67||Autumn 1966, Spring & Summer 1967||Mon||14:25||Thu||14:40||Fri||11:30||ITV||Thu & Fri in ATV region only|
|Starring||Maria Warburg as Ulrike Hoffmann|
|With||Gordon Sterne as Herr Brauer, Herr Bressler, Wachtmeister Vollmar, Herr Doktor Mayer, Onkel Georg and others|
|Programme adviser||Mary Glasgow|
|Writer||Kenneth S. Whitton|
As well as termly teacher's notes, two children's books based on some of the episodes were published by the company owned by the series adviser Mary Glasgow for sale to a general audience.
Sources & References
- Birmingham Post television listings, 1964-67.
- ITV Schools Annual Programme Guides 1966-67 (Granada edition).
- TV Times television listings, 1964-67.
- Wir Waren Vier teacher's notes, summer 1965.
With thanks to Trevor Wells and Roddy Buxton.
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