Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten

Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (English: Good Times, Bad Times) is a long-running German television soap opera, first broadcast on RTL in 1992. The programme concerns the lives of a fictional neighborhood in Germany's capital city Berlin. Over the years the soap opera tends to have an overhaul of young people in their late teens and early twenties, targeting a young viewership.

Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten
GenreSerial drama
Created byReg Watson
Based onThe Restless Years
Written byJoscha Valentin
Country of originGermany
Original language(s)German
No. of episodes6,649
(as of 30 November 2018)[1]
Production
Producer(s)Marie Hölker
Guido Reinhardt
Rainer Wemcken
Production location(s)Berlin; Potsdam, Germany
Running time25 minutes (without commercial break)
Production company(s)UFA Serial Drama
Release
Original networkRTL
Picture format1080i
(16:9 HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release11 May 1992 (1992-05-11)
Chronology
Related showsGroßstadtträume
Unter Uns
Alles was zählt
External links
Official website (German)

Based on the Australian format The Restless Years, which first was successfully adapted in the Netherlands as Goede tijden, slechte tijden, the German version took the scripts of the first 230 episodes, even though heavily rewritten, from the original. After the first year, Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten started using original material.

The programme started off with low ratings and was panned by critics. However the network believed in the success of the show and by the autumn of 1993, a serial killer storyline helped to improve the ratings, making GZSZ a success. It not only won its time slot but became also one of the highest-rated programmes, normally ranking in the Top 10 ratings of the day. In 2002, the soap opera reached its peak with over seven million viewers turning in for the 2,500th episode.

Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten has tackled with issues like homosexuality, incest, rape, drug addiction, various crimes, breast cancer, bulimia, underage drinking, adoption and mental illnesses.

Frank-Thomas Mende and Lisa Riecken were the last original cast members when leaving the show in 2010. Wolfgang Bahro, who joined the show in February 1993, has become the longest-serving actor on the show since. He is described as having become a cult-like figure among soap opera stars, frequently noticed in public.[2] Other long-serving actors are Daniel Fehlow, who joined the show in 1996 but has since taken several breaks, and Felix von Jascheroff, who's part of the programme since 2001. Ulrike Frank is currently the longest-serving female cast member, being part of the soap opera in her current role since 2002.

GZSZ launched several successful careers in the music industry. The first being original cast member Andreas Elsholz. The most successful ones were Jeanette Biedermann and Yvonne Catterfeld, who both left the soap opera at the peak of their careers.

Production

The idea to establish a daily soap opera in Germany first came in late 1991. Production company Grundy UFA adapted the Australian format The Restless Years from Reg Watson. The programme was successfully launched in the Netherlands one year earlier. Production on the German adaption, officially now called Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten, started on 23 February 1992.[3] The first episode aired almost three months later, on 11 May 1992.

The programme was filmed in a studio in Berlin-Tempelhof for the first three years. In October 1995, production of the show moved to the Filmstudio Babelsberg. This required several set changes. In the beginning it wasn't certain where the show was set. However, in its second year it was established that Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten is set in Berlin. The city has since been used to identify with the format; using several skyline settings in an episode.

Rainer Wemcken and Guido Reinhardt have the primary responsibility over the production, with Marie Hölker controlling the day-to-day production and overseeing the writing of the programme. The writing is controlled by a team of writers who are known to shift between the other Grundy UFA soaps Alles was zählt, Verbotene Liebe and Unter uns. Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten uses a darker setting than the other three soap operas with sets appearing in modern, mostly dark, colors.

Cast

Current cast members

ActorRoleSince
Wolfgang BahroProf. Dr. Dr. Hans-Joachim "Jo" Gerner1993
Daniel FehlowLeon Moreno1996
Felix von JascheroffJohn Bachmann2001
Ulrike FrankKatrin Flemming, née Gabriele "Gabi" Galuba2002
Anne MendenEmily Badak, née Höfer2004
Jörn SchlönvoigtPhilip Höfer2004
Thomas DrechselMax "Tuner" Krüger2009
Clemens LöhrAlexander Cöster #22009
Eva Mona RodekirchenMaren Seefeld2010
Iris Mareike SteenLiljane "Lilly" Seefeld2010
Felix van DeventerJonas Seefeld2014
Valentina PahdeSunny Richter2015
Thaddäus MeilingerFelix Lehmann2016
Niklas OsterlohPaul Wiedmann2016
Chryssanthi KavaziLaura Weber2017
Maria WedigNina Ahrens2017
Maximilian BraunLuis Ahrens2017
Gamze SenolShirin Akinci2017
Olivia MareiAntonia „Toni“ Ahrens2018
Timur ÜlkerNihat Güney2018
Gisa ZachYvonne Bode2019
Nils SchulzRobert Klee2019

Past cast members

ActorRoleInOut
Andrea HöhneClaudia Löpelmann, née Wedemeier #119921992
Bernhard-Heinrich HerzogOswald Löpelmann #119921992
Dirk BorchardtBertram Köhler19921992
Viktoria VoigtDenise Köhler19921992
Matthias HinzePeter Becker #119921992
Christiane ChristianiGerda Becker19921992
Eva ProbstJessica Naumann19921993
Suzanne ZiellenbachLilo Gottschick19921993
Natascha PfeifferMarina Geppert-Richter, née Geppert19921993
Thomas GohlkeKarsten Richter19921993
Marie-Christine HerrigerJulia Backhoff19921993
Johannes BaasnerDr. Frank Ulrich19921993
Fenja RühlBarbara Graf, née Wiebe #119931993
Stephan Meyer-KohlhoffMartin Wiebe #119931993
Mirjam KöferDiana Richter †19931993
Timmo NiesnerTommy Walter †19931993
Andrea-Kathrin LoewigIris Gebauer-Gundlach, née Gebauer19931994
Marcus UlbrichtTobias Gericke †19931994
Michael TrischanJürgen Borchert19931994
Neelesha BarthelManjou Neria19931994
Andreas ArnstedtLukas Haitz19941994
M.O. RüdigerMatthias Zimmermann19931995
Hannelore MinkusBeatrice Zimmermann19931995
Matthias MatzAndré Holm19921995
Dagmar SitteRita Sahmel19941995
Sali LandricinaPeter Becker #219921995
Udo ThiesDr. Michael Gundlach19931995
Andrea HöhneClaudia Löpelmann, née Wedemeier #2 †19931995
Alexander KierschPatrick Graf †19921996
Julia GerkeJennifer Gruber
Jessica Gruber
1994
1994
1996
1996
Victoria SturmCamilla "Milla" Engel19931996
Alexander EisenfeldOliver Engel19941996
Jan SosniokThomas "Tom" Lehmann19941996
Andreas ElsholzHeiko Richter19921996
Saskia ValenciaSaskia Rother19931996
Mey Lan ChaoHarumi Shimiza19931996
Irene NeunerDr. Rebecca Scheele19941996
Denise ZichDaniela Zöllner19951996
Alexandra FinderKim Scheele19951996
Sandra KellerTina Zimmermann, née Ulrich #119921996
Claudia WeiskeElke Opitz-Graf, née Opitz19921997
Angela NeumannVera Richter19921997
Kea KönnekerChristiane "Chrissie" Lehmann †19961997
Norbert HülmRobert König †19951997
Julian ScheunemannKarl-Heinz "Charlie" Fiereck †19931998
Daniel EnzweilerJörg Reuter19961998
Tina BordihnSonja Wiebe #119971998
Anne BrendlerVanessa Richter, adopted Moreno19961998
Inka LoewendorfAstrid Seiter †19971999
Torsten StollFrank Richter19971999
Mona KlareBarbara Graf, née Wiebe #219961999
Alexander SchäferAlexander "Alex" Hinze19971999
Alexandra NeldelKatja Wettstein19961999
Simone HanselmannAnna Meisner19981999
Oliver PetszokatRicky Marquart19981999
Raphael SchneiderAndreas "Andy" Lehmann †19952000
Laurent DanielsPhilip Krüger19972000
Nadine DehmelNataly Jäger19962000
Maren ThurmBarbara Graf, née Wiebe #319992000
Cathrin VaessenFranziska Bohlstädt19992000
Rainer MeifertDr. Jan Wittenberg19982000
Franziska DilgerInka Berent19992001
Jan HartmannChristopher "Chris" Bohlstädt †19992001
Stefanie Julia MöllerCharlotte Bohlstädt19992001
Patrick HarzigPeter Becker #319992002
Tokessa Möller-MartiniusSonja Wiebe #2 †19982002
Tim SanderKai Scholl †19992002
Anna Frenzel-RöhlSandra Ergün, née Lemke #119992002
Rhea HarderFlorentine Spirandelli "Flo Spira" di Montalban19962002
Norman KalleMartin Wiebe #220002002
Hendrik BorgmannMoritz Demand20002002
Mia AegerterXenia di Montalban20002003
Christin BaechlerPatrizia Bachmann, née Biedermann20012003
Peer KusmagkBen Bachmann20022003
Roman RothTim Böcking #120022004
Ralf BensonFabian Moreno19962004
Jeanette BiedermannMarie Balzer19992004
İsmail ŞahinDeniz Ergün †20022005
Raphaël VogtDr. Nico Anton Weimershaus19962005
Yvonne CatterfeldJulia Blum20012005
Dominic BoeerJonas Vossberg20032005
Nina BottCora Hinze19972005
Uta KargelLena Bachmann20042006
Natalie AlisonIsabel Eggert †20032006
Katharina UrsinusCornelia "Nele" Wenzel20052006
Hanne WolharnSenta Lemke, née Biedermann20002007
Klaus-Dieter KlebschJohannes "Hannes" Bachmann †20022007
Stefan KönigSebastian Winter20052007
Robert LyonsVincent Buhr20042007
Jasmin WeberFranziska "Franzi" Reuter †20052008
Maike von BremenSandra Ergün, née Lemke #220022008
Arne StephanMarc Hansen20062008
Josephine SchmidtPaula Rapf20022009
Pete DwojakHenrik Beck20052009
Oliver BenderTim Böcking #220042009
Nik BreidenbachAlexander Cöster #120072009
Hans ChristianiAgamemnon Rufus "A.R." Daniel19922009
Jessica GinkelCaroline "Caro" Neustädter20062009
Alexander BechtLeonard "Lenny" Cöster20072010
Felix IsenbügelCarsten Reimann20082010
Sarah TkotschLucy Cöster20072010
Frank-Thomas MendeClemens Richter19922010
Lisa RieckenElisabeth Meinhart-Richter, née Meinhart19922010
Kristin MeyerIris Cöster20072010
Susan SideropoulosVerena Koch †20012011
Lena EhlersDascha Badak, née Petrova20102012
Samia DauenhauerJacqueline "Jacky" Krüger20122012
Björn HarrasPatrick Gerner, accepted, né Graf20092012
Senta-Sofia DellipontiTanja Seefeld20112013
Sıla ŞahinAyla Höfer, née Özgül #120092014
Raúl RichterDominik Gundlach, adopted, né Felix Löpelmann20072014
Jascha RustZacharias "Zac" Klingenthal20112014
Isabell HornPia Koch20092015
Franziska van der HeideMieke "Mieze" Lutze20132015
Ramona DempseyNele Lehmann20132015
Tayfun BaydarTayfun Badak20082016
Vincent KrügerVincent "Vince" Köpke20112016
Rona ÖzkanSelma Özgül20152016
Philipp ChristopherDavid Brenner20142016
Nadine MenzAyla Höfer, née Özgül #220142016
Merlin LeonhardtTill "Bommel" Kuhn †20122017
Mustafa AlinMesut Yıldız20112017
Elena García GerlachElena Gundlach20132017
Janina UhseJasmin Flemming, accepted, adopted Nowak, née Melanie "Melli" Galuba20082017
Luise von FinckhJuliane "Jule" Vogt20162017
Linda Marlen RungeAndrea "Anni" Brehme20132018
Lea Marlen WoitackSophie Lindh20142019
Eric StehfestChristian "Chris" Lehmann20142019

Spin-off

In 2000, at the peak of the programmes success, RTL wanted to launch a spin-off, called Großstadtträume (City Dreams), of the highest-rated soap opera. Actress Sandra Keller who vacated her popular role as Tina Zimmermann four years earlier was set to return to star in the new format. However negotiations between the network and Keller fell through. The network decided to recast the popular role. Ulrike Frank, who just starred in the canceled Mallorca – Suche nach dem Paradies, was cast. The character of Tina shortly returned to Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten with Frank in the role.

Großstadtträume premiered on 8 May 2000. Next to Ulrike Frank as Tina, the show saw the return of Victoria Sturm as Milla Engel. Laurent Daniels, who played Philip Krüger, switched from GZSZ to its spin-off. The programme was about the launch of a lifestyle print magazine, called POOL. It targeted an older viewership well below the age of twenty.

The network ordered 26 episodes. However the show wasn't a success. After the premiere the ratings dropped dramatically and Großstadtträume was canceled after only seven aired episodes. The programme was never aired again since then.

Parody

In the German comedy series Freitag Nacht News, they had a sketch called Schlechte Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (Bad Times, Bad Times or SZSZ) which was a parody of the soap opera. The sketch featured four men who lived together in an apartment, and suffered from severe depression. In every sketch, they kill each other but often kill themselves. Although three of the characters were unnamed, the fourth person was named Clive, whose face was never seen. He is always shown dead in every sketch, mostly hanging himself.

See also

References

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