Decades-old ‘Tatort’ a much awaited German TV series

Updated 08 December 2013
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Decades-old ‘Tatort’ a much awaited German TV series

Another Sunday evening, another crime. More than 10 million Germans regularly tune in for the hit TV drama “Tatort” whose popularity with its down-to-earth plots spanning the country has endured for more than four decades.
Unlike many an American cop show, “Tatort” (Crime Scene) does not go in for story lines packed with blood and gore.
Nor, unusually, has the weekly 90-minute show updated its opening sequence — a dated blue and white target set to a haltering theme tune — since its November 1970 launch.
But its success in Germany is unrivalled; its formulaic approach beloved.
“It’s a great Sunday evening activity,” enthuses 22-year-old Jan Bueltermann, taking a chair upfront at Volksbar, one of dozens of spots in Berlin where fans congregate on Sundays at 8:15 p.m. to watch what many consider a cult show.
As a child he had little choice but to fall in with his family’s tradition of watching the series on its only television set. Nowadays, the apprentice watches it out of his own free will.
Marita Gelbe-Kruse, 55, who has taken time out from visiting Berlin to watch the 887th episode of “Tatort” at the bar with her 25-year-old son, Simon, agrees that it’s a ritual that brings family together.
“It’s a mother-son point in common, a thing we can do together,” she told AFP.
Produced by Germany’s public ARD TV channel and its regional branches, “Tatort” alternately portrays about 20 police chiefs or their teams from different German cities, as well as from German-speaking Switzerland and Austria, in their hunt for the perpetrators of a crime.
With cities such as Munich, Bremen, Leipzig or Stuttgart taking it in turns to set the stage and even regional accents playing a role, the show holds back on violence, doesn’t much ponder on the private lives of its hero investigators and aims for realism.
“The series is forged on Germany’s federalism,” Stefan Scherer, literature professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology said.
While some of the show’s police inspectors have been catapulted into cultural icons, such as Horst Schimanski, played by actor Goetz George, Scherer said the principle behind “Tatort” was the ability to replace ageing police inspectors and switch cities.
“One can always create new episodes,” he said.
The “Tatort” phenomenon has also been the subject of a study.
Political monthly magazine Cicero last year quoted Dennis Graef from Passau University in southern Germany, who published a study on “Tatort,” as describing it as a “secular mass.”
If the scenery and characters change each week, the format remains tried and tested — an opening scene, the discovery of a body, investigators arrive, the obvious suspect turns out not to be guilty and a last-minute arrest.
Next morning comes the verdict. Some 10.7 million viewers, or around one in eight Germans, watched the Nov. 24 episode.
Audiences of “Tatort“and its former East German equivalent “Polizeiruf 110,” which still sometimes takes a turn in the same time slot, can reach up to 12 million when Til Schweiger — an actor known to international audiences from Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” — assumes his police inspector’s role in the northern port city of Hamburg.

For Berliner Andreas Klaffke, 54, the show is more than just a routine. “It’s a bit like a mirror of Germany, a mirror of society and that speaks to people,” he commented.
It reflects current and social affairs too, delving into issues such as the trauma of returning soldiers from Afghanistan, rising rents or secret bank accounts in Switzerland. The series rivals the weather for Monday morning small talk at the office coffee machine.
But, while German crime drama “Derrick” has been broadcast in several other countries, “Tatort” has made fewer inroads abroad.
“It must be very German somehow,” Bueltermann said.


Brazil breathes sigh of relief over Neymar's hairdo change

Neymar's hair is the talk of Brazil. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Brazil breathes sigh of relief over Neymar's hairdo change

  • The look sent Brazilian social media’s ruthless meme machine into overdrive, juxtaposing Neymar alongside everything from a lookalike llama to the contents of a Pot Noodle or a packet of angel hair pasta

RIO DE JANEIRO: Neymar is famous for his stepovers, but it was his World Cup hair do-over that really got Brazilians talking Tuesday.
The world’s most expensive footballer was underwhelming in Brazil’s 1-1 World Cup opener against Switzerland on Sunday.
His coif, however, featuring shaved sides and a blond-dyed mop at the front, was unmissable.
The look sent Brazilian social media’s ruthless meme machine into overdrive, juxtaposing Neymar alongside everything from a lookalike llama to the contents of a Pot Noodle or a packet of angel hair pasta.
“The Brazilian star went onto the field disguised as a cockatoo,” the Meia Hora tabloid wrote on its front page.
Many questioned, in all seriousness, whether Neymar hadn’t been put off his game by thinking too much about his hair.
So there was national relief when the superstar was photographed at the team’s Sochi base with the offending noodles-feathers part of his hair snipped off.
“After criticisms, Neymar gets rid of his controversial haircut,” the celebrity news site popzone.tv wrote.
“It could be superstition or just coincidence, but Neymar has decided to change his look again after the 1-1 draw,” the leading globoesporte site said.
But there could be more surprises to come.
Estadao newspaper reported that Neymar brought two hairdressers with him to Russia: Nariko, who does the cutting, and Wagner Tenorio, who handles the coloring.