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When Rover met BMW

10 months ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


15 August 2023

Google When Rover Met BMW and the mighty search engine lists this five-part series first broadcast in the winter of 1996 as ‘a comedy show’. I doubt it will have seemed that way for the Rover managers involved in the launch of one of the most important-ever cars for the Viking-badged car maker – more tragedy than comedy in fact.

I was there at the launch, but not in the way you might think, so read on…

The BBC series was very much a product of its time, jokey and irreverent, casting Rover staff as bumbling, well-meaning West Midlanders and BMW staff as cold, aristocratic businessmen. Think Dad’s Army on four wheels. You get the idea from the opening credits as a piano picks out Isham Jones and Gus Kahn’s It Had To Be You (used in the movie When Harry Met Sally), then quickly segues into Matt Monro singing Quincy Jones’s On Days Like These, which of course is the famed opening theme of The Italian Job.

And if you didn’t get the comedic twist by then, the programme titles were as subtle as a pie dispatched with full force direct to the mazard: Don’t Mention The War; Identity Crisis; A Job For Life; Bonding; and Undercover Operations.

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