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Officer Crabtree is a fictional character in the BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, which ran from 1982 to 1992; he was played by actor Arthur Bostrom.

In The Return of 'Allo 'Allo!, it was revealed that the character was partly based upon Edward Heath, who spoke fluent Frenchmarker, but with an obviously Englishmarker accent.

Character overview

The character is an undercover British agent masquerading as a gendarme. His grasp of French is limited however, and this is represented on screen by his mangling of vowels for comic effect. Crabtree is occasionally heard speaking his maternal English, mostly when speaking to Fairfax and Carstairs. His bad French also seems to be contagious as several French characters (particularly Madame Edith) end up speaking like him without realising it after hearing him talk. It is also of note that others, especially lead character René, will use his mangled French to insult him, such as in "Pass off" (for "Piss off").

A running gag throughout the series is that, when any of the other characters meet British officers (even Fairfax and Carstairs on one occasion, when they were to be disguised as gendarmes) their French is just the same as Crabtree's.

After the character's introduction, various episodes were named in this talking manners (e.g. "Up the Crick Without a Piddle" for "Up the Creek without a Paddle" in Season 7).

Examples of language

  • "Gid Moaning" for "Good Morning" (his catchphrase);
  • "I was pissing by the door, when I heard two shats. You are holding in your hand a smoking goon; you are clearly the guilty potty." for "I was passing by the door, when I heard two shots. You are holding in your hand a smoking gun; you are clearly the guilty party.";
  • "Do you have the long-distance dick?" for "Do you have the long-distance duck?";
  • "And who is peeing for the ponsoir?" for "And who is paying for the pissoire?" after it was damaged by an overriding tank;
  • "It is a dick night" for "It is a dark night";
  • "Half pissed sox" for "Half past six" ;
  • "Will you please stop bonging the bill" for "Will you please stop banging the bell";
  • "I have good nose" for "I have good news";
  • "I will go out the bock pissage" for "I will go out the back passage";
  • "I thonk it would be woose if we all left tin" for "I think it would be wise if we all left town";
  • "Too loot, the bummer is already on the wee" for "Too late, the bomber is already on the way";
  • "I have a mop if you would like to take a leak" for "I have a map if you would like to take a look";
  • "I have the two British earmen in the sill at the poloce station, I will return them to you as soon as pissable" for "I have the two British airmen in the cell at the police station, I will return them to you as soon as possible";
  • "Do not weary, Ronnie" for "Do not worry, René";
  • "I have come to collect my bersicle - René asks "What bersicle?" - "The bersicle that produces the electrocity for the roodio when you piddle in your wife's mothers' bedroom" for "I have come to collect my bicycle. The bicycle that produces the electricity for the radio when you pedal in your wife's mothers' bedroom";
  • She's as possed as a newt" meaning "She's as pissed as a newt" Referring to René's mother-in-law.


One of his only lines that received almost no garbling produced one of his longest laughs:
  • "They will take this spinner (spanner) and unscrew their nuts.";
  • "I was wonking at you!" for "I was winking at you!";
  • "The British Air Farce have dropped their bums on the water works..They have scored a direct hot on the pimps" for "...a direct hit on the pumps";
  • "You must get your hands on some girls' knockers" (knickers);
  • "There's obviously no piss for the wicked".
  • "Can you not see me wanking?" for "Can you not see me winking?"



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