Lost in translation? 7 of the most bizarre foreign television remakes

From Turkish Desperate Housewives to Indian Yes Minister and Colombian Breaking Bad, we chart the highs and lows of foreign language remakes

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We spend a lot of time harping on about the American obsession with putting their own stamp on foreign programmes – Broadchurch, The Killing, Gavin & Stacey (I could go on…) – but they’re not the only culprits. Oh, no. Did you know Desperate Housewives has a Turkish reincarnation? And Walter White has become Walter Blanco in Colombian Breaking Bad? Here are some of the best (well, the funniest) foreign television remakes…

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The POLISH Everybody Loves Raymond

Everybody Loves, er, Roman, according to Poland. Except they didn’t, apparently, after poor ratings meant the show was suspsended after just four episodes. A visit to Wszyscy kochaja Romana’s lonely-looking Wikipedia page supplies the ominous statement: “We looking new timeslot for the series,” from a channel spokesman. And poor Roman has had even more tough luck overseas, with original showrunner Philip Rosenthal making an entire documentary, Exporting Raymond, out of his troubled efforts to launch a Russian remake. 


The TURKISH OC 

Meet dishy bad boy Yaman Koper – he’s from the wrong side of the tracks, taken in by a wealthy family living in a glamorous coastal location. It all sounds rather OC, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because this Turkish remake is based entirely upon Ryan, Marissa and their turbulent four series in Orange County. Medcezir (or The Tide in English) has sun, sea and a lot of good looking people stealing loaded glances or gazing sullenly into the distance. It’s all a wee bit too telenovela for our liking – let’s hope the Turks have an appetite for melodrama… 


The INDIAN Yes Minister

Some would argue that the success of Yes Minister was reliant on satirising the machinations of British government, but that didn’t stop Indian network Star from putting their own spin on the 80s hit. Ji Mantriji starred Farooque Sheikh as Jim Hacker’s Indian reincarnation, Suryaprakash Singh, while Jayant Kripalani played his right hand man, Rajnath Mathur (that’ll be Sir Humphrey). Sadly, Indian audiences weren’t buying it and studio bosses decided it was No Minister, canning it after just one series. 


The TURKISH Desperate Housewives

Now that the Americans have decided they’ve had enough of Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Housewives can be found at a number of new addresses, from Argentina to Colombia, but none have proved more popular than Istanbul’s Gul Street. Susan, Bree, Lynette and Gabrielle have morphed into Yasemin, Nermin, Elif and Zelis for Turkish remake Umutsuz Ev Kadınları (or Desperate Women) and the quartet are proving as popular as ever over in the Middle East…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2R6o0tUZYo


The COLOMBIAN Breaking Bad 

Walter White has barely departed our screens and already a Spanish language remake is being cooked up. Walter Blanco teams up with Jose (Colombia’s very own Jesse Pinkman) as he once again attempts to conceal his dealings from wife Cielo (or Skylar) and brother-in-law Henry Navarro (Hank). The first picture from Metastasis confirms the specs and white underpants are back – but the bashed-up RV has been replaced by a ramshackle old school bus to suit the show’s new audience (apparently RVs aren’t a thing in South America…)



The FRENCH Office 

… Or Le Bureau, as it was termed. David Brent’s smarmy beard shrunk to a skinny strip of facial hair on office manager Gilles Triquet’s chin for this French interpretation set in the drab(ish) offices of Cogirep. But sadly Ricky Gervais’s replacement, François Berléand, didn’t quite have the dancing skills to pull off Brent and the show was handed its “au revoir” after just one series. 


The GERMAN IT Crowd

The curiously titled Das iTeam: Die Jungs an der Maus (The iTeam: The Boys at the Mouse) is not Apple’s latest product, but an ill-advised German remake of Moss and Roy’s computer support team. While the American version never made it on air, this 2007 attempt starring Sky du Mont, Sebastian Munster, Stefan Puntigam and Britta Horn  managed an impressive two episodes before it was pulled. 



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