Bio's train station
|Original title||Bio's train station|
|Country of production||Federal Republic of Germany|
|about 6 times a year|
|Director||Alexander Arnz or Horst Deuter|
|First broadcast||February 9, 1978 on ARD ( WDR )|
Bio's Bahnhof was a music show presented by Alfred Biolek on German television from 1978 to 1982 . Its specialty was on the one hand that it took place in a former railroad depot, and on the other hand that serious and light music occurred together.
Bio's Bahnhof always ran on a Thursday evening from 9 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
Alfred Biolek wanted to do something different - not something better - than the existing music shows such as the Star Parade . This affected both the venue and the program.
The central idea was to have a broad spectrum of music. This ranged from current pop music to a hunting ensemble and classical music to contemporary music, for example by Karlheinz Stockhausen or Mauricio Kagel . The latter made about ten minutes per broadcast. Alfred Biolek held talks with the composer or performer in order to interest the audience in the performance. Virtually all major representatives of contemporary music have appeared on the show over the years.
The combination was not without controversy; the editors of the WDR, even the head of the TV games, entertainment and family program , Günter Rohrbach , encouraged Biolek to continue on the path. There were hardly any protest letters from the audience, the best-known praise for the selection was:
“I would like to say something: I have never had the pleasure - I've been in show business for, well, 53 years - [...] I must say that this is the most unique and wonderfully mixed television show I've ever had the pleasure of being in. "
“I would like to say something: I've never had the pleasure - I've been in show business for, well, 53 years - […] I have to say that this is the most extraordinary and wonderfully mixed TV show I've ever had the honor of to perform. "
In addition to musicians, there were also large dance ensembles in the show, but these were expensive. For example, while Sammy Davis, Jr. only cost 5000 DM because Fritz Rau offered him as an advertisement for his tour, there was no record company behind the ensembles, but only a little financially strong organizer.
There should always be a humorous number on the show. The Folies Parisiennes group was so well received that many letters asked for a repetition and appeared again with the same title in the following program - Biolek had never done anything like that before or after. There were seven men disguised as Mireille Mathieu who sang the title Acropolis Adieu . Comedians like Emil Steinberger also appeared regularly on the show. Alfred Biolek held back with punchlines and only brought them when they fit particularly well.
The stars should also appear differently than in the other shows. So they not only sang two current songs from their repertoire, but also made something special. Duets by two artists who otherwise did not sing together were popular, for example in 1979 Adriano Celentano with Elke Sommer and Angelo Branduardi with Esther Ofarim , 1980 Udo Lindenberg with Nana Mouskouri or 1982 Mario Adorf with Milva . It also happened that the performers sang something unusual for them, for example Helen Schneider Heidenröslein in 1978 . Alfred Biolek often performed something with the celebrity guests as an amateur: he danced several times, for example with Hazy Osterwald - whom he looked like - and the Kessler twins ; For example, he sang with Caterina Valente and he also took part in a clown number. These appearances should contrast with the perfection of the professional artist.
Live singing and accompaniment
In Bio's train station, all the performers sang live, with the exception of Vicky Leandros in the first broadcast due to a cold, as she had even brought a medical certificate and agreed to Biolek's explanation for the audience.
In order to emphasize the otherness of the show and to create a special atmosphere, it should not take place in a glamorous event hall. Biolek worked with Dieter Flimm and Wolf Nöhren on the stage architecture . So Flimm looked for original, large rooms in the greater Cologne area and found, among other things, a tram depot in Bonn and an abandoned depot hall of the Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath Railway in Frechen, which they ultimately opted for.
The decisive advantage of the depot in Frechen was that railway tracks led into standard gauge . So you could build a platform in addition to the main stage and let the guests arrive by train. Historic wagons, such as those from the Rheingold , were often used, but also current trains such as the Lufthansa Airport Express . Another possibility was to use the rails for mobile platforms with which the guests came into the hall.
Spotlights were placed on the windows from outside to illuminate the hall. Freight wagons served as cloakroom for the artists, a discarded passenger car as a canteen and you had to go to the toilet across the courtyard. Special trams drove for the audience, in which musicians created the atmosphere and a tape was played with which Alfred Biolek greeted the passengers and told them what they could look forward to. In the hall they had set up a railway signal that was put into motion at the beginning of the broadcast.
For the stage decoration, the usual effort was made from the big TV shows, for example the foot of the Eiffel Tower was recreated for a broadcast.
Fred's music pin was initially intended as the title , then - with regard to the railway depot - Fred's music depot, but Alfred Biolek did not agree with either of these. The platform that was erected eventually led to Bio's Bahnhof , a title that everyone involved liked.
Alfred Biolek visited EMI in London with an employee of the show to find out about vocal artists for the new series. While waiting for someone to talk to, the two of them heard music by a still unknown artist in the background and then asked if they could get it. For example, Kate Bush had her first television appearance in the first issue of Bio's Bahnhof, before she was invited to Top of the Pops .
An employee of the show who was responsible for the music selection had received a record from Helen Schneider and thought that if she could sing half as well as she looked, then she had to come on the show. After listening to the record, the team agreed to invite them. The EMI , with which she was under contract, considered this to be hopeless, because although she had German ancestors, she had never visited Germany before. But we managed to get Helen Schneider for the second edition of Bio's Bahnhof.
Eberhard Schoener worked with Sting from 1977 to 1979 . He knew Alfred Biolek and called him to ask if he could perform with Sting to present a - at that time new - laser show. Sting only agreed if he was allowed to play a track with his band The Police , which is what happened. Biolek had relied on Schoener and thus made Sting's first television appearance in Germany possible.
Alfred Biolek had heard a record from Asha Puthli . He found her exotic appearance interesting for the show and decided to make a spectacle out of it. Whether the music would be received was not in the foreground, but the performance in Bio's Bahnhof made the singer known in Germany. They invited a group of artists who had performed at the alternative carnival in Cologne's Südstadt and worked with burning torches, among other things.
Although the WDR would have liked to continue the series, Biolek decided in 1982 that he had tried everything and therefore had to do something different. The following show was called Bei Bio .
In 1983 Biolek received the Adolf Grimme Prize with gold for the show .
Ten years after the series ended, there was a special edition of the show. It was broadcast on October 2nd, 1992, the eve of the national holiday , from the roundhouse of the former Orenstein & Koppel locomotive works in the Babelsberg district of Potsdam .
- Norbert Thomas: Alfred Biolek and his train station. Bertelsmann, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-570018-63-6
- Bahnhof für Bio, Alfred Biolek turns 70 . WDR TV 2004, accessed on July 7, 2019 . TV documentary about Bio's Bahnhof with Anke Engelke and Hape Kerkeling
- Reinhold Beckmann: Beckmann on Biolek: Großer Bahnhof , Süddeutsche.de, July 9, 2009
- Alfred Biolek in an interview with Rollingstone , 2011
- Railways in the Rhineland: "KFBE: Bio's Bahnhof" www.bahnen-im-rheinland.de, accessed December 18, 2017