Popular Dutch TV series gets big-screen treatment
by Boyd van Hoeij
04/05/2012 - One of the most popular Dutch TV series of the late 1990s and into the 2000s, Toen was geluk nog heel gewoon (When Happiness Was Still the Norm), will reach Dutch cinemas as a feature in the spring of 2013.
For a total of 229 episodes, spread over 16 years, the popular series cast a spell on Dutch viewers with its nostalgic look at regular Dutchmen trying to attain happiness in their simple, working-class lives in the port city of Rotterdam. The series started as a Dutch remake of US phenomenon The Honeymooners but eventually branched off in a different direction.
The series started with its first season set in 1959 (which aired in 1993) and was from then on set one year later for each new season. It continued its storyline through to 1974 during the last year the series was broadcast, in 2009.
The feature currently in preparation will be set in 1974 as well, a significant year for working-class Dutch people, as everyone in the football-loving nation went into something akin to mourning after having lost the final match of the football World Cup against arch rival, West Germany.
Out of pure frustration, the lead character of the series, the bus driver Jaap Kooijman (Gerard Cox - pictured) will throw his TV set out of the window in the film, which will set in motion a whole series of tragi-comic events.
The series’ regulars, including Cox, actress Joke Bruijs, as Kooijman’s wife Nel, as well as Sjoerd Pleijsier and Huib Rooymans, will be back for the feature version, which is currently in production.
The film is produced by Infinity Film & TV Production and co-produced by broadcaster MAX. Just Bridge Entertainment will release the film in the spring of next year.