“Not now, Lindenstraße’s on!” Around 2.7 million television viewers follow every Sunday at 6:50 pm the stories about the families Beimer, Zenker and Schiller in the Lindenstraße. And have been doing so for thirty years now. This long lifetime is unprecedented in German television. The family series, which the ARD broadcast for the first time on 8 December 1985, was invented by producer and director Hans Wilhelm Geißendörfer. For his decades of engagement in the field of culture and for the idea of Lindenstraße, Geißendörfer was awarded on 12 November 2015 the Federal Cross of Merit.
The scene of the series is Lindenstraße 3 in Munich and two adjacent streets with various shops, cafés, a cinema, a restaurant and a doctor’s office. Here unfold the stories of the many characters, stories of joy and sorrow, lies and deceit. Lindenstraße is much more than trivial television entertainment. Its makers have continually taken up current issues and social developments and worked them into their stories from one day to the next. For example, the character Benno Zimmermann dies of his HIV infection in the episode of 27 November 1988. Lindenstraße was the first German series to confront the issue of HIV and AIDS. On 25 March 1990, again a pioneer, it showed two homosexual men kissing. Back then a real scandal!
“Reflects life in Germany”
Right-wing extremism, unemployment, environmental protection, stalking, active euthanasia, surrogate motherhood, the integration of immigrants. Reference to current life in Germany, according to Geißendörfer, is the reason that Lindenstraße is still today part of the German television line-up. The inspiration for the series was the 74-year-old Geißendörfer’s own childhood in a multi-family house in the Bavarian town of Neustadt an der Aisch. Since 2015 his daughter Hana has given him her assistance as producer of the series. “With her, our tradition and our aim to reflect current life in Germany is in good hands”, says Geißendörfer.