This is what Robert ten Brink told RTL Nieuws. Of course, even though it was the 30th time, he enjoyed recordings of this year’s program. “Yeah, it’s really a very nice program. Now I’m also thinking: This is great, great. But maybe in a few months I’ll think differently about it, and there will come a time when I say: It was great.”
So it is not certain how long All You Need can be watched on TV. “I don’t know if I want to carry on all you need for years to come, that’s uncertain. But what is certain in life?”
Strange and wonderful moments
Well, tonight it’s still All You Need Is Love on TV, and it’s the Christmas song that’s been good to millions of viewers for years. “The joke is that every year people ask me: What are you going to do this year? Then I say: Yes, just like last year. Not surprisingly, it’s the always abiding values of love, family, happiness that come back, allowing us to experience the most unusual and wonderful moments.”
And they guarantee that hundreds of thousands of Dutch people shed tears on the couch every year. Also in the house of Ten Brink. Because while not everyone expects it, the family – and by extension Robert himself – watch all you need on Christmas Eve. “It’s the last edit on Thursday, and then soon we do the last shopping on Friday and the family gets together on Saturday. Every year we eat the same thing: soup. And on the first All You Need commercial block, we get Tarte Tatin.”
Girls don’t want to know anything in advance.
And yeah, sometimes I yell at the TV that it could have been edited a little better, pretty annoying. But it’s especially nice to watch the whole picture on the couch with the family. My daughters never want to know what’s in the episode. They really want to let loose in The ugly crying moment.
That moment is guaranteed tonight, says Ten Brink. However, you don’t see the presenter himself with a teardrop in the photo. “No, I don’t want to. I don’t care in that moment, so I shouldn’t be standing there crying. But of course I’ve had to swallow really hard in recent years. Not just me, but also the camera crew, the production, the editors. Then you think: Oh Jesus, it was This is intense again. Or how beautiful, how special.”
What if Ten Brink can remember anything special from the first episode? “Well, not really. I just remember we had a table full of bachelors. We really thought they were a special kind of breed and gave them hot soup to comfort. But in general everything was different then than it is now. Just look what it looked like.” Both of us: very clumsy and goofy with shoulder pads.”
Working on the show was very different back then, Ten Brink looks back. “We had no cell phones, no mobile internet. And on the way we always had a place with us to call the editors at a gas pump how it went with the shooting. And everyone was still smoking everywhere. It was a whole different world.”
Complete surprises were made
Plus, editors received bags full of mail, and people were doing the craziest things just to get attention. “We’ve received tens of thousands of letters in the past 30 years. But we’ve also received crafts, and whole surprises have been made in hopes of getting picked. Now we get emails all year round, but it’s still hard to choose who should be in the next episode. We always keep in mind that we are not an emergency service, but an entertainment program.”
And even though Ten Brink also works on other shows every year, most still recognize him as Doctor Love. “Sometimes I get a little tired of that nickname. Then I think: Yeah, we know now. I only take two love pills a day, and I often respond standard.”
“Luckily, most of them call Robert Lee on the street. It always goes up during this Christmas period, and then people look at me in amazement when I cycle through Amsterdam. But hey: I also live somewhere.”
Meanwhile – no doubt – many marriages have been sealed by Ten Brink’s meddling and children fathered by All You Need is Love. But things don’t always go well. Because 30 years later, Ten Brink still has surprises during recordings. “But it’s not necessarily wrong, because something only happens if you’ve figured out how things should work in advance. And we don’t. So if someone says ‘no’ to a love request, that’s it.
After 30 years, this is also my biggest lesson from the all-you-needs life: everything always works out differently than I had previously planned.”
The 30th birthday special of All You Need is Love can be watched on RTL4 tonight from 8pm.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”