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Secret Army


stuartp
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I'm thoroughly enjoying the re-runs of this on Talking Pictures (Freeview 81), it was one of two programmes I was allowed to stay up late to watch when I was kid (the other was 'Danger UXB'). 

 

But my God it's dark ! Clearly it's not going to be a barrel of laughs but I'd forgotten just how bleak it was. Nine episodes in they haven't got anyone out either, although they have murdered an escapee and a French civilian to stop them talking, abandoned another because he turned out to be a pacifist, and killed an ex-pat for giving away another escapee. (Fair enough on the last one but I did feel sorry for the gorgeous Joanna Van Gyseghem playing his wife). And poor Gaston's just been shot. 

 

Did they get anyone out ?

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23 minutes ago, stuartp said:

Did they get anyone out ?

Yes, must have done,  it ran for 3 series

I saw it again about 10 years ago,  having not seen it since it was originally on.  

 

There is a wiki page,  I was unaware of the untransmitted final episode.  though I do remember the Kessler spinoff (well, that it was on) 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Army_(TV_series)

One interesting detail (that if I ever knew had forgotten)

 

"Secret Army was created by Gerard Glaister as a follow-up to his drama series Colditz. Glaister was a former RAF pilot and his experiences provided the inspiration for the series. Lifeline loosely resembled Comet line. The character of John Curtis was influenced by the experiences of the series's technical consultant, Group Captain William Randle, who escaped from occupied Europe in 1942 and was later Keeper of the Battle of Britain Museum.

The series followed the timeline of the war to show how it affected Belgium. Filming took place in Belgium, with the assistance of BRT. Other locations were in London and Norfolk. The aircraft type that featured throughout the series was the Westland Lysander.

The title sequence was created by Alan Jeapes, whose credits include EastEnders. The theme music was by Robert Farnon.

The serious tone of the production led it to be parodied in the BBC comedy series 'Allo 'Allo!, with a few cast members appearing in both series."

 

 

I also remember going to Hendon in 79 or 80, and they had a special display based on the programme, with the Lancaster fuselage prop there (a half fuselage used for filming an aircraft scene) ....

28 minutes ago, stuartp said:

But my God it's dark

A lot of TV was certainly more serious back then,  I don't remember it being especially grim,  Even very popular comedy wasn't particularly light, Fawlty Towers is man on verge of nervous breakdown, and The fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is about a man collapsing under the pressures of modern life....

Reggin Perrin gets a mention as I for some reason thought about it, and there it was a few clicks away ( 'Yorkshire accent' and you tell children these days about only three channels and no VCR and they just won't believe you etc etc  ) 

 

On a lighter note,  the youtube side bar turned up this..... not a direct RP spin off but related.....

 

 

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On 11/21/2021 at 10:17 PM, stuartp said:

I'm thoroughly enjoying the re-runs of this on Talking Pictures (Freeview 81), it was one of two programmes I was allowed to stay up late to watch when I was kid (the other was 'Danger UXB'). 

 

But my God it's dark ! Clearly it's not going to be a barrel of laughs but I'd forgotten just how bleak it was. Nine episodes in they haven't got anyone out either, although they have murdered an escapee and a French civilian to stop them talking, abandoned another because he turned out to be a pacifist, and killed an ex-pat for giving away another escapee. (Fair enough on the last one but I did feel sorry for the gorgeous Joanna Van Gyseghem playing his wife). And poor Gaston's just been shot. 

 

Did they get anyone out ?


I also watched Secret Army as a kid and have loved it ever since. The quality of the acting and the pacing of the direction made it more like theatre. In my opinion it was the best drama that the BBC ever made. It 's such a shame that most people now only remember the spoof Allo Allo. 

Have you ever seen The Fourth Arm? It was 12 part series in 1983, made by the same team and just as good.

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I loved The Secret Army back then and still do. I managed to get the full box set plus Kessler on DVD last year and promptly binged it. The cast were all superb especially Clifford Rose as Kessler and Michael Culver as Major Brandt. I was impressed by the fact that it seemed to be very accurate technically. 

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Thank you, I was aware that the same team had done Colditz, but I hadn't heard of The Fourth Arm, I'll have a look at that. 

 

TV drama and documentaries generally seemed better back then, less gimmicky. I don't think it's just nostalgia ! 

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