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For you, der var is over!

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Joined: 15 Sep 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Stockport England (physical) Langollen, Wales (spiritual)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: For you, der var is over! Reply with quote

II've just discovered the TV series "Colditz" is running on the Yesterday channel (Freeview 12).

normally I'm in transit from work at this time, but today I got to stay in and veg out and do my own thing... and "Colditz" is every bit as good as I remember it from first time around, aged eleven or twelve. Magnificent stigff-upper-lip war drama, even allowing for that token American character who doesn't seem to fit. (First time around I'd read that some imdividual Americans were so keen to get into the war, despite the fact their country was unaccountably dragging its feet a bit, that they pretended to be Canadians. Naively, I thought that was why he was in the cast. )

Some bizarre conventions: even while talking to each other, the German officers speak in thick cartoony stereotypical "Achtung! accents. You'd have thought that as in reality they'd be speaking German to each other, there'd be no accent at all, but apparently not the case.
(the "Herr Flick of zer Gestapo" accents would then be saved for being beastly to the prisoners - or "impeccably correct", as it turns out).

Strangely ewnough, the German other ranks speak in lower-class British accents while their officers do the full Herr Flick back to them... some strange cockney Germans here...

While I know that 'Allo 'Allo was explicitly based as a p-take on a later rather straight-faced drama on the French Resistance, ("Secret Army"?) it's so easy to see some other roots here for the comedy version, especially the secret anti-Nazi, the True Beleiver, the cod-German accents...

But still magnificent drama. Why wa this never repeated on main BBC TV?
One of the BBC's bad boys, seemingly.
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Joined: 14 Sep 2010
Posts: 242
Location: Good Old Sussex by the Sea

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruddy Hell Agprov - I logged on specifically to post about this and lo and behold .... Laughing

I too am thoroughly enjoying it. I work from home and by late afternoon I'm in need of a break - so it's downstairs and on with the telly and Colditz. The good thing (for you to know) is that the same episode is shown several times a day starting in the morning and going on through to evening (with other programmes in between), so if you can't always catch the afternoon slot it's repeated an hour or two later. Next day the episode changes and they repeat that several times, so it's almost impossible to miss one of 'em.

I am absolutely shocked to discover it first broadcast in 1972!!!! I was little more than a child then, but I clearly remember watching it, although apart from David McCallum and Robert Wagner I don't really remember any of the characters. Nearly 40 years - blimey!

The reason that there are token Americans in there is because it was jointly financed by the Beeb and Universal TV in the US but for some bizarre reason they never broadcast it - apart from 2 episodes spliced together as a TV movie.

In real life World War 2 there were a fair few Americans in the RAF - Battle of Britain era - Billy Fiske of 601 Squadron probably the most famous, but he wasn't the only one. There was no need for Americans to pretend to be Canadians to enlist - they would take anyone they could get. They might have crossed the border into Canada to sign up, but there was no reason they would need to hide their nationality. A fair few volunteer Americans served in our forces, well before America officially joined the war post Pearl Harbour.

However, back to Colditz the TV series. The standard of acting is pretty good, as are the scripts, but what does make me chuckle a bit are the sets. Today they were 'outside' in the courtyard (supposedly freezing - lots of hand-rubbing, blowing on their hands and stamping feet to keep warm). It was so obviously 'inside' however - like a theatre set, and when they spoke of course, no hot mist coming from their mouths as you would get in real life. A little later they were all huddled up in quarters - all wearing mufflers and overcoats and more hand rubbing etc. In comes someone with what is supposed to be a pan of hot coffee. They use tin mugs to scoop out the coffee, but the pan is so obviously empty, the mugs are so obviously empty, again no steam coming from the coffee, and then they all wrap their hands around the empty mugs and pretend to drink the contents - it's very naff - like a school play. I feel bad for mentioning it really as on another thread I complained about people nitpicking in programmes like Downton Abbey, but in Colditz it is just so obvious and so naff you can't help but notice. It has the feel of a 'stage production' but on the screen - so you have to try and extend disbelief like you do in the theatre.

Still love it though!

Anyway here's a bit about real life American RAF pilot Billy Fiske:

And here's the Two Ronnies taking the mickey - very funny:
Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW7XCkI66Do
Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtxJTTvoQsg&feature=related

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Joined: 20 Sep 2010
Posts: 1140
Location: Rural West Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent posting there, Soulsis!

Yes I remember watching Colditz in the early 70s every Thursday night, but only because it followed Monty Python!

Happy Daze.
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Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 11258
Location: top of the cliffs in Norfolk

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course I remember "Hogan's Heroes" Cool
perhaps I shouldn't admit that....
Johnnie Walker read out my message on Pirate Radio! Very Happy 13/8/07
I have heard how radio should be.
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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 1135
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: For you, der var is over! Reply with quote

Re:some of the lower-rank German officers speaking in cockney accents - Michael Elphick did the same in the series 'Private Schulz'.
We are loonies and we are proud!

- Campbell Bain in 'Takin' Over The Asylum'
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