Secret Army is a television drama made by the BBC and the Belgian national broadcaster BRT (now VRT) created by Gerard Glaister.
The series tells the story of a fictional Belgian resistance movement in German-occupied Belgium during the Second World War dedicated to returning Allied airmen, usually having been shot down by the Luftwaffe, to Great Britain.
It was made in the UK and Belgium and three series were broadcast on BBC1 between 7 September 1977 and 15 December 1979.
Kessler is a sequel to the series, set in contemporary times.
Albert has sold the Cafe Candide and owns an upper-class black-market restaurant, called the Restaurant Candide, which is prominently located in the Grand-Place. This venture is 60% owned and financed by London, so as to enable the members of Lifeline to cater for senior German officers, to enable them to overhear indiscretions and to provide a better cover for their activities. Albert takes over the running of Lifeline when Lisa is tragically killed in the first episode by Allied bombing, whilst away travelling in occupied France.
The German officers frequent the new establishment regularly, allowing all the major characters to interact and increasing the dramatic tension. To capitalise on actress Angela Richards’ singing talents, Monique performs regularly for the diners, and this becomes a feature of the series. These scenes transform the character of Monique from a dowdy waitress to a sultry chanteuse and provide a contrast to their stressful undercover activities.
Secondary stories include Kessler’s developing romance with lonely Belgian ‘society woman’ Madeleine Duclos (Hazel McBride), whom he meets while dining alone at Le Candide and Brandt being asked to join the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Although he declines, he becomes seen as guilty by association. This, and the death of his family in a British air raid on Berlin, results in his suicide, to avoid a court-martial, at the end of the series.
The series also introduces a new character, restaurant pianist and forger Max Brocard (Stephen Yardley), whose forgery skills are required after the death of Gaston. Max is a Communist infiltrator of Lifeline, responsible for the death of Natalie’s boyfriend François (Nigel Williams). Along with other Communist saboteurs, Max is shot dead by the Germans and the civil police whilst taking part in resistance activities, their whereabouts having been tipped off by Albert after he has confirmed that Max is a Communist mole and intends to take over Lifeline. His death leads to terrible repercussions for Albert in the third series.
Series Two was broadcast in 1978 with various changes in the cast, including the death of Lisa in the first episode and the inclusion of pianist Max Brocard (Stephen Yardley). With financial support from London, Albert opened the larger Restaurant Candide, which was centrally located on the Grand Place.
Secret Army Series
You can find a full overview of Secret Army here.
- Episode 01: The Hostage.
- Episode 02: Russian Roulette.
- Episode 03: Lucky Piece.
- Episode 04: Trapped.
- Episode 05: Not According to Plan.
- Episode 06: Scorpion.
- Episode 07: Weekend.
- Episode 08: The Big One.
- Episode 09: Little Old Lady.
- Episode 10: Guests at God’s Table.
- Episode 11: A Matter of Life and Death.
- Episode 12: Prisoner of War.
- Episode 13: Day of Wrath.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 27 September 1978 to 28 December 1978.
- Running Time: 50 minutes (per episode).
- Rating: 12.
- Country: UK and Belgium.
- Language: English.