Colditz TV Series Overview (1972-1974)


Introduction

Colditz is a British television drama series co-produced by the BBC and Universal Studios and screened between 1972 and 1974.

Outline

The series deals with Allied prisoners of war imprisoned at the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle when designated Oflag IV-C during World War II, and their many attempts to escape captivity, as well as the relationships formed between the various nationalities and their German captors.

Cast

  • David McCallum … Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter, 26 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Richard Heffer … Captain Tim Downing, 25 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Paul Chapman … Captain George Brent, 24 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Jack Hedley … Lieutenant Colonel John Preston, 23 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Bernard Hepton … Kommandant, 23 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Hans Meyer … Hauptmann Franz Ulmann, 23 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Christopher Neame … Lieutenant Dick Player, 17 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Robert Wagner … Flight Lieutenant Phil Carrington, 14 episodes, 1972-1974.
  • Edward Hardwicke … Captain Pat Grant, 14 episodes, 1972-1973.

Historical Accuracy

Many of the events depicted in the series are based on fact. Exceptions for dramatic purposes include the mentions of the Kommandant’s son, Colonel Preston’s wife and mother, and the completely fictional Major Mohn, who appears in series two. While there is not a direct one-to-one relationship between the real and televised characters, most of the televised characters are loosely based on one or several actual persons. The most obvious are Pat Grant (Pat Reid) and Hauptmann Ulmann (Reinhold Eggers).

No mention was made in the series of Squadron Leader/Group Captain Douglas Bader, the real-life RAF pilot who lost both legs in a plane crash before the war and ended up in Colditz after various escape attempts from other camps. He remained imprisoned until the liberation.

DVD Release

A 10-disc Region 2 Box Set DVD of the complete series was released on 15 November 2010 including bonus mock up cards of camp propaganda materials and a stapled character booklet.

Trivia

  • Colditz was created by Brian Degas working with the producer Gerard Glaister, who went on to devise another successful BBC series dealing with the Second World War, Secret Army.
  • Technical consultant for the series was Major Pat Reid, the real British Escape Officer at Colditz.
  • One of the locations used in filming was Stirling Castle.
  • The series takes place from May 1940 to April 1945.
  • Won awards for Top BBC Series and Top TV Series at the 1973 Sun Awards.
  • Due to the high production costs of the series, the BBC pre-sold the series to “Universal TV” in the US, making it one of the BBC’s first co-productions with another broadcaster.
    • The series failed to become a success when shown in America.
  • Simon Carter’s wife Cathy (Joanna David) appeared in both Missing, Presumed Dead (1972) and Odd Man In (1974), making her the only female character to appear in more than one episode.

Colditz Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Peter Cregeen … (8 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Viktors Ritelis … (6 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Michael Ferguson … (5 episodes, 1972-1973).
    • Terence Dudley … (3 episodes, 1974).
    • William Slater … (2 episodes, 1972-1973).
    • Philip Dudley … (2 episodes, 1974).
    • Ken Hannam … (2 episodes, 1974).
  • Producer(s):
    • Gerard Glaister … producer (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
  • Writer(s):
    • David Ambrose … (written by) (1 episode, 1974).
    • Marc Brandel … (written by) (2 episodes, 1972).
    • John Brason … (written by) (5 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • N.J. Crisp … (written by) (5 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Brian Degas … (series devised by) (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Brian Degas … (written by) (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Bryan Forbes … (written by) (1 episode, 1973).
    • Ivan Foxwell … (film “The Colditz Story”) (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Gerard Glaister … (series devised by) (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Ken Hughes … (written by) (1 episode, 1974).
    • Troy Kennedy-Martin … (written by) (1 episode, 1974).
    • Thom Keyes … (written by) (1 episode, 1974).
    • John Kruse … (written by) (1 episode, 1972).
    • Ian Kennedy Martin … (written by) (2 episodes, 1972-1973).
    • Ivan Moffat … (written by) (3 episodes, 1974).
    • Robert Muller … (written by) (1 episode, 1974).
    • P.R. Reid … (autobiographical book “Colditz”) (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Arden Winch … (written by) (3 episodes, 1972-1974).
  • Music:
    • Robert Farnon … (28 episodes, 1972-1974).
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
    • Peter Evans … (12 episodes, 1974).
    • Dan Rae … (11 episodes, 1972-1974).
    • Terry Cornelius … (5 episodes, 1972).
    • Peter Barber … (1 episode, 1974).
    • Henrietta Barlow … (1 episode, 1974).
  • Production:
    • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
    • Universal Television.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Studios USA Television (all media).
    • TF1 (1975) (France) (TV) (dubbed version) (monochrome broadcast).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 19 October 1972 to 25 January 1973.
    • Series 02: 07 January 1974 to 01 April 1974.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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