Friday, October 14, 2005

Secret Army

(survivortvseries.com)

As some of you know, I do have a bit of a soft spot of the odd 70s and 80s TV programmes that get shown on UKTV Gold and UKTV Drama.
So you will not be too surprised to learn that some of my evenings have recently been spent watching Secret Army, which has just finished on UKTV Drama.
For those who don't know, 'Secret Army' is basically 'Allo 'Allo minus the laughs ("'Allo 'Allo" was meant to be a mickey take, but it ended up eclipsing the success of 'Secret Army'). There is a resistance group, 'Lifeline', which has a base at a Brussels Cafe; 'Le Candide'. The cafe owner helps run the resistance and he is having an affair with one of the maids behind his wife's back (The maid also sings at the Cafe). The initial head of the Resistance is an attractive woman, the 'Lifeline' have run-in's with the Communist Resistance, the Germans frequently use the Cafe and there is a sinister SS Officer involved as well,Kessler. There is even a 'nice' German Officer who occasionally plays the piano.
But 'Secret Army' was succesful and ground-breaking for it's time. There is a difference shown between the Wiermarcht and the SS and the tensions it produces. Not all the reistance members are brave and patriotic (some are just downright mercenary), and, much to viewers' disgust (including mine), Kessler escapes at the end of the War and in doing so, has a member of the Luftwaffe killed in an allied prison so that his identity is kept secret (The Luftwaffe Officer, showing a rare degree of decency in the last three episodes).
The series is also worth watching for it's casting, most notably that of Valentine Dyall, of 'Appointment With Fear', 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', and 'Doctor Who' fame.
Usually cast as villians of the sort that can unnerve even the most hardened individual, or as great authority figures, it is somewhat strange to see him as a gentle medical doctor helping the resistance (somewhat unnerving in itself).
But that said, worth watching.

2 comments:

Stuart Douglas said...

I'm a bit of a seventies TV nut as well, but I've never managed to get beyond the first episode of the first series DVD of Secret Army.

I suspect 'Allo 'Allo, rubbish though it was, has ruined SA for me :(

Paul Burgin said...

Don't let that bug you, once you watch some episodes (esp the latter ones), you find that you see it on it's own level