Colditz (TV series): Wikis

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Colditz
Colditz.jpg
This is the main title caption that was seen throughout the series.
Format Drama
Created by Brian Degas
Gerard Glaister
Starring Jack Hedley
Robert Wagner
David McCallum
Bernard Hepton
Edward Hardwicke
Anthony Valentine
Country of origin UK
No. of episodes 28
Production
Running time 1 Hour
Broadcast
Original channel BBC
Original run 1972 – 1974

Colditz is a British television series, made as a co-production between the BBC and Universal Studios and screened between 1972 and 1974. The series was remade as a mini-series, in 2005.[1]

The series deals with Allied prisoners of war imprisoned at the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle 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.

One memorable episode portrays the attempts of a prisoner, Wing Commander Marsh (Michael Bryant), to get out of Colditz by feigning insanity. He succeeds, but is pushed to the limits of his sanity in the process.

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.

Contents

Characters

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The Internees

The British

  • Lieutenant Colonel John Preston (Jack Hedley) - Colonel Preston is the very embodiment of British stiff upper lip. He is mostly emotionless, highly intelligent (i.e. able to get his way with the Germans and remain the voice of reason in his own contingent), and normally rigid in his application of principles. He gets along quite well with the accommodating Kommandant, whom he respects but is adept at manipulating. His only real sources of passion are recollections of his time in the trenches in WWI and his wife, whom he married late and had to leave behind to go to war.
  • Captain Pat Grant (Edward Hardwicke) - Captain Grant is the first British escape officer in Colditz. He is mild-mannered and mostly level-headed. He often serves as an arbiter between his fellow officers' passion and enthusiasm and Colonel Preston's cold reserve.
  • Flight Lieutenant/Major Phil Carrington (Robert Wagner) - Flight Lieutenant Carrington is an American officer who volunteered to serve with the British early in the war. He served as a journalist in Berlin before the war, so has an intimate knowledge of Germany and German politics. He appears to be sensible at first, but he is prone to bouts of rage if his sense of justice is offended, which gets him in trouble with the Germans and the British alike.
  • Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter (David McCallum) - Flight Lieutenant Carter is a young, upstart, hot-headed RAF officer who enjoys goon-baiting and is very impatient to escape. He misses his young wife, Cathy, very much, and seeks to return to her. He finds himself frequently in solitary confinement. In the second season, he mellows a bit as he accepts the post of escape officer, and is tempered by that responsibility.
  • Lieutenant Dick Player (Christopher Neame) - Lieutenant Player is a quiet but determined officer from the Royal Navy. His perfect German and history of living in Germany cause the Germans to suspect he is a spy at first, which causes him a great deal of trouble. Once in Colditz, though, he is a keen and cool escaper, and participates in some of the most daring and fantastic escape attempts of the series.
  • Captain Tim Downing (Richard Heffer) - Captain Downing is generally the devil's advocate of the group. While he seems to be the most pessimistic of the British contingent, his criticisms are often insightful and valid. He is ambitious, views himself as the second-in-command, and seeks the post of escape officer. He is often at odds with Colonel Preston, whom he challenges quite frequently. He rarely participates in escape attempts himself, but provides reliable support for escapers.
  • Pilot Officer Peter Muir (Peter Penry-Jones) - P.O. Muir is a rash officer who has a reputation for not looking before he leaps. Nevertheless, he is a keen member of the escape team. He formed part of Pat Grant's escape team, but was wounded by a gunshot when he and Player were recaptured.
  • Captain George Brent (Paul Chapman) - Captain Brent is the most nervous and least confident of the officers, but is capable of having brilliant ideas. He is unfortunately known for the number of times he has bungled escapes or ruined others' chances at escape. He has insomnia, and often worries about the future, generally having a pessimistic outlook on his captivity. However, he has occasionally been extraordinarily brave, such as in the episode "Ghosts" where he remained holed up in dreadful conditions, voluntarily, for several weeks.
  • Padre (Donald Macdonald) - The Padre is a mild-mannered officer who, in his own words, does "not exactly summon a multitude" with his tedious sermons. His cloth unfortunately often conflicts with his duty to the war effort, and so Colonel Preston generally keeps him out of any escape plans.
  • Doc (Geoffrey Palmer) - The Doc is featured in three episodes, most prominently in Tweedledum. He is frustrated by the lack of medicines, and views the German village doctor as a quack.
  • Wing Commander Marsh (Michael Bryant) - A medical orderly and assistant to the British Medical Officer, Marsh is the officer who famously feigned insanity to achieve repatriation.
  • Lieutenant Page (Ian McCulloch) - Lieutenant Page is an antisocial and violent late addition to the British contingent, who appears to have little knowledge of the air force, despite claiming to be an air force officer.
  • Corporal Baker (Alec Wallis) - Colonel Preston's personal NCO who has immense respect for his superior.
  • Lieutenant Michael Brown (Sean Roantree) -
  • Captain Walters (Nicholas McArdle) -
  • Corporal Hopkins (Len Lowe) -
  • Cathy Carter (Joanna David) - While not an internee, Carter's wife plays a decent-sized role in the series. Reluctant to let her new husband leave in the second episode, she is devastated to learn he has been shot down and worries that he has not survived. When she learns he is at a POW camp, she keeps in touch with him through letters. Good at crosswords and quick on the uptake, Cathy becomes embroiled in a scheme to connect escaping prisoners with the European underground.

The Other Nations

  • Capitaine André Vaillant (Gerard Paquis) - Capitaine Vaillant is a stereotypical riviera Frenchman who is self-serving, self-righteous, dashing, and a shameless womaniser.
  • Capitaine Henri Lefevre (Henry Szeps) -
  • Capitaine Duprez (Guido Adorni) -
  • Lieutenant Maurice Tailière (Boyd Mackenzie) -
  • Lieutenant Colonel Max Dodd (Dan O'Herlihy) - Old-school and brash, Colonel Dodd arrives with Major Carrington on his second trip to Colditz, and rapidly becomes the Senior American Officer of that growing contingent. He does not take well to being a prisoner, and often clashes with the Kommandant. Unlike his counterpart Colonel Preston, he is more than willing to take substantial risks with his men in order to accomplish his objectives.

The Germans

  • Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) - The Kommandant, known only by his forename Karl, is a moderate, honourable, and soft-hearted Oberst (Colonel) of the Wehrmacht. He holds to the Old Army ways of respecting enemy officers, and adheres to the Geneva Convention to the best of his ability. He has difficulty believing that any authority but the OKW is legitimate, and often finds himself in dilemmas over orders he gets from the Waffen-SS or Reich Security. Fortunately, he has an ally in General Schaetzel, a respected figure in the OKW. With the help of Schaetzel, and Colonel Preston's cooperation, he constantly works to prevent the SS from taking control of the camp. He has a young son, Erich, in the Luftwaffe and a wife named Lise.
  • Major Horst Mohn (Anthony Valentine) - A Luftwaffe hero with the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Major Mohn was wounded severely at Stalingrad by a Russian bayonet, and served on Hitler's personal staff before coming to Colditz. He is an NSDAP Party Member in good standing, and very highly connected (although the series does not mention to whom). He constantly finds himself in conflict with the Kommandant, for he holds the philosophy that war is still going on at Colditz and is frustrated by what he perceives as the treating of prisoners with "kid gloves". The prisoners loathe him, and do whatever they can to foil him or antagonise him at every turn. Unfortunately for them, he is ruthlessly intelligent and occasionally pulls off a devastating capture.
    Contrary to what is said on most websites on the series, Major Mohn is not a member of the SS. He is clearly an officer of the Luftwaffe, and his relationship with the SS appears to be fairly chilly. He is visibly upset with the SD orders given at the end of the episode "The Guests" and seems nervous around the Obergruppenführer and Hauptsturmführer in "Very Important Person." It appears that the reason why Major Mohn would prefer to take SS orders unquestioningly than risk SS reprisals is that he knows, apparently better than the Kommandant, what the SS is capable of.
  • Hauptmann Ulmann (Hans Meyer) - Hauptmann Ulmann is the Security Officer at Colditz. A calculating and rather robotic individual most of the time, he takes his job of preventing escapes seriously and is sometimes ill at ease with the Kommandant's lax attitude. He took over early from Oberleutnant Lehr, a young and easygoing officer who was drafted to the front lines, and was appalled at the lack of discipline among the security forces. Due to his careful planning and sharp eyes and mind, he is able to avert many escape attempts as well as many attempts of the SS to take over the camp. He seems to have been sent by the OKW specifically to help the Kommandant in these matters. While occasionally he comes up with a brilliant scheme, most of his captures are due to thoroughness. He develops a warm relationship with Carrington over the course of the series.
  • Lieutenant Anton Lehr (Grahame Mallard) - Lieutenant Lehr is the first Security Officer of Colditz, but in the fourth episode is posted to the front. He is easygoing and cheerful most of the time, although he gets the job done with apparent competence. He is not upset at the posting, and looks forward to fighting for his country.
  • Paul Von Essinger (John Quentin) - Von Essinger is a contact of Player's father, who was a diplomat in Germany before the war. He is apparently wealthy, well-connected, and possibly homosexual (for example, his comment that the Gestapo officer's uniform "clashes with the wallpaper"). Although he is willing to help identify Player, he has an ulterior motive of using Player in a conspiracy to overthrow Hitler.
  • Dr. Starb (Kenneth Griffith) - A very stuffy Major who serves briefly on the camp security staff. He is irritated at the relaxed discipline of the British, and decides to enforce saluting. When he gets Carter court-martialled for failing to salute, the Kommandant has him removed for fear of prisoner reprisals. Dr. Starb was apparently based on a real doctor who served in Colditz and had a prisoner court-martialled for failing to salute.
  • Gerda (Sarah Craze) - Gerda is the young German organist at the Colditz town church. She falls for the dashing Capitaine Vaillant and helps him to escape, feeling for him as she does for her brother who is a POW in Russia.
  • Erich (Martin Howells) - Erich, the son of the Kommandant, is a Luftwaffe officer in his early twenties. He is anxious to fly for the German squadrons, despite the deep concern of his father and mother. Much of the angst of the series centers on the Kommandant's worry he will not return home.
  • Brauner (Peter Barkworth) - A chief plain-clothes Gestapo officer of unknown rank, Brauner is the stereotype of the sinister police organisation. He is intentionally intimidating with his precision and cold curiosity. He is not afraid to torture uncooperative subjects of his interrogations, as Phil Carrington discovers the hard way.
  • Player's Interrogators Sturmbannführer (Nigel Stock) and Hauptsturmführer (Terrence Hardiman) - the "Good Cop, Bad Cop" Gestapo team who attempt to determine Player's identity when one of their agents captures him.
  • Baumann (Ralph Michael) - The civilian lawyer, sympathetic to prisoners and intent on imposing the letter of German law, who agrees to take Carter's case against Dr. Starb.
  • Obergruppenführer Berger and Hauptsturmführer Schankel - Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger was the real-life SS commander who took over the Leipzig/Colditz area late in the war, and was in charge of the removal of the Prominente from Colditz. He is portrayed in the series as a boisterous but unyielding individual for whom everyone holds a measure of fear, even Major Mohn. His aide, Schankel, is a yes-man who puts up with the patronising attitude of his superior officer with a smile.

Episode summaries

Season 1

# Title Writer Original airdate Series No.
01 "Series One Episode One (The Undefeated)" Brian Degas 19 October 1972 (1972-10-19) #1.01
Pat Grant is captured at Dunkirk, and sent along with many other British Officers to Oflag VIIC, Laufen. Together with his colleagues, both a rooftop escape and a tunnelling escape are attempted. The latter works, and Pat escapes dressed as a townswoman. After several days on the run, Pat is caught and sent to Laufen once more. The Kommandant, disgusted with Pat, sends him to the Sonderlager, Oflag IVC, Colditz. 
02 "Series One Episode Two (Missing, Presumed Dead)" Ian Kennedy Martin 26 October 1972 (1972-10-26) #1.02
Follows the story of Flight Lt Carter. Highlights his recent marriage and the offer from his influential father in law to get him a safer posting. He choses to fly Lancasters and is shot down. The episode then follows his ongoing escapes till being sent to Colditz. 
03 "Series One Episode Three (Name, Rank, and Number)" Arden Winch 2 November 1972 (1972-11-02) #1.03
Dick Player finds himself in trouble when he tries to escape from Reich Security detention and is recaptured without any prisoner ID. The Gestapo suspect he is a spy, and he must find some way to convince them that his perfect German and intimate knowledge of the countryside is the result of his German schooling before the war. 
04 "Series One Episode Four (Welcome to Colditz)" N.J. Crisp 9 November 1972 (1972-11-09) #1.04
Phil Carrington finds himself chased down in the countryside by Reich Security, and Colonel Preston arrives at Colditz to find everything in disarray. The Colonel is initially unpopular as Senior British Officer as he cracks the whip to get everyone in line. He attempts initially to have his way with the Kommandant by lying about the rules of the Geneva Convention and entering into a gentleman's agreement that no Poles will be allowed in the British quarters. 
05 "Series One Episode Five (Maximum Security)" John Kruse 16 November 1972 (1972-11-16) #1.05
The new Security Officer, Hauptmann Ulmann, arrives to replace the drafted Oberleutnant Lehr. The prisoners are wary of their new opponent, who seems much more skilled than his predecessor. Ulmann is aghast at the drunkenness of the second-in-command, the Kommandant's friend Willi, and this is a source of tension between him and the Kommandant. Suddenly, the SS arrive for a conference, much to the Kommandant's consternation, and the Standartenführer makes a bid to take over the camp. 
06 "Series One Episode Six (The Spirit of Freedom)" Marc Brandell 23 November 1972 (1972-11-23) #1.06
Carrington makes himself unpopular with the other prisoners by revealing his admiration for Nazi politics, which he apparently cultivated during his service as a journalist in Berlin before the war. After much harassment is directed at him, the Kommandant allows him his own separate room in which to write a book on Nazi politics. He intends to publish it in America, with Gestapo permission. Unfortunately, before it is sent off, something makes the Gestapo change their minds. 
07 "Series One Episode Seven (Lord, Didn't It Rain)" Arden Winch 30 November 1972 (1972-11-30) #1.07
Dick Player makes an escape but suffers dreadfully because of ongoing bad weather and rain. He becomes sick, runs out of money, and eventually tries to get help from the American consulate who turns him down. 
08 "Series One Episode Eight (The Traitor)" John Brason 7 December 1972 (1972-12-07) #1.08
Several escapes that should have worked end badly, with Ulmann waiting for them in hiding spots along the way. Suspecting an informer, Colonel Preston asks the other Senior Officers to interrogate their contingents. His suggestion is met with scorn, but he proceeds to interrogate the British and the others grudgingly follow suit. The perpetrator is caught, a Polish officer whose family was threatened with torture by the Gestapo. The Poles court martial him and condemn him to death, despite the extenuating circumstances. Colonel Preston tries to get him reprieved, with the help of the Catholic Priest, but to no avail. Finally, he goes to the Kommandant who sends Ulmann in a race to rescue the Polish traitor. 
09 "Series One Episode Nine (Bribery and Corruption)" N.J. Crisp 14 December 1972 (1972-12-14) #1.09
The British Officers find out that one of the German guards is in need of 1000 marks for an abortion for his mistress. They use this information and the offer of money to bribe him to look the other way as they escape out of a tunnel. Col Preston finds out about his wife's death and is awarded the Distinguished Service Order
10 "Series One Episode Ten (Tweedledum)" John Brason 21 December 1972 (1972-12-21) #1.10
Arguably the best episode of the series, and winner of several awards. Wing Commander Marsh, an assistant to the British Medical Officer, decides to use his extensive knowledge of mental illness for an escape. He proposes to "go insane" and be repatriated. Colonel Preston agrees to let him, so long as he follows through with it to the bitter end. He does a remarkable job, to the point of annoying his fellow officers (unaware of the scheme) without relent. The Germans are not convinced, and Ulmann sets a Corporal on Marsh's trail. This Corporal has a brother who is insane, so Ulmann believes he is a better judge, even than the doctors, of Marsh's condition. The Kommandant initially refuses to allow the Swiss authority to examine Marsh, but relents when Marsh's madness embarrasses him in front of an important visitor. By the time the Germans are willing to consider repatriation, no one, not even the MO, is sure whether or not Marsh has actually gone mad. (A letter from England refers to his incurable condition, but the script leaves open the possibility that the authorities are continuing the pretence in order to protect the remaining inmates.) 
11 "Series One Episode Eleven (Court Martial)" Marc Brandell 28 December 1972 (1972-12-28) #1.11
The unwelcome arrival of Dr. Starb, an upright Wehrmacht Major who is intent on enforcing prisoner discipline at all costs, shakes up the camp. Despite counsel to the contrary from the Kommandant, Dr. Starb insists on enforcing the old German military rule that prisoners must salute German officers. Due to disrespect from Carter, he acquires a grudge for the young Flight Lieutenant, who cooks up a scheme to get himself court-martialled so that he can escape in transit. True to form, Starb court martials him and accompanied by Phil Carrington (who is desperate to escape), they head to Leipzig for the trial. While Baumann, an aged German lawyer, prepares Carter's case, the two plot their escape. 
12 "Series One Episode Twelve (Murder?)" Ian Kennedy Martin 4 January 1973 (1973-01-04) #1.12
A German sentry is found dead in the parcels office one morning. The Germans insist it was suicide, in order so that the Gestapo will not investigate, but Carter witnessed the body before it was touched, and insists it was murder. He and Colonel Preston attempt to find out who in the camp was responsible before the Gestapo discover that the death was not, indeed, suicide. 
13 "Series One Episode Thirteen (The Way Out)" Bryan Forbes 11 January 1973 (1973-01-11) #1.13
The story of McDonald (loosely based on Michael Sinclair), who after receiving a "Dear John" letter gets a place on a French escape attempt with tragic consequences. 
14 "Series One Episode Fourteen (Gone Away Part I)" John Brason 18 January 1973 (1973-01-18) #1.14
The first of a two-part season finale which follows the true story of how Patrick Reid (in our case Pat Grant) escaped from Colditz. This two-parter caused some controversy with Airey Neave, who was upset at its portrayal as the first British escape of the war. 
15 "Series One Episode Fifteen (Gone Away Part II)" John Brason 25 January 1973 (1973-01-25) #1.15
Pat Grant and Phil Carrington tour the countryside, dodging German patrols, in search of the Swiss border. 

Season 2

# Title Writer Original airdate Series No.
01 "Series Two Episode One (Arrival of a Hero)" N.J. Crisp 7 January 1974 (1974-01-07) #2.01
Ulmann is still seething over the "home-run" by Pat Grant and Phil Carrington, and interrogates Dick Player ceaselessly, without success. Meanwhile, the Kommandant is advised that he will have a new second-in-command, Major Horst Mohn, who arrives amidst the prisoners' jubilation over the success of their two colleagues. Mohn informs the Kommandant that he has been sent from the Führer's personal staff after having received both decorations for his aviation exploits and a severe wound in the stomach from a Russian bayonet. He also indicates that Hitler was informed of the successful escape attempt and insists that security be tightened up. Mohn then proceeds to antagonise the prisoners one by one, particularly Carter, whose intimate letters to Cathy he reads with great interest. Due to the friction created, the Kommandant becomes determined that Mohn should be removed from Colditz. 
02 "Series Two Episode Two (Ghosts)" John Brason 14 January 1974 (1974-01-14) #2.02
Player is interrogated by the new escape officer, Carter, who discovers that the main impediment to escapes is that the Germans are alerted to the escapes too quickly. Carter attempts to devise a strategy of covering escapes by ensuring appel counts remain the same. He does this by faking escapes, and hiding the officers concerned in a hole somewhere in the camp, to be used on appels after real escapes. The spot he chooses is the hole under the pulpit in the chapel. Unfortunately for the escape team, and for the dismayed British Padre, the Kommandant decides to close the chapel due to its use in escape attempts. This traps Player and Brent in the pulpit without provisions, and the British Medical Officer gives Carter only two days to get them out. 
03 "Series Two Episode Three (Odd Man In)" Arden Winch 21 January 1974 (1974-01-21) #2.03
The British contingent is upset at the arrival of a black sheep in their midst: Pilot Officer Lawrence Page, an antisocial air force prisoner who does not seem to be able to get along with anyone, and behaves oddly at his first appel. He is questioned by another RAF officer, Jimmy Walker at the request of Simon Carter, and discovers inaccuracies in Page's story making it obvious he's not really in the RAF. Suspected of being a German plant he is interviewed privately by Col Preston and Carter, whereupon Page tells them his true story. Carter then has the task of checking this out with the help of his wife back in London using coded messages in his letters to her. Carter and Preston are sworn to secrecy whilst this is going on. Walker, who still thinks Page is a German spy, becomes impatient and starts a fight with him, and ends up with badly gouged eyes. Page, it turns out, is a highly trained agent who can kill and maim without hesitation and has been on many dangerous missions that have desensitised him to normal human feelings. 
04 "Series Two Episode Four (The Guests)" Troy Kennedy-Martin 28 January 1974 (1974-01-28) #2.04
A Hauptsturmführer of the SD arrives at the Colditz town jail with three British commandos. He intends to keep this fact a secret, but it leaks both to Colonel Preston and the Kommandant. Preston, aware of Hitler's order that all commandos are to be shot, pressures the Kommandant to take the commandos under his jurisdiction. He tries, but the SD overrules him. In an unusual bout of helpfulness, Mohn suggests to the Kommandant that he could use his high connections to have the commandos transferred to the castle. This is done, but Mohn has ulterior motives. He predicts correctly that the British contingent would attempt to help the commandos escape, and use their best escape plan, the one used by Pat Grant and Phil Carrington to make their home run. Ulmann, anxious to rectify his embarrassment, goes along with Mohn's plan to trap the prisoners while the Kommandant is away. 
05 "Series Two Episode Five (Frogs in the Well)" Thom Keyes 4 February 1974 (1974-02-04) #2.05
The British discover a hopeful escape route through the boarded up camp theatre. Despite protest from Mohn, the Kommandant relents to Colonel Preston's request to have the theatre, which was used for an escape the previous year, reopened. Ulmann is enthusiastic about the idea, hoping to catch the prisoners in the act of plotting to escape. While the prisoners manage to get around Ulmann's heightened security measures, they encounter an unforeseen problem when the French have the same idea of using the safe route out of the theatre. 
06 "Series Two Episode Six (Ace in the Hole)" David Ambrose 11 February 1974 (1974-02-11) #2.06
Carter's hopes are raised by the arrival of Squadron Leader Tony Shaw, a decorated RAF hero. Ulmann is convinced that the celebrity prisoner will be trouble. However, Shaw appears far more interested in pursuing his pre-war role as a professor of literature, quickly rejuvenating the British officer's education classes - much to the joy of the pacificist-leaning librarian. Disappointed, Carter tries to shame Shaw into taking more of a part in the escape plans, but to no avail. But when Shaw discovers a closed off room in the attic adjacent to the library and conceives of the audacious plan to build and fly a glider out of the roof of the castle, Shaw snaps into action with the full backing of the SBO. The librarian is dismayed to find his classes used as mere cover for the escapers' activities - relegated again. 
07 "Series Two Episode Seven (French Leave)" Ken Hughes 18 February 1974 (1974-02-18) #2.07
Irritated at having to receive their news from the French, who have not only one, but two wireless units, Carter is asked to request one of them for the British. The request is refused by the stereotypically romantic and womanising Captain André Vaillant. He expresses frustration about being kept as a prisoner of war despite the fact that France is no longer at war with Germany. He is ironically forced to eat his words when Mohn triumphantly announces to the French contingent that, since they are no longer prisoners of war, they are being moved to a labour camp in Poland. Meanwhile, the pastor of Colditz town makes a request to the Kommandant for the prisoners' choir to sing at the town church during the Bishop of Leipzig's visit. The Kommandant reluctantly agrees. As the rest of the French contingent resign themselves to their fate, Vaillant takes this unique opportunity to concoct an escape with the help of a sympathetic and beautiful young German girl, whom he seduces. 
08 "Series Two Episode Eight (The Gambler)" N.J. Crisp 25 February 1974 (1974-02-25) #2.08
This episode sees the arrival of Flt Lt Jack Collins. He is a con man and gambler that cheats. He uses his card skills to pull Captain George Brent into betting everything including his house and losing it. He also plays cards with a German guard and manages to take him for enough that the guard is forced to help Collins get a metal ID tag for civilian workers in the castle.
Collins wants no help from the rest of the British Officers and seeks his own escape methods. He feels that if he can get out he will make it based on bis pre-war knowledge of Germany, fluent German and the fact that some his former clients in Germany were Jews that were hiding that fact. 
09 "Series Two Episode Nine (Senior American Officer)" Ivan Moffat 4 March 1974 (1974-03-04) #2.09
The lone American Officer in the camp gets a thrill when three other Americans arrive in the camp. One of them turns out to be Phil Carrington, now promoted to Major and sporting a bushy beard. The senior is Colonel Dodd. The third is a Captain. These three are taken to solitary confinement and, at Mohn's urging, given preferential treatment to arouse the suspicions of the British. It is gradually revealed that the Gestapo have an interest in these three, who failed to reveal their connections to the Hungarian resistance movement under interrogation. To allay suspicions, Colonel Preston has Colonel Dodd explain more or less what the three Americans were doing in Hungary, and it turns out that they were, indeed, involved with trying to make contact with the Hungarian free government. Preston and Carrington realise, as the story is being told, that they are under surveillance, and devise a plan to flush out the eavesdropper. 
10 "Series Two Episode Ten (Very Important Person)" Ivan Moffat 11 March 1974 (1974-03-11) #2.10
The Prominente, or famous prisoners, of the camp are to be at last used in their capacity as hostages for Hitler and his entourage who are trapped in the encirclement of Berlin. To accommodate this requirement, and to ensure there is no more trouble with escaping prisoners, Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger of the Waffen-SS is put in charge of all prisoners of war. He pays an unannounced visit to the Kommandant to explain the new situation and demand that the Prominente be moved out of Colditz the next morning. The Kommandant, fearing for his life and the lives of the other prisoners, requests that Colonel Preston and Major Carrington do their best to quell the upset this will cause. The situation is further complicated when they discover that their colleague is the son of an American ambassador and thus classified as Prominente. The bedridden Colonel Dodd agrees to the plan of two British officers to help the ambassador's son escape. 
11 "Series Two Episode Eleven (Chameleon)" Robert Muller 18 March 1974 (1974-03-18) #2.11
Major Mohn is left in charge of the camp as the Kommandant is called away to yet another meeting. He is unsympathetic to Colonel Preston's requests for more rations or the ability to keep animals for sustenance. On a visit to a pub in the town, he meets with a woman named Ana, apparently an old friend. She shows him her brother, recently arrived from the front through Dresden. The brother warns Mohn that he could meet a sticky end due to his involvement with the party (which is apparently deep, since he served on Hitler's staff and reveals he knows about the Final Solution). While initially defiant, Mohn sees the writing on the wall and panics, returning to the camp and making cringeworthy attempts to endear himself to the prisoners. He simultaneously burns every bridge by blackmailing both Ulmann and the Kommandant, and the latter relieves him of all duty. When his last lifeline, Ana, rejects his plea for help since she is being watched, he makes his last bid for freedom prisoner-style. 
12 "Series Two Episode Twelve (Death Sentence)" N.J. Crisp 25 March 1974 (1974-03-25) #2.12
Mohn's legacy lives on in Colditz in the form of the death sentence hanging over Carrington's head for having threatened Mohn's life in "Very Important Person." Colonel Dodd and Colonel Preston refuse to cooperate with the Kommandant until he is reprieved. Meanwhile, the Kommandant gives an open invitation to his officers to bring their wives and families into the safety of the castle as the American tanks approach. His wife joins him, but Ulmann's is unable. Obergruppenführer Berger takes military control of Colditz's region, making escapes a very dangerous proposition with the countryside full of SS troops. Nevertheless, Squadron Leader Tony Shaw, the maker of the Colditz Glider is determined to see it fly, and opts to fly Carrington out before he is executed. Terrible news causes the Kommandant to gain a new perspective on his situation, and new courage. 
13 "Series Two Episode Thirteen (Liberation)" Ivan Moffat 1 April 1974 (1974-04-01) #2.13
The most dangerous time for the prisoners begins, as they await the order from the Nazi government that they are to be shot. Fortunately, the Kommandant comes to Colonel Preston with a plea for a guarantee that he and his men will be delivered to the American liberation forces, and saved from the Russians. Colonel Preston and Colonel Dodd agree on condition that command of the camp is immediately relinquished to them. The Kommandant reluctantly complies, and Colonel Preston takes command of the camp. With roles reversed, the SBO coordinates the smooth delivery of Colditz and its German guard into Allied hands. 

Historical accuracy

Almost all of the events depicted in the series, except for dramatic points like the Kommandant's son and Colonel Preston's wife and mother, have a basis in truth. Most of the characters are loosely based on one or several actual persons. The most obvious are Pat Grant (Patrick Reid) and Hauptmann Ulmann (Reinhold Eggers).

The series, like the film The Colditz Story, caused controversy with Airey Neave, who objected to Pat Grant's escape being portrayed as the first successful British escape from Colditz.

References

External links


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