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        The Complete BBC Collection UK Dvd Boxset (2010)
        P A T  R E I D

        We are based in South London near Croydon and if preferred this item can be picked up by appointment. Just e-mail here.

        As of Sept. 11 This title seems to be going out of print. We have just a few left actually in stock.

          The ultimate prisoner of war, it has taken 40 years for Colditz itself to escape from the BBC vaults to reach us via VHS or Dvd but it is here. This classic 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

        This was made in the early 1970s and set in the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle during the 2nd World War. Basically (and you've got to see it to fully appreciate it) the Allied prisoners are locked into a continual tussle of psychological warfare with their captors. Colditz was used by the Nazis to hold those who regularly tried to escape from other camps (scroll down).


        • Format: PAL
        • Language: English
        • Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 10
        • Classification: 12

        • Studio: 2entertain
        • DVD Release Date: 15 Nov 2010
        • Run Time: 1425 minutes

          An absolute gem from TV Heaven! I can't actually think of anything better I have seen from the 1970s onwards (it ran from 1972-74 for two seasons and 28 episodes). The writing & the acting are just top notch. It's very rare for everything to come together at once to create something that is approaching high art.

        The actors all have to be at the top of their game, the sets have to be atmospheric of the place they are echoing, and the storylines have to be continously riveting (there are over 20 episodes after all)...Colditz achieved all these things with ease.

        I came to it after watching the 1955 British film The Colditz Story and while I enjoyed it immensely and am a big fan of both its stars, John Mills and Eric Portman, the film wasn't a patch on this. It could never be, thinking about it. A movie doesn't really give the time for the characters to develop as only TV can. Incidentally, the series was inspired and based on the film and the novel by Pat Reid, a prisoner in Colditz, whose character in the series is played by the late Edward Hardwicke.


          JACK HEDLEY  (23 episodes) (Lt. Col. John Preston)

          The best of a fine bunch for me. He could have 'authority' tattooed across his forehead and it would still not be enough to convey just how in command of his inmates he is. He oozes more authority than a primeminster or president. In lesser hands you would not believe that someone could command so much respect. If Hedley told me that the world was square I'd immediately think that the scientists have been lying all along. Superb - as good an actor as you will find anywhere.

          DAVID MCCALLUM  (26 episodes) (Flt. Lt. Simon Carter)

          The 'token' star of the series. I say 'token' as this very much an ensemble piece which without one of the actors not on top of his game would not have worked. But McCallum holds the whole thing together like clue.s . Before the series began he researched his role by travelling with Pat Reid (who wrote a memoir about his escape from Colditz) to the prison (actually a 11th-century castle). Both stayed in Leipzig. He also became great friends with Robert Wagner during the filming.

          ROBERT WAGNER  (14 episodes) (aka The Brylcreem Kid)

          Gives the best performance of his career as Flt. Lt. Phil Carrington because it is so undertated and that fits in to the downtrodden claustrophobia of the series. There's nothing 'Hollywood' or starry about his performance - he fits in like a glove.

          colditz art card

          HANS MAYER  (23 episodes) (Hauptmann Franz Ulmann)

          As Hauptmann Franz Ulmann Hans Meyer has one of the most mesmeric faces I have ever seen. Though born in South Africa his Germanic presence fills Colditz and consequently the screen with an air of all-things Deutschland. A face made from German granite; a magnetic presence that makes Marlon Brando look insipid.

          colditz art card

          ANTHONY VALENTINE  (11 episodes) (Major Mohn)

          Anthony Valentine does slimy, vile, slithering creepiness better than anyone. As toad-faced Major Mohn he takes sneakiness to new heights or should that be depths? Who could forget the Chameleon episode (the last but two of the final series) where he tries to ingratiate himself with the prisoners to try and save his own skin as the Americans inexorably move towards the castle? Cringeworthy, it is painful to watch; I have to look away from the TV at times at his attempts to be Germaically nice. The way he himself escapes from Colditz says all you need to know about the character. Just brilliant.

          colditz art card

          BERNARD HEPTON  (23 episodes) (Kommandant)

          As the Kommandant Bernard Hepton (gives his complex role a great authenticity. He is torn between a regime that he can't understand (the Nazis and SS play their evil games without any thoughts to rules) and the principles of the Wehrmacht where the prisoners are to be treated with the respect afforded by the Geneva Convention. He brings a dignity to the role that leaves the viewer in no doubt he is fundamentally a decent man.

          EDWARD HARDWICKE  (14 episodes) (Capt. Pat Grant)

          As Capt. Pat Grant (based on Pat Reid) is as solid as he has been in anything he appeared in. Sadly he passed away in 2011 so the boxset now serves as a poignant reminder to him.

        There are others who are too numerous to list here but, trust me, they all play their part in making this unforgettable viewing.

        There is one award-winning episode (Tweedledum) portraying the attempt 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. The outcome is truly heartbreaking. In fact, it is really hard episode to watch. You are basically watching a man's descent into madness and it is so well played you shudder at the oncoming insanity.

        Two of the biggest scandals in recent TV history are:

        1. Why has this series been off British TV screens for so many years? You know, the BBC has been all too willng to open their vaults and bring us far inferior work from days gone by. And yet it has taken until 2010 and the Yesterday channel to repeat it (Yesterday really should be applauded for this and their website on the series. They bring so many treasures to the screen like Tenko and Enemy at the Door that you can't help but hope that it becomes an immensely succesful channel - support it everyone!). Yes, there may have been copyright issues but this was a work that was worth moving Heaven and Earth onto our screens again. No excuse. I feel sorry for the generations coming after who have never even heard of the series. They could have found this gem and loved it in the same way those fortunate enough to have seen it the first time around. Heck it even inspired a board game that is pretty collectable now.

        2. Why did it take until 2010 for it to be released on Dvd let alone video? This is one of the greatest things to have come out of British Tv - why the neglect? I don't understand it. It's just plain wrong. Maybe someone could enlighten me?

        That said, the boxset is beautifully packaged with some art cards and booklet. The quality of the picture is pretty clean. Just 30 years too late!

        colditz art card colditz art card colditz art card colditz art card colditz art card colditz art card

        As a sidenote: I know the names were changed here but why was there no mention of the legends that were Airey Neave and Douglas Bader? Neave's escape from Colditz has now become mythical and I thought if there was one charater who should not have had his name changed then it was his.




          []  Contains: 5 Limited Edition Art Cards & A Collector Booklet
          []  Includes: An Interview with Author Major P.R.Reid

        CONDITION: New.

      • If you would like to review the series and/or the boxset please e-mail here and I will add it.

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        P H O T O  S T I L L S


        COLDITZ (1972)

        © BBC


        COLDITZ (1972)

        © BBC


      • Price: 79.99 (UK Sterling) (UK / Europe / Australia Postage Inclusive)

        This Dvd probaly won't work on Dvd players from outside the countries listed above. If you are outside these countries please e-mail before ordering to confirm that you know you can play this Dvd.

        As stated above as of Sept. 2011 this appears to be going out of print. New ones seem increasingly harder to find so grab it anywhere while it's still at a half decent price. But be sure that the dealer actually has it physically in stock as it they are relying on a distributor then they won't have it and you will end up disappointed. I actually have 3 left in stock!

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