1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 9 (UK/Belgium)
43 x 50 minute episodes
The BBC was broke in 1977 but it still managed to come up with a strong drama series about the Belgian Resistance movement in occupied Europe during World War II as they smuggled Allied airmen back to Britain between 1941 and 1943.
After a three year rest since the end of Colditz, the British stiff upper lip was back in Secret Army.
The same producer, former Spitfire pilot Gerard Glaister, used real stories about some of the 3,500 British, Polish, American and French airmen shot down in occupied Europe as the basis of the series, starring the former Colditz Kommandant actor Bernard Hepton as Albert Foiret, the owner of a Belgian cafe – the Candide – which was the headquarters for the Resistance.
Clifford Rose played Nazi baddie, Sturmbahnfuhrer Kessler (later spun-off into a series of his own, called simply Kessler), the archetypal cold-eyed Gestapo boss.
Angela Richards played Hepton’s mistress, with Jan Francis and Juliet Hammond Hill as two brave and beautiful workers for ‘Lifeline’ – the Belgian escape route.
By coincidence, the real Kessler, the SS Chief in Brussels, Ernst Ehlers, was tracked down in 1980 and went on trial for war crimes which included sending 26,000 Jews to Auschwitz.
No doubt the writers of ‘Allo ‘Allo were regular viewers of the three series’ that were made.
Sturmbannführer Ludwig Kessler
Dr Pascal Keldermans
Major Erwin Brandt
Lisa ‘Yvette’ Colbert
Flight Lt. John Curtis
Major Hans Dietrich Reinhardt