Top positive review
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Finally after a long wait and a lot of campaigning
on 21 October 2010
Like most people who have seen this series I am so pleased to see it finally get an official release. Like many I have been stuck with poor copies made from multiple generation VHS recordings that it will be a joy to see it in reasonable quality. I do hope it has been cleaned up a bit and that the BBC haven't cut anything (they seem to have a habit of carving up series for 'copyright reasons').
This is a fantastic series with most escapes and attempts based on real events (though all the names have been changed). The acting and scripts are fantastic with a great balance of emotions from fear and boredom to occasional hilarity. The final episodes are especially moving (even more so if you have seen the Channel 4 series "Escape from Coldtiz" Episode 3, currently available on the channel 4 on demand website, with the glider reconstruction a few years ago and seeing how well it flew with some of those prisoners involved watching ). Tweedle Dum has to be one of the real standout episodes though.
It is also interesting to see how the German guards and commandant are portrayed in a mostly positive manner. Too often drama forgets that many people on all sides of the conflict didn't really agree with what was going on but were caught up as career officers or conscription. The balance of frustrated conscripts, strict discipline, humanity and genuine admiration of the prisoners' ingenuity is very well captured.
UPDATE 15/11/10: Just got the set and watched the first episode. Quality looks pretty clean to me and very good for a 70s production. There is a sticker saying 'remastered' on the outside. Inside there is a glossy booklet and a few black and white cards. The DVDs seem to be subtitled (English only though). All in all looks good.