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Secret Army: The Complete First Series [DVD] [1977]

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

Price: £29.95
Only 2 left in stock.
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£29.95 Only 2 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Gift_Of_Sound.

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Product details

  • Actors: Bernard Hepton, Angela Richards, Clifford Rose, Juliet Hammond, Ron Pember
  • Writers: Gerard Glaister
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Simply Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Nov. 2003
  • Run Time: 880 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C665R
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,557 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The entire first series of the BBC's popular drama. Starring Jan Francis and Bernard Hepton it is considered an authentic portrayal of the Lifeline resistance network in Brussels during the Second World War. Episodes include: 'Lisa - Code Name Yvette', 'Sergeant on the Run', 'Radishes With Butter', 'Child's Play', 'Second Chance', 'Growing Up', 'Lost Sheep', 'Guilt', 'Too Near Home', 'Identity in Doubt', 'A Question of Loyalty', 'Hymn to Freedom', 'Bait', 'Good Friday', 'Suspicions' and 'Be the First in Your Block to Rule the World'.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Let's get the difficult bit out of the way first. It's quite expensive. There are extras, including some very interesting interviews with some of the cast. It's a very attractive boxed set and the viewing notes have some fascinating insights.

But would I enjoy it if I hadn't been engrossed in watching it the first time around?

Yes, I think I would.

The scripts are excellent with some very compelling running stories, the production values are high for the time, the acting good.

The three series are actually very different and I think it is worth seeing all three of them.

Series 1 introduces Lifeline, a line founded in Belgium by "Yvette" to get RAF fliers back to the UK so they could continue to fight in the war. Yvette and her helpers take huge risks to do this. They use the cover of the Candide, a restaurant, as they do their work. This series has more interaction with the fliers whose existence is crucial to the plot but who are not really part of the story. They come. They go. I liked the human stories.

Series 2 shows a change in the Candide and more involvement with the occupiers.

As someone else has said, this drama spent as much time on the lives of the occupiers as the occupied. It maybe says something that I can remember vividly what happened to Major Brandt but I had not remembered what happened to Monique. There are still some very thrilling stories and mysteries to be solved.

Series 3 - a new direction again, with a natural end with the end of the war, the break down that followed, Special Operations, communists, it's all there still with human stories.

The moral ambiguities of what the characters do under stress are shown.

I found the end very moving but a bit rushed.
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A truly gripping series that you just can't imagine being made in the fast-paced, channel-hopping television world of today. For people - such as myself - who did not see it when originally brodcast but have clear memories of the (truly awful) spoof 'Allo 'Allo, it takes a little time to judge and appreciate secret Army in its own right.

The pacing is sometimes a little slow - especially in the early episodes, but by halfway through series one you will be watching "just one more episode" into the wee small hours.

The charcterisation is simply superb - with the key Nazis portrayed as rounded three dimensional characters rather than just stereotypical and predictable baddies. The ongoing tensions and differences of approach between the Luftwaffe and the Gestapo constitute a quite brilliant sub-plot.

Also, the key figures running the escape line are not the purist of heroes. Not only do they all have personality flaws, but will pursue morally questionable methods in pursuit of their goal.

My only criticism would be that the British airmen are portrayed as being too hapless and boyish - but as their role in the plot is faciltative rather than central, this is a minor negative.

Most satisfying of all are the genuinely unpredictable twists and turns in the plot. Informed guesses by the viewer as to "what happens next?" are often wide of the mark. This contributes enormously to the tension of each installment - especially as each episode tends to end on a downbeat note. You will find yourself holding yuor breath until the final credits roll.

If you have even a cursory interest in the Second World War and/or are a enjoy movies such as the Great Escape, then this is an absolute "must buy". 40+ hours of some of the best drama ever produced by the BBC and probablyt he best £100 I have ever spent on DVDs. Simply glorious.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Drawing its cast from such BBC classics as "Colditz" and "I, Claudius" to name but two, and set in Wartime Belgium; "Secret Army" tells the story of an underground organisation dedicated to helping crashed Allied airmen return to Britain - and the German forces equally dedicated to stopping them! Remarkably it does so in a way that avoids the worst stereotypes. The putative heroes in Lifeline are not all sweetness and light - Albert Foiret (Bernard Hepton), owner of the Cafe Candide often used as the central meeting place by the evasion line, is not above killing in cold blood if his (or Lifeline's) interests are threatened. He is carrying on an affair with one of his waitresses, Monique (Angela Richards) whilst his crippled wife is bedbound upstairs, and Monique wishes her dead. Nor are the Germans potrayed entirely as the evil monsters of most war flicks. Major Brandt (Michael Culver)in charge of the Luftwaffe's forces comes across as an honourable, decent man who tries to treat his captives well whilst still getting them to part with the information he needs. Even the resident Gestapo Officer (Clifford Rose) has an human side - although it rarely slips past his "official" facade. The storylines were kept realistic, with Lifeline and the German forces probably coming in with a score draw. Once the initial episodes have set the scene, all of the key characters are allowed to richly develop, and the tension towards the end of the series as the net closes in on the evaders is masterfully portrayed, as is the historically accurate dislike between the German military forces and their Gestapo colleagues. "Secret Army" is a classic drama series from the BBC school of wobbly sets and solid acting. It is a crying shame that the series is most commonly remembered as the basis for "'Allo 'Allo".
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