|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
This grim and claustrophobic drama chronicles the lives of the prisoners in Colditz Castle from the arrival of the first British prisoners after Dunkirk until the liberation of the castle by the Americans in 1945. Colditz was a "special" camp, designed by the Nazis to hold high-risk and politically important prisoners. Many of the series' plots are based on real events.
Was recently repeated on the UK TV channel "Yesterday".
Tropes present in the series include
- Ace Pilot
- The Alcatraz: Castle Colditz, the supposedly inescapable prison for important prisoners and escape artists.
- All Germans Are Nazis:
- Mostly averted - the army officers don't necessarily agree with the Party line, and there are the odd German civilian resisters - this becomes extremely obvious as the war draws to a close.
- A German friend of Player's sees this trope developing in Britain, and despairs about it -- but he goes on to say that he thinks the best way to defeat Nazism is for Britain to surrender, bringing the war to a close and removing the Party's wartime support.
- Badass Greatcoat
- Bluff the Impostor: In one example Brent grills a new captive on their mutual alma mater, reports that his story checks out... and after he leaves, the newbie confides in the others that he suspects Brent of being an impostor.
- The Bus Came Back: Carrington
- Cacophony Cover-Up
- Character Development: Carter learning to deal with his injury.
- The Dragon: Ulmann, head of security.
- Dressing as the Enemy
- Eagle Squadron: Carrington, an American volunteer in the RAF.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": We never learn the Kommandant's name, even when his wife shows up.
- Great Escape: Once an Episode, unless they're working towards a slower-burning mini-arc
- Escape Tropes: Pretty much every single one shows up at some point.
- Go Among Mad People: one inmate tries to get invalided out by playing the insanity card.
- Go On Without Me: Each contingent of prisoners has a dedicated "escape officer" keeping track of the various plans, who's unable to escape himself.
- Going for the Big Scoop: An American journalist writing a sycophantic book about the inevitability of German victory is intensely distrusted by the other captives, until it turns out he was hiding military secrets in the text to be smuggled out to America.
- Grand Finale: The last few episodes mostly avoid attempts at escape as the prisoners and guards deal with the approach of the end of the war. With one notable exception.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Player is harboured by one during an escape attempt.
- Hufflepuff House: The various Allied contingents mostly keep out of each others' way, so we don't see much of the French, Polish etc except as background.
- Humiliation Conga: Mohn's exit is an epic example, getting an entire Villain Episode dedicated to his falling star. First he realises his beloved Reich is actually going to lose; he tries vainly and pathetically to cajole the prisoners into testifying that he treated them well; he's sacked from his post; his girlfriend denies she knows him; and after receiving no less than three The Reason You Suck Speeches from Preston, the Kommandant and Carter, flees ignominiously hanging underneath a farmers' cart.
- Insult Backfire:
Kommandant: [angrily] Well, Major, I'm delighted to see your actions were motivated as ever by duty instead of compassion!
Major Mohn: Thank you, sir.
- Interservice Rivalry: The prison is run by the Wehrmacht, and the Kommandant is extremely distrustful of the SS and Gestapo. Mostly averted between the RAF, Army and Navy inmates, friendly rivalries aside.
- Just Following Orders
- Know When to Fold'Em: One of the final episodes is dedicated to Mohn coming to terms with the inevitability of German defeat and the tenuousness of his own position as a Nazi Political Officer.
- The Laws and Customs of War: the Brits refer occasionally to the King's Regulations' stipulations on being taken captive.
- The Kommandant follows the Geneva Convention as a matter of honour, since the Third Reich didn't officially sign it, and this is a frequent point of friction with Party officials and the SS.
- The Neutral Zone: [[Team Switzerland Switzerland. The nearby American embassy as well, at first. However, more realistically than usual, their neutrality is dependent on their (officially, at least) not taking sides at all - which includes harbouring PO Ws.
- Never Recycle Your Schemes: Justified: you can't reuse a plan if Ullmann has learnt how it was done. Occasionally averted with schemes that aren't discovered, though.
- No Peripheral Vision: Subverted; Carrington evades pursuit by hanging from a ledge... only to get a rifle butt to the fingers.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: More like Cowardly Bureaucrat; an American consul refuses to give Player so much as the time of day when he seeks sanctuary, as "the American government can't be seen to take sides".
- Officer and a Gentleman: Preston; also Lampshaded in regards to the Kommandant, which Mohn regards as being a symptom of identifying with his British captives.
- The Political Officer: Major Mohn.
- POW Camp: Of The Alcatraz variety.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: the Kommandant
- Right Under Their Noses: The "ghost holes" - two prisoners fake an escape, hide within the castle, and let the search for the supposed escapees peter out before they make a real attempt.
- Run for the Border: Usually Switzerland (though officially they're not allowed to harbour POWs).
- Scary Shiny Glasses: A local Gestapo officer.
- The Scrounger: André Vaillant.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The glider scheme. Played for drama regarding the pilot;
Well this'll make a good anecdote for the folks back home - the glider I worked on for months and never flew. I suppose it'll be a humourous story... they wouldn't understand if I told it any other way.
- Shown Their Work: The real British "Escape Officer", Major Pat Reid, was the show's technical consultant.
- Sleeping Dummy
- Smart People Play Chess: Carter and Major Mohn. It's a popular pastime among the other inmates, but these two take it seriously and at one point play a game while they discuss a recent escape attempt.
- Smug Snake: Mohn.
- Sorry, Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs: Carter's leg injury makes him unfit for escape attempts, which leads to him becoming escape officer.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Several of the Brits, but Preston in particular.
- The Stool Pigeon
- Technically a Smile: Mohn at one point tries to get chummy with the inmates. It's creepy.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Mostly play the part of the vague, rarely-seen Bigger Bad, especially in the form of the SS.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Major Mohn, towards the end.
- We Need a Distraction
- World War II
- Worthy Opponent: for the most part, the relationship between the Kommandant and Colonel Preston