May 6, 1981: Private Schultz

Private_Schulz-1981Private Schulz is a BBC television comedy drama serial set mostly in Germany, during and immediately after World War II. It stars Michael Elphick in the title role and Ian Richardson playing various parts. Other notable actors included Tony Caunter (Roy Evans, EastEnders), Billie Whitelaw, Billy Murray (Don Beech, The Bill) and Mark Wingett (Jim Carver, The Bill).

Over six one-hour episodes, it tells the story of Gerhard Schulz, a German fraudster and petty criminal who is forced against his will to serve in the SS. In a story based on the real, though unrealised, plot by the Germans known as Operation Bernhard, heTV-05-06-1981 persuades his superiors to authorize a project to print counterfeit British five pound notes for the purpose of destroying the British economy. Schulz has little interest in the defeat of Britain, and simply wants to steal the forged notes, although he is also strongly motivated to help a former criminal colleague, a Jewish master forger imprisoned in a concentration camp. Other elements of the story based on the history of the period, include the Venlo incident, when two British intelligence officers were abducted from the Netherlands at the start of the war. Salon Kitty was a Berlin brothel, secretly run by the Sicherheitsdienst (the intelligence agency of the SS) to spy on its clientele, who were often prominent German government officials or military officers.

Many of the main characters are based on real people (though occasionally under a different name). Dialogue in the series is in English and in situations where Schulz interacts with English characters, his delivery is deliberate, like that of a non-native speaker not used to speaking English, or attempting to conceal his native accent. Billie Whitelaw played the role of a prostitute working in ‘The Salon Kitty’, where German officers were secretly recorded by the SS. Whitelaw’s character claimed to have a psychological block, that prevented her sleeping with any soldier below the rank of major. [Wikipedia]

 

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