During World War 1 major Errol Phipps is determined to escape from Stalag Luft 112B but his attempts all fail. However all the other prisoners and the guards succeed, leaving him alone in ... See full summary »
During World War 1 major Errol Phipps is determined to escape from Stalag Luft 112B but his attempts all fail. However all the other prisoners and the guards succeed, leaving him alone in the camp to make elaborate plans - including a tunnel system so extensive it becomes the Munich Underground. He is so obsessed with his escape plans he fails to realise that the war has ended and dies a disappointed man. He does however manage to escape from his grave after he has been buried though. Written by
don @ minifie-1
When this was originally broadcast in 1977, it lacked a laugh track ( the previous episodes did not ) and subsequently came across as a bit flat. For the repeats, a laugh track was added. With Terry Hughes having moved on, 'Goodies' producer Jim Franklin took his place.
'Escape From Stalag Luft 112 B' is, as you may already have gathered, a send-up of P.O.W. movies such as 'The Colditz Story'. Palin plays 'Major Phipps', a British officer determined at all costs to escape from Germany and get back to Blighty to resume the fight against the Bosche. So determined is he that he makes escape attempts repeatedly, including three on the way to the prison camp. His fellow prisoners don't seem particularly keen to go with him. The opening scene has Phipps trying to waken his fellow officers in the middle of the night, only to be met with apathy. Then comes the morning when he wakes up to find the others have all escaped, and that he is the only P.O.W. left in the place...
Even with a laugh track, this does not come across as particularly funny. Part of the problem is that it is a bit too similar to 'Tomkinson's Schooldays' ( which also had Palin trying to escape from a terrifying establishment ). The genre itself has been parodied extensively, ranging from the excellent film 'Very Important Person' in 1960 to 'The Dick Emery Show' and David Nobbs' 'Stalag Luft', which starred Stephen Fry. Palin and Jones are not able to bring a fresh perspective to the subject. Still, there are some good moments, and the late Roy Kinnear makes a welcome guest appearance as 'Vogel'. David Griffin ( later to appear in 'Hi-de-Hi' and 'Keeping Up Appearances' ) and John Phillips also are on view. One of the Germans is called 'Biolek', possibly named after Alfred Biolek, the television executive who brought the Pythons to Germany.
Funniest moment - Phipps being woken in the middle of the night by the Germans, who shyly ask him if they can accompany him on his next escape!
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