During World War II, a Belgian resistance movement called Lifeline, based in Brussels, organises the return of Allied airmen who have been shot down by the Luftwaffe to the United Kingdom.


Gerard Glaister

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1979   1978   1977  
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Bernard Hepton ...  Albert Foiret 43 episodes, 1977-1979
Angela Richards Angela Richards ...  Monique Duchamps 41 episodes, 1977-1979
Clifford Rose ...  Sturmbannführer Ludwig Kessler 38 episodes, 1977-1979
Juliet Hammond Juliet Hammond ...  Natalie Chantrens 37 episodes, 1977-1979
Ron Pember Ron Pember ...  Alain Muny 28 episodes, 1977-1979
Valentine Dyall ...  Dr. Pascal Keldermans 23 episodes, 1977-1979
Michael Culver ...  Major Erwin Brandt 22 episodes, 1977-1978


During World War II, Albert Foiret runs both a café in Brussels, where locals mix with the Nazi occupation forces, and a network of the Belgian resistance called Lifeline, devoted to the evacuation of downed Allied pilots to Britain. He and his secret 'army' constantly risk their own lives and those of many others to find the pilots, hide, nurse and prepare them for the long, dangerous journey out of the Reich under the Nazis' noses. It is a never ending cat-and-mouse game against specialized German hunters, the gentlemanly Luftwaffe officer Major Erwin Brandt and the ruthless Gestapo officer Sturmbannfuhrer Ludwig Kessler, whose devotion to Hitler's cause is boundless. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War







Release Date:

7 September 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El ejército secreto See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(42 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Each of the scripts were based on real events and thoroughly researched. On several occasions throughout the series's run, the BBC would reject a script as it was deemed too accurate and potentially upsetting to audiences or too politically sensitive. See more »


Spoofed in 'Allo 'Allo! (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

It's No Secret That This A Classic Of British Television
22 May 2008 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

The 1970s was undoubtedly the golden age of British television . There were so many great shows , everything from the Jon Pertwee and early Tom Baker episodes of DOCTOR WHO , THE SWEENEY , THE PROFFESIONALS , FALWTY TOWERS and a dozen other shows that I could list off the top of my head . Perhaps that's why I'd forgotten all about SECRET ARMY a show that I've just been watching again on one of the history channels on freeview and I'm instantly reminded as to how great it was and left me me wondering slightly as to how I'd forgotten it . Actually I think I know why it's unfairly forgotten but I'll explain in a moment

What's so striking is how much thought has gone in to the series . Producer and series creator Gerald Glaister spent the second world war as a bomber pilot and this brings a personal dimension to a series like this . Imagine for a second how much inferior this drama would have been if it'd been produced today by someone from an academic media studies background . It'd almost be a parody wouldn't it ? Take notice too that each and every episode was inspired by actual events that took place during the war and how much research went in to every script . It's sad that today we rarely see if ever such thought go in to a drama

SECRET ARMY is drama ith a capital D . Even if you've little interest in the second world war you can't fail to notice the rich characterisation and intelligent writing . This greatly helps the cast and draws the audience in to on screen events as the Belgian " Lifeline " resistance try to help downed allied bomber crews escape to a neutral country where they'll eventually be repatriated to Britain . It's interesting to note that there's so much moral ambiguity involved . Series hero Albert for instance isn't only painted as a Belgian freedom loving patriot , he's also someone who accepts sums of money from the Brirtish government which helps him run an exclusive restaurant and he hates communists , not as much as his right hand man and confessed thief Max Brocard , but still someone who's not got a selfless motive for helping the allies . There's also doubt in his mind after a main character is written out of the first series in a cruelly ironic way but the money sure comes handy . Likewise the series " Good German " Major Erwin Brandt almost beats an RAF airman to death , a bomb aimer who is only saved by the intervention of gestapo chief Ludwig Kessler

Ludwig Kessler deserves his own paragraph because he is quite simply one of the greatest characters created for British television . Again imagine if he was a character created today he'd be portrayed as one of those " Ve have vays of making you talk Englander " goose stepping stereotypes . He is a three dimensional character who is obviously capable of great cruelty but who is also very intelligent and is driven by a desire to bring order to the world . He is someone who never fails to point out to the other characters " That every hour of the day and night German women and children are being murdered in large numbers by American and British terror raids " . You're not going to like him but you can understand what's motivating him . Praise too for the acting of Clifford Rose who gives a restrained and very subtle performance . Look closely and you'll notice one of Kessler's personal flaws is that he seems very lonely . You could almost feel sorry for him if he wasn't a gestapo head

So why is this show forgotten ? One reason only and that's 'ALLO 'ALLO is directly based upon it . A comedy show that ran for ten years based upon a spoof premise and endless repetitive lines like " Good moaning ... " you stupid woman " and " the madonna with the flashing boobies " YAWN . You quickly become so bored with that comedy show that you quickly forget what inspired it . Perhaps when I say you'll forget all about Renee and the camp Nazis when you watch the repeats of SECRET ARMY you will realise what a genuinely great drama it is

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