TV UK TV

Private Schulz (BBC-2 1981, Michael Elphick, Ian Richardson)

Private Schulz Ian Richardson, Michael Elphick

Gerhardt Schulz is a petty fraudster who after a couple of spells in prison finds himself, when the second world war breaks out, the now Private Schultz is drafted into the SS, because he can speak five different languages. Assigned to work with power mad Major Neuheim, Schulz hits upon a plot to flood the UK with fake five pound notes (his main motivation is to try and tempt Salon Kitty hostess Bertha Freyer into his bed). The five pound notes are so successful that they may as well be the real thing. Neuheim decides that Schulz must personally go to England and put two million pounds worth of the notes into circulation.

Parachuting into the England countryside, wearing a bowler hat and plus fours, he meets his new contact who bears a striking resemblance to Major Neuheim! When he realises that he is being used, Schulz buries the two million pounds and heads back to Europe in a stolen boat only to get caught up in the landings at dunkirk. Making his getaway he finds himself in an apparently deserted mansion in the French countryside.

Private Schulz, Ian Richardson

The always fabulous Ian Richardson plays multiple roles in Private Schulz.

Rounded up by the Gestapo Schulz is soon back with Neuheim and when he fears that Neuheim is about to close the forgery operation comes up with a new idea to use the English money to fund the purchase of all manner of priceless antiques and art, Schultz of course hopes to make his fortune but ends up in a prison camp instead.

After the war is over Schulz heads back to England determined to recover the buried loot only to discover that a public lavatory has been built over the spot where he buried it. He teams up with Scottish ex-con Stan (also played by Ian Richardson!)

Private Schulz is just superb, one of the very best comedy dramas of the 1980’s. Fantastic all round, brilliant, witty, clever dialogue, stand out performances especially from the always brilliant Richardson and Michael Elphick in the lead and with elements of high farce amongst the drama. There was great use of newsreel at the beginning of each episode to show what stage the war is at.

UK / BBC Two – ABC / 6×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 6 May – 10 June 1981

Writer: Jack Pulman / Music: Carl Davis / Production Design: Spencer Chapman / Producer: Philip Hinchcliffe / Director: Robert Chetwyn

cast
MICHAEL ELPHICK as Private Gerhardt Schulz
IAN RICHARDSON as Major Neuheim
BILLIE WHITELAW as Bertha Freyer
CYRIL SHAPS as Solly
DAVID SWIFT as Professor Bodelschwingh
KEN CAMPBELL as Krauss
GAWN GRAINGER as Hitler
RULA LENSKA as Gertrude
JOHN MOFFATT as Kalten Brunner
JOHN SAVIDENT as Globke
MICHAEL DENISON as Browne
RAY HASSETT as Lt Carson
ERNEST CLARK as Fritsch
JOHN JUDD as Warden
TREVOR T. SMITH as Captain Ohm
JOHN CORDING as Kube
TERENCE SUFFOLK as Schumacher
WALTER SPARROW as Becker
VERNON DOBTCHEFF as Sturmer
DARLENE JOHNSON as Kitty
MICHAEL WELLS as Withers
TREVOR JONES as First Officer
ALLA SHAROVA as Violinist
PAM ST CLEMENT as Frau Bodelschwingh
CAROLINE BLAKISTON as Countess
DEREK NEWARK as Publican
FANNY CARBY as Publican’s Wife
MICHAEL BARRINGTON as Sam Maynard
HUGH WALTERS as Bus Conductor
ERIC CARTE as Barnes
GEOFFREY LUMSDEN as Old Military Gentleman
MICHAEL BILTON as Hotel Porter
ROY MONTAGUE as Undertaker
RON WELLING as Ernie
JOHN J CARNEY as Joe
ROBERT McBAIN as Army Captain
EAMONN BOYCE as Sergeant Major
IAN THOMPSON, MIKE SAVAGE as Policemen
CLIVE MERRISON as Kruger
DEREK MARTIN as Gruber
MARK WINGETT as Schmidt
JACK SOUTAR as First Guard
IAN PATRICK as Second Guard
BILLY MURRAY as Fred
DECLAN MULHOLLAND as Harry
ROGER LLOYD PACK as Melvyn
RICHARD COLEMAN as Police Inspector
EVE BLAND as Daisy
HOWARD GOORNEY as Pawnbroker
TONY CAUNTER as Prison Warden
NANCY NEVINSON as Frau Ehrlich
ROBERT CARTLAND as Man at Bus Stop