The War Behind The Wire

The Great Escape and The Road to Colditz are stories of captivity, escape and freedom told by the men who were there. During the Second World War the Germans took more than seven million prisoners. They told their captives – “For you, the war is over.” But this was not true. A new war, the war behind the wire, was about to begin. This major and critically acclaimed documentary marks the fifth collaboration between Producer Beryl Vertue and Director Michael Davies. Personal stories of hope and despair unfold throughout the films – first-hand testimony combines with archive film and extracts from famous movies to create an exciting, dramatic and moving story.

Produced by

Beryl Vertue

Written by

Michael Davies

Directed by

Michael Davies



First transmitted

10th and 17th November 2000 at 9pm


1 x 2 episodes


60 mins

Press comments

“The unmissable true story of The Great Escape, told by a handful of British survivors of Stalag Luft III… This tale has everything – bravery, drama, humour, bulldog spirit, a leader codenamed ‘Big X’ – though it is inescapably a true story that will end in tears.” The Daily Mail

“This true story of [the captured Allies’] mass escape attempt is even more stunning than the classic film.” The Sun

“Last night’s programme was extraordinary – sad and tender… Listening to them talk through their tears, it was extraordinarily moving.” The Daily Express


BBC Worldide in Canada, Discovery Asia, Discovery Australasia, Discovery India, Eire, Israel, Italy, Latin America, Qatar, UK Horizons, US, Video On Demand.