|Written by||Jack Pulman|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|First shown in||1981|
Private 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, Billie Whitelaw, Billy Murray and Mark Wingett.
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, he 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 (then neutral) Netherlands at the very start of the war, and Salon Kitty. This was a Berlin brothel which was secretly run by the Sicherheitsdienst (the intelligence agency of the SS) for the purpose of spying on its wealthy clients, who were often prominent German government officials or military officers. Additionally, many of the main characters are based on real people (though occasionally under a different name). All dialogue spoken during the series is in English, however in situations when 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.
The series starred Billie Whitelaw as a prostitute working in 'The Salon Kitty', where German officers were secretly recorded by the SS in the prostitutes' bedrooms. Whitelaw's character claimed to have a psychological block that prevented her sleeping with any soldier below the rank of major.
The screenplay was by Jack Pulman. He died in 1979 before any filming had taken place. In 1982, he was posthumously awarded a writers award by The Royal Television Society for his work on Private Schulz.
- Private Gerhard Schulz - Michael Elphick
- Major Neuheim - Ian Richardson
- Bertha Freya - Billie Whitelaw
- Gertrude Steiner - Rula Lenska
- Iphraim Solly Solikoff - Cyril Shaps
- Schumacher - Terence Suffolk
- Professor Bodelschwingh - David Swift
- Herr Krauss - Ken Campbell