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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Colditz drama planned for ITV
Scene from the BBC's 1970s drama, Colditz.
Previous Colditz dramas have been big hits with the viewers
A four-part TV drama about Colditz, the infamous Nazi prisoner of war camp, is to be made later this year, programme-makers Granada have confirmed.

Costing more than 3m, the series will begin filming in the autumn in eastern Europe, ready for showing next year.

Screenwriter Peter Morgan reportedly plans to show the camp's officers in a less negative light than previous TV dramas, highlighting their "good behaviour".

Granada would not comment on the officers' portrayal, as reported in the Daily Telegraph on Monday.

But one former Colditz captive, ex-Captain Ken Lockwood, 91, told a newspaper he was upset at the prospect of commanders being portrayed sympathetically.

Former Captain Ken Lockwood, a Colditz captive
Mr Lockwood spent five years trying to flee the camp
"I certainly wouldn't describe the Germans as likeable, and I don't know any other prisoner at Colditz who would," he told the paper.

Mr Lockwood, a former Queen's Royal Regiment soldier who spent five years trying to escape, added: "They had a job to do and were very efficient at it. But we weren't their friends."

The Granada production is based on Henry Chancellor's book Colditz: The Definitive History.

It will tell of a young prisoner who breaks out and returns to London to join MI9, a secret service branch that helped escapees.

I think it's refreshing to see the German army of that period portrayed in a good light for a change
Peter Morgan, screenwriter
Screenwriter Mr Morgan, 39, is the son of a German-Jewish father and Polish mother who fled to London to escape the Nazis.

Speaking about the production, he said: "The German captors behaved extremely well at Colditz.

"They observed to the letter of the Geneva Convention, unlike other PoW camps."

He added: "I think it's refreshing to see the German Army of that period portrayed in a good light for a change."

A Granada spokeswoman said the project was still at the scripting stage, and the cast had not yet been finalised.

"It's early days yet," she said.

The production is expected to receive a large audience.

The BBC's 37-episode Colditz drama of the 1970s, starring David McCallum and Robert Wagner, pulled in big ratings.

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