A Vital Flaw by Neville Watchurst

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BBC Radio 7, 5 September 2009
Another foray into Nazi political history: listening to this production, I wondered why so many dramatists still choose this subject, even though the Second World War ended sixty-five years ago. Is it because of the larger-than-life personalities who dominated the regime? Or is the "don't mention the war" spirit that still pervades British popular culture, even though it is nearly thirty-five years since Basil Fawlty immortalized the phrase? The fact that Armstrong and Miller have created two spoof military officers - with strong echoes of British films of the 1940s and 1950s - in their current BBC One comedy series suggests that the second explanation is perhaps more likely.
A Vital Flaw focused on an unlikely relationship between Heinrich Himmler (John Duttine) and Dr. Kirsten (Martin Jarvis), a Dutch doctor who was initially imported into Germany to treat the Nazi officer's stomach pains. Kirsten discovered to his cost that he was unable to return home, as Himmler demanded almost constant attention - both medical and psychological - from him.
The action unfolded on two levels: many Nazi officers were jealous of Kirsten's almost Svengali-like hold over Himmler, particularly when the doctor was delegated to negotiate with the Allies in the last years of the War. At the same time Kirsten found himself gradually being sucked into the Nazi war machine - despite his protestations of neutrality, he became identified as a collaborator. At the end of hostilities Kirsten found himself hoist by his own petard; although personally responsible for freeing hundreds of Allies prisoners, he was forced to emigrate to Sweden on pain of death. No one - especially the Allies - trusted him any more. A Vital Flaw examined the pitfalls of trying to do good for someone, especially during wartime when friends often proved instinguishable from enemies. The director was Sue Wilson.