Vyfster

TV series, 1982-1986

Prison drama described as a series of "dramatised documentaries" based on real events in South African prisons over 75 years. The series follows the lives of the inmates and wardens of Pretoria Central Prison and in particular the hero, Skollie and his constant escape attempts. After two series, the story was concluded in a film called Vyfster, Die Slot, which follows Skollie's battle to find his son despite the scheming of his enemies inside and outside prison.

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Production summary: 

Premiere date:

13 October 1982

Channel:

TV1

Language:

Afrikaans

Genre:

Drama series

Number of series:

2

Number of episodes:

14

Production company:

Kinnerland; Brigadiers

Director:

Regardt van den Bergh; Sias Odendaal

Writer:

Hennie Human; Johann Potgieter

Based on:

Real stories from prisons across South Africa

Translation of title:

"Five Star"

Cast and Crew: 

ActorCharacterSeries
George BallotPeter Andrew "Skollie" WilliamsSeries 1-2
Paul EilersPolkaSeries 1-2
Emgee Pretorius"Priester" ErikSeries 1-2
Danie JoubertHendrik le RouxSeries 1-2
Pierre KnoessenGerrie PrinslooSeries 1-2
Patrick MynhardtPappaSeries 1-2

Cathy Beard

Wilma le RouxSeries 1-2

Crew
Regardt van den BerghDirector, series 1
Sias OdendaalProducer, series 1-2; Director, series 2
Hennie HumanWriter, series 1
Johann PotgieterWriter, series 2
Lesley MannellProducer, series 1; Executive producer, series 2
Albie VenterExective producer, series 2
KinnerlandProduction company, series 1-2
BrigadiersProduction company, series 2

Steven White

Editing, series 1; Assistant director, series 2
Cobus RossowScript co-worker, series 2
Lloyd RossSound, series 1; Music, series 1-2
Bill JacquesSound, series 2
George BallotDialogue traning, series 2

Theme song: 

Episodes: 

Series 1

Episode 1
Original air date: 13 October 1982

Hendrik le Roux is sentenced to three years in prison for fraud. It doesn't take long to realise that the world inside prison is every bit as corrupt as the world outside. How long will he be able to withstand the pressures and scheming of gang leaders Priester and Pappa, arch-scoundrel Skollie and backstabbing Polka?

Episode 2
Original air date: 20 October 1982

There’s great excitement about the annual boxing tournament, which presents inmates with the perfect opportunity for all sorts of smuggling activities. When his plotting with Tiger goes wrong, Pappa is furious.

Episode 3
Original air date: 27 October 1982

Tiger and Skollie are planning an escape. They come across a stash of dagga in a steel pipe. Pappa and Priester put Polka under pressure to find the missing drugs. They suspect Le Roux and decide to teach him a lesson: first he gets assaulted in the shower, then a file is planted in his cell.

Episode 4
Original air date: 3 November 1982

After their escape, Tiger and Skollie hide out at Tiger’s wife’s house. Meanwhile, Polka is under pressure from Priester and Pappa to find out where the two escaped men are.

Episode 5
Original air date: 10 November 1982

It seems that Polka’s trap for Gerrie Prinsloo is working. Skollie and Tiger realise that the outcome of the boxing match, as well as the disappearance of Polka and Pappa’s dagga, have created lots of trouble for them.

Series 2

Episode 1
Original air date: 9 July 1986

Former prison guard Gerrie Prinsloo is sentenced to two years in prison for accepting a bribe from Polka. It seems that Spyker Malan knows a lot more about Pappa than Pappa would like. Skollie is obsessed with seeing his son, but has no idea what the boy’s surname is. Henrik le Roux fears his release.

Episode 2
Original air date: 16 July 1986

Skollie believes that his son is coming to visit him and tries to sort out a few gifts. He’s also planning a “Comrades marathon” and wastes no time in recruiting Hendrik and Gerrie for his team. Bets for the event cause a confrontation between Pappa and Priester. Meanwhile, Roelof is planning his third escape to earn his so-called “Springbok status”.

Episode 3
Original air date: 23 July 1986

Freek and Frik are planning to escape during the Comrades and Spyker is drawn into their plans. The special cake for the Comrades winning team land in the wrong hands and almost cause a war.

Episode 4
Original air date: 30 July 1986

Wrestler Big Bull arrives in prison and Skollie wastes no time in trying to gain from the situation. Prison cook Ertjies get rejected by Pappa and his gang, which leads to a hostage situation. Hendrik becomes a target for Priester’s dagga smuggling.

Episode 5
Original air date: 6 August 1986

Exam papers are stolen from Prof’s cell and sold to the inmates. Skollie is once again preparing himself for a possible visit from his son. Hendrik discovers that his wife is having an affair. Priester and Skollie are planning a wrestling match between Big Bull and Punkie – with disastrous consequences for Skollie.

Episode 6
Original air date: 13 August 1986

Finale. Hendrik escapes and the prison head has to act quickly to prevent a family murder. Priester’s plans to smuggle Gabba out of prison are thwarted. Skollie’s past is revealed, with surprising consequences.

Sources: 

  • Janek Szymanowski, Vyfster-regisseur! Radio en TV Dagboek, 7-13 Junie 1982, pp.14-17.
  • James Jenkins, Vyfster, Die Slot. Keur, 19 September 1986, p.34.