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Battle School

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Battle School
Series 3, Episode 2
Air Date 18 September 1969
Written by Jimmy Perry & David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures 11.4 Million
Previous episode The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones
Next episode The Lion Has Phones
List of episodes
Battle School is the second episode of the third series of Dad's Army, which was originally transmitted on Thursday 18 September 1969.

SynopsisEdit

The platoon go on a weekend guerilla-warfare exercise. If they ever manage to find it, they have to capture Captain Rodrigues' HQ.

PlotEdit

The platoon are travelling to a battle school in the country. Save for an incident involving Godfrey's weak bladder, the journey is uneventful. It is when they arrive at the station however, that disaster strikes. Mainwaring opens the secret instructions, and it is clear that he doesn't know how to read a map. They start off confidently, but it's not long before they end up back at the station again! They try again and Mainwaring leads them into an ambush led by a rugged Captain.

When they finally reach the school, they are greeted by a cheery Major Smith, who then proceeds to tell them that, to the platoon's horror, they have missed the evening meal by four hours! He introduces them to Captain Rodrigues, a tough Spanish Captain (the captain who had lead the ambush) who fought in the Spanish Civil War and doesn't approve of military disciplines such as arm-waving. He gives Mainwaring and the platoon a single blanket each to keep them warm and some carrots and onions to eat.

Pte. Walker and L.Cprl Jones

Pte. Walker and L/Cprl Jones

Rodrigues wakes up the sleepy platoon in the morning with a thunder flash, telling them that they have missed breakfast as well! Walker is fed up with this and is determined to search for food at a nearby farm, but is scared off by the unimpressed farmer. Rodrigues hints that they will have an opportunity to capture his HQ; unfortunately no one has succeeded due to the fierce Alsatians, barbed wire and the electrified fence.

The platoon are soon put to the test, and are handed a clearly quickly made meal. As the exercise continues, Mainwaring falls down a small hill, and discovers a metal tunnel which leads to Rodriquez's HQ. Later that night, he takes the platoon through the tunnel and ends up in the stores. Walker is impressed, and it isn't long before the HQ is captured, and the platoon are full laden with food once more.

NotesEdit

  • The opening shot of the episode was taken from the film The Titfield Thunderbolt. As the film had been made some 16 years previously the train was not available for use in footage of their arrival, and so another, more local (to Thetford) train deputised. Neither originated on the South Coast, where the series is based - unlike the shots of the train interior
  • The area where the main exterior filming took place was also used for the new shots for the end credits (necessitated as the end credits for the previous two series had been filmed in black and white). A reminder of this episode was therefore present for the rest of the run of Dad's Army, with the cast walking past the trees which Rodrigues is briefly seen standing in front of with a megaphone, and the shot of the platoon running across an open heath being used at the very end of all subsequent episodes under the producer's credit.
  • The idea of the platoon getting lost on their way to a training base and subsequently missing supper and breakfast was re-used in the 1971 film.
  • The "Battle Camp" is similar to the school of guerrilla warfare that existed in Osterley Park at the beginning of the war. Like the one in the episode, the real life camp instructed Home Guardsmen in irregular warfare in case of Nazi invasion. The Osterley camp was even run by Spanish Civil War veteran Tom Wintringham, much like the one in the episode.
  • The shot of the train that the platoon travel on would later be re-used in The Day the Balloon Went Up.
  • The guise of a tunnel coming up under a stove in a cellar in a prison camp would be re-used in Don't Fence Me In

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