Battle School (Dad's Army)

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TV episode[edit]

"Battle School"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Three
Episode 014
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Thursday 18/9/69 7.30pm
(recorded Sunday 1/6/69)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones"
Next →
"The Lion Has Phones"

Battle School is the second episode of the third series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Thursday 18 September 1969.

Synopsis[edit]

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

Plot[edit]

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 find themselves back at the station. 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 led 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.

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 what was clearly a quickly-made meal. As the exercise continues, Mainwaring falls down a hole, and discovers Rodrigues' 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.

Notes[edit]

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 in front of which the Spanish Captain is briefly seen standing holding a megaphone, and the shot of the platoon running across an open heath was 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.

Cast[edit]

Historic Background[edit]

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.

Radio episode[edit]

"Battle School"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series One
Episode 010
Story by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles
Produced by John Dyas
Original air date Monday 1/4/74, 6.15pm
(recorded Thursday 28/6/73)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Operation Kilt"
Next →
"Under Fire"

References[edit]

  • Croft, David; Perry, Jimmy; Webber, Richard (2000). The Complete A-Z of Dad’s Army. Orion. ISBN 0-7528-4637-X. 

External links[edit]