Broadcast to the Empire

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"Broadcast to the Empire"
Dad's Army episode
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Monday 25/12/72
(recorded Sunday 26/11/72)
Running time 14 minutes
Episode chronology
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Broadcast to the Empire is the fourth and final Christmas Night with the Stars insert of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Monday 25 December 1972. A radio version was also made, entitled "Ten seconds from now".


The platoon are very excited as they have been chosen to take part in the BBC radio Christmas Broadcast To Absent Friends, in which they are due to perform a short play about their duty as members of the Home Guard, just before the King's speech.


The platoon are excited by the broadcast, which they will be doing from the Church Hall where a microphone and radio speaker have already been set up. There is a great deal of excitement in the platoon, though the typically cynical ARP Warden Hodges bets they will "make a right mess of it"; he then leaves to go and listen on the Verger's wireless.

During a run-through practice of the script, the BBC official, Mr. Willerby Troughton-Maxwell (who is heard from Broadcasting House over the speaker), annoys Captain Mainwaring by telling him he doesn't sound like an officer, and suggesting that he and Sergeant Wilson switch parts. Mainwaring points out very firmly "I am the officer and he is the sergeant, and that's the way it's staying!" Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Jones irritates both Troughton-Maxwell and the BBC sound engineer present at the broadcast by continually banging on the microphone.

Sergeant Wilson has to speak with a Cockney which doesn't suit him too well. The rest of the men play-up to their usual roles. The BBC sound effects team are unable to make it to the broadcast because their van has broken down, and so the platoon are forced to imitate the required coastal noises (namely wind, waves and seagulls) themselves.

Later, the platoon is ready and waiting to go on the air, but strangely nothing seems to be happening; not even the BBC engineer knows what's going on. Hodges enters to ask "What happened to you lot?" and says that the programme is all over; he has just been listening to the King's speech and that Old Mother Riley's Christmas Party is on now. Troughton-Maxwell apologises, revealing that a broadcast from Hong Kong overran and the platoon's contribution has had to be dropped, because the BBC couldn't keep His Majesty waiting. The platoon take their revenge by all banging on the microphone.

This episode was released on DVD Dads Army Christmas Special under the Extras.