Don't Forget the Diver

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"Don't Forget the Diver"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Four
Episode 028
Directed by Harold Snoad
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Friday 2/10/70 8.00pm
(recorded Friday 24 July 1970)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Big Parade"
Next →
"Boots Boots Boots"

Don't Forget the Diver is the second episode of the fourth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Friday 2 October 1970.

Synopsis[edit]

On an exercise, the Walmington-on-Sea platoon come up with an ingenious plan to capture the windmill defended by the Eastgate platoon.

Plot[edit]

Captain Square and his two NCOs are having a drink in the local pub. Square tells the landlord the story of when he was with Lawrence of Arabia, fighting the Turks. He remarks that his golden watch saved him from dehydration - he left in his mouth for three days! He demonstrates this to the landlord just as Mainwaring and Wilson enter. Mainwaring is curious, and Wilson quips that he's 'watching his drink'. Square reminds Mainwaring of the big exercise on Sunday, and Square's sergeant remarks that all Home Guard platoons in the area are taking part.

The following parade, the platoon meet up to discuss tactics. However, the Verger is snooping around, taking notes to deliver to Captain Square because he is fed up of the way the Walmington platoon treat him. The Eastgate platoon will be defending a windmill, and the platoon have to find a way of planting a dummy bomb in the windmill without being spotted. Jones suggests a tunnel, but that is soon cast aside. Wilson suggests an idea from a Shakespeare play he once saw, where the king dressed his troops up in bushes so they could attack the offending castle. Mainwaring thinks this is a good idea.

Walker suggests a man in a diving suit to push a dummy log along the river to a convenient spot and then the 'log' can waddle over to the windmill and plant the bomb. Frazer announces that he has inherited a diving suit from a late friend of his, Wally Stewart, who died from the 'dreaded bends' due to being pulled up too quickly on his last voyage! It is eventually decided that Jones will be inside the dummy log and Frazer, in the diving suit, will push Jones along the river until he is level with the windmill, at which point he will give a tug on his lifeline. This will be the signal to announce the first diversion, which will be initiated by Walker and Wilson, by Mainwaring's bird warbler. The second diversion will be initiated by Godfrey and Walker. When Jones reaches the windmill, he will climb out of the log and plant the 'bomb'.

On the day of the exercise, the Verger is still snooping from the church graveyard. Frazer and Jones proceed to move down the river, and Mainwaring launches the first diversion. Wilson and Walker have fifteen rifles attached to poles and are marching up and down behind a wall. Frazer pushes Jones onto the bank, but he cannot get the flap open, and falls back in the river. However, the Eastgate platoon are distracted by Mainwaring's second diversion: Walker and Godfrey have put tin helmets on a flock of sheep and have taken them up to the mill. The Verger and Square are fooled into believing that the platoon are dressed up as sheep with tin helmets on!

Jones eventually reaches the windmill and proceeds to plant the 'bomb'. However, it is still attached to Jones, and when Square throws the bomb back, he gets caught up in the sails. Mainwaring proceeds to accept their surrender, but Square refuses. They notice that the sails are moving, with Jones on them - eventually, he jumps off the sails and lands in the river.

Notes[edit]

  1. The windmill sails sequence, filmed at Drinkstone, Suffolk, pays tribute to the Will Hay film Oh, Mr. Porter!
  2. The title pays homage to the wartime catchphrase of Tommy Handley in the ITMA shows, 'Don't forget the diver sir; do not forget the diver' about the character Deepend Dan.
  3. The episode sees the first appearance of Robert Raglan as Captain Square's Sergeant. He would later return in a semi-regular role as the 'Colonel'.
  4. Mainwaring says 'Stupid Boy' twice in this episode.

Cast[edit]

Radio episode[edit]

"Don’t Forget the Diver"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Two
Episode 022
Story by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles
Produced by John Dyas
Original air date 11 February 1975
(recorded 16 July 1974)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Present Arms"
Next →
"If the Caps Fits"

Synopsis[edit]

Don’t Forget the Diver is the 22nd adapted radio episode, and the first of the second radio series (after the Christmas special episode, “Present Arms”), of Dad's Army. The synopsis remains virtually unchanged from the TV episode, although there are a few minor changes in terms of actions performed by certain characters.

Plot[edit]

The Walmington-on-Sea platoon is to participate in an exercise where it is their task to plant a “bomb” inside a windmill containing Captain Square and members of the Eastgate platoon.

Captain Mainwaring has barely started briefing the men when the Verger comes in with the intention of doing some dusting, using as an excuse that “His Reverence” (the Vicar) wants it done. Though preferring not to have any distractions or interruptions, Mainwaring allows the Verger to proceed but is frustrated at his slow pace and orders him to go into the side office. Once there, the Verger, having been stung by Lance-Corporal Jones’s sarcastic remark about his “not having any trouble” maintaining a “miserable face” on the grounds that it is not possible to be a verger with a happy one, immediately rings Captain Square. It turns out that the Verger has been deliberately spying on Mainwaring’s platoon on Square’s behalf. When the Verger reports that Mainwaring’s men intend to dress up as bushes and move across open ground to the windmill, Square laughs derisively, saying “Mainwaring must be slipping!” Nevertheless, the C.O. of the Eastgate platoon takes him at his word.

However, the Verger makes the phone call before he has had the opportunity to listen to the rest of the briefing, during which Frazer, memorably, tells the tale, with the usual emotionalism in his voice, of how his friend, Wally Stewart, while underwater in the “South Seas” in an enormous diving suit, struggled against a giant squid, which Frazer allegedly killed by “plunging a knife between the eyes”, to which Jones remarks that “he [Wally] mustn’t have liked that!” Unfortunately, Wally died of the “bends”, since he had been brought back up to the surface too quickly, and made Frazer promise to forward his possessions to his mother – even if he had only the diving suit, which he then allegedly bought from Wally’s mother for ten shillings. Having allowed him to come to the end of his narrative, an unusually patient Mainwaring gives the deadpan pay-off line, “I therefore take it you’ve got a diving suit.”

The men simulate what they are going to do in the exercise, but Godfrey “nips outside” for a few minutes once he had heard Jones say “Trickle, trickle” repeatedly in order to give the impression that he was hiding in the false log being floated down the river to the windmill. Pike expresses concern to Mainwaring that Frazer’s face is turning blue in his pressurized diving suit even if Wilson keeps pumping air into it. Mainwaring soon discovers why: “Pike! You’re standing on his air pipe!!!”

On the appointed day, Square is looking out from his vantage point in the windmill as is his (unidentified) sergeant. Mainwaring signals via field telephone to Pike, who is dressed as a scarecrow, to start the diversion using a bird warbler. However, although Godfrey then sends a flock of sheep with tin helmets on into the field within Square’s field of vision, Pike is quickly surrounded by many birds, which have been attracted by the warbler. The Verger, again spying for Square, rings to tell him that Mainwaring’s men are apparently dressed as sheep with tin helmets on, only to be off-handedly dismissed by the upper-crust officer, who then remarks (to his sergeant, perhaps) that “he’s had too much communion wine!”

Mainwaring rings Pike to enquire on progress, but he reprimands the private for allegedly being told to “Go away!” when he was actually referring to the birds. Mainwaring then concedes openly to Pike that he had not thought about the consequences of using the warbler, but Pike manages to tell him that Jones, with the help of Frazer in the diving suit, has, thanks to him being concealed in the false log, reached the windmill.

Jones climbs the ladder at the side of the mill when the simulated bomb, an old alarm clock, goes off. The lance-corporal realizes that he may be discovered and throws the “bomb” into the mill, only for it to break apart. Mainwaring becomes aware of what is going on when Jones then overbalances and falls onto the water-wheel and mutters to Wilson, “He’s always had an over-inflated sense of drama.” Sensing that Jones has succeeded in his mission, Mainwaring and Wilson rush to the windmill “to accept Square’s surrender”. However, the C.O. of the Eastgate platoon refuses on the (quite valid) grounds that “had it been a real bomb, he [Jones] would’ve been blown to kingdom come!” Jones blurts out, “But I haven’t been blown to kingdom come, I’m on the water-wheel and it’s about to move!” Mainwaring dismisses Jones’s concerns about the possibility of the water-wheel moving when, not surprisingly, it does, and takes Jones round and round, including, of course, briefly underwater during each rotation. All the while, however, Mainwaring and Square are arguing like a couple of children and pay no attention to the corporal in his predicament.

Notes[edit]

As mentioned above, there were only minor changes from the original TV episode, yet there is no scene in the radio episode at all in the pub or involving Square’s survival trick with his pocket-watch.

The most recent rebroadcast of this episode on British national radio was on BBC7 on Monday, 7 December 2009.

Cast[edit]

Only two guest actors appeared in this radio episode, namely Edward Sinclair as The Verger and the actor who played Square’s sergeant.

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]