Lt. Fairfax and Lt. Carstairs

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RAF Flying Officer Gavin Fairfax
'Allo 'Allo! character
First appearance Pilot: The British Are Coming
Last appearance A Winkle in Time
Portrayed by John D. Collins
Information
Occupation Royal Air Force Officer
Nationality British
RAF Flying Officer "Bumbly" Carstairs
'Allo 'Allo! character
First appearance Pilot: The British Are Coming
Last appearance A Winkle in Time
Portrayed by Nicholas Frankau
Information
Occupation Royal Air Force Officer
Nationality British

RAF Flight Lieutenants Fairfax and Carstairs are fictional characters in the BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, which ran from 1982 to 1992. They were portrayed by the actors John D. Collins and Nicholas Frankau, respectively.

The programme's pilot episode told that they had been shot down over Nazi-occupied France and later found by the Resistance. Resistance-leader Michelle forced René Artois, owner of Café René, to keep the airmen in hiding after the owner of their previous safe house had been shot. They were never officially discovered by the Germans, despite the fact that the town commandant Colonel von Strohm knew all about them. Every attempt by the Resistance to repatriate them ended in failure, and they had to remain in hiding throughout the entire show.

Often they would hide in a secret compartment under the bar or in a wardrobe in the bedroom of Rene's mother-in-law. It was under her bed that the pilots hid a wireless radio and the bedknobs would flash whenever there was an incoming signal, much to the old lady's discomfort. Usually, when their hiding place was opened, they would say with a very British accent, 'Hello!' and then they would answer the wireless or do whatever else they needed to do.

As they couldn't speak French, their oft-heard phrase of "What did he/she say?" became a running gag. This phrase often followed enthusiastic head-nodding at what the French characters were saying, as the pilots pretended to understand. They could communicate only with Michelle of the Resistance (and later with British Intelligence Agent "officer" Crabtree), who fortunately could speak fluent English.

One of their many bizarre French disguises involved them being draped in onions. Once, when cycling along the road dressed as French onion-sellers, the two were aware that everyone was regarding them in a puzzled manner. They eventually realised that they were riding on the British, i.e. the 'wrong', side of the road.

Fairfax's first name is Gavin and it is possible that Carstair's first name is "Bumbly" (though this may be a nickname): in the episode The Gateau from the Chateau, Fairfax talks to his mother on the radio and says:

"It's me, Gavin ... I'm with Bumbly Carstairs..."

Fairfax has a girlfriend back home called Daphne who occasionally passes message via the wireless, usually ending in 'Yours Faithfully, Daphne'. It is insinuated that she is having an affair with his commanding officer 'Randy' Hargreaves, but he appears too simple to work it out.

They both made a brief appearance in The Return of 'Allo 'Allo! (hiding under the bar). In the novelisation Allo Allo!: The Complete War Diaries of Rene Artois by John Haselden we learn that Fairfax remained in hiding for some years after the war, refusing to believe that the conflict was really over. He eventually married the café waitress Yvette Carte-Blanche with whom he had a son, René.