My British Buddy

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"My British Buddy"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Six
Episode 055
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Wednesday 7/11/73 6.50pm
(recorded Friday 8/6/73)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Deadly Attachment"
Next →
"The Royal Train"

My British Buddy is the second episode of the sixth series of the British television sitcom Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on BBC 1 on Wednesday 7 November 1973.

Synopsis[edit]

Following Pearl Harbor, the Americans have, at last, decided to join the fight against Nazism, and the first small contingent of troops arrives in Walmington-on-Sea. Mainwairing tells them to make themselves at home, which they promptly do - with the platoon's girlfriends. When the British are told they don't know the right temperature to serve beer, and the Americans are told they don't know when to enter a war, a fight breaks out. A photographer from the local paper is on hand to record the special relationship...

Plot[edit]

The Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard unit has received exciting news; as Captain Mainwaring puts it, the long dark tunnel is now illuminated by a bright light shining for all to see. He is not, as Pvt. Pike initially believes, referring to the blackout, but to the arrival of the Americans in the war (and not before time, according to certain members of the platoon). A detachment of American troops will be arriving in Walmington-on-Sea within the week, and the Home Guard intend to treat them to a traditional British welcome. It is Lance Corporal Jones who has the brilliant idea (arrived at following a characteristically long-winded anecdote about a spear-throwing contest during his military service in the Sudan) of treating their visitors to a darts match in the local pub, to which the platoon will bring their girlfriends along.

All initially goes well with the meeting of two nations. Mainwaring is surprised by the informality of the American Colonel Schultz (who greets the British officer with a cheery "Howdy partner, put it there!"), and the Colonel is somewhat nonplussed by both Pvt. Frazer's unique rendition of a Robert Burns poem (with strategic updating and references to Hitler) and Jones' complicated explanation of where the term 'limeys' originated, but all seems to be going well, with a number of pleasing propaganda photos taken. It starts to go wrong, of course, when the American soldiers are told to make themselves feel at home - and thus immediately start flirting with the Home Guard soldier's girlfriends, who all promptly forget about their boyfriends when faced with the attention of the handsome, sexy young Americans. Matters are not helped by the ungracious American response to warm beer and the lack of scotch due to war privations, and when Warden Hodges struts in and begins telling the Americans that their late entry into both the First and Second World War is not greatly appreciated, it doesn't take long for a fight to break out.

The next day, Mainwaring (having earned a black eye as the first person to get hit in the fight) is ordered by his superiors to make a formal apology to the Americans, and thus restore Anglo-American relations and offset any potential German propaganda value out of the fight. Resentful at being made the scapegoat, he intends to make a formal statement detailing how his platoon were not responsible for the violence; but as every member of the platoon (even, surprisingly, Pvt. Godfrey) was a more than willing participant in the fight, it soon becomes a moot gesture.

Mainwaring is surprised, however, by the arrival of the Colonel Schultz - who, having learnt the extent of British hardship during the war, and somewhat ashamed of his earlier ungraciousness, has arrived to offer his own apologies on behalf of his unit, and to give the men a gift of chocolate. This would seem to be repairing the friendly relations - but then, the Home Guard learn of a dance in the American mess to which their girlfriends are all invited. It doesn't take long for Jones to provoke the Colonel to violence once again - or for Mainwaring to receive yet another black eye.

Notes[edit]

  • The arrival of the American troops in Britain places this episode some time in 1942. In reality the first American troops were stationed in Northern Ireland.
  • The Warden offends the American Colonel by suggesting they have made an "improvement on last time", the United States having entered the last war "three years late" in 1917, whereas this time they are "only two and a half years late" (war having broken out in Europe in September 1939).
  • Alan Tilvern who plays Colonel Schultz also played Captain Rodriguez in Battle School
  • This episode marks Talfryn Thomas' first appearance in Dad's Army

Cast[edit]