My Brother and I

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"My Brother and I"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Episode 073
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Friday 26/12/75 6.05pm
(recorded Friday 23/5/75 and Saturday 24/5/75)
Running time 40 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Face on the Poster"
Next →
"The Love of Three Oranges"

My Brother and I is the second Christmas episode of the British comedy series Dad's Army. It was originally transmitted on Friday 26 December 1975. The episode is notable for the dual role played by Arthur Lowe, in his regular role of Captain Mainwaring and Mainwaring's estranged brother Barry.

Synopsis[edit]

Just as Captain Mainwaring gives the go ahead for a sherry party, his drunken brother Barry turns up to spoil the occasion.

Plot[edit]

As Mainwaring and the platoon return from an exhilarating route march, he discovers Wilson reading Pike's Hotspur magazine. There is a letter written in Pike's handwriting hidden amongst the pages. Mainwaring reads it and is instantly disgusted. He convenes an impromptu parade, where he confronts Pike about the letter, and asks Wilson to read it. It says that the Home Guard will only spot any parachutists if they land in a public house, and that their section made sure there were no parachutists in eleven pubs in two hours! Mainwaring makes the platoon promise that he won't hear any more stories about his men drinking. He goes on to say that he has offered to be the host for a sherry party for local civil dignitaries and army officers. Jones' section (sans Frazer, because he's interviewing a client in Eastbourne) volunteer themselves as stewards. When they leave, Mainwaring praises his men, declaring them indispensable. Wilson asks if Mainwaring was harsh about the public house business, but Mainwaring doesn't think he was, and blames it on the way he was brought up: every member of his family knew when to stop.

Meanwhile, on board a train carriage, a drunken figure with more than a passing resemblance to Mainwaring downs a bottle of Scotch. The train stops at Eastbourne, and Frazer joins the man in the carriage, and quickly learns that the drunken man is Mainwaring's black sheep brother Barry, and that he is on his way to Walmington to collect a watch that, he claims, Mainwaring stole from him after their father's demise. Frazer is more than happy to tell Mainwaring that his brother's in town.

A few days later, Mainwaring tells Wilson that he's not ashamed of his brother, but he feels that he let his talents go to waste, while he became a respected and trustworthy figure who can look the world full in the face. Barry rings and Mainwaring declines the call, leaving it to Wilson. Mainwaring tells Wilson to tell Barry that he'll meet him at the Red Lion inn.

When he gets there, he confronts Barry about the watch. Barry claims that their father intended to give Barry the watch for looking after him. Mainwaring scoffs at his attempts to look after their father, and refuses to hand over the watch. Barry blackmails his brother by saying that he'll show him up at the sherry party if he doesn't. Mainwaring reluctantly hands over the watch, getting Barry's solemn oath that he'll be out of Walmington on the 9:30 train.

The party goes well until Barry unexpectedly arrives, wanting to apologise for his earlier behaviour, and gets into a lengthy chat with Chief Warden Hodges, the Vicar and the Verger. Pike drags him into the dressing room, giving him a bottle of sherry to himself, in exchange for keeping his mouth shut. Mainwaring arrives, and Hodges gleefully tells him that he had a chat with his brother. Mainwaring is shocked and asks Wilson, Frazer, Jones, Sponge and Pike to get him out as soon as possible.

They try shoving him through the window, but he is too fat, so they carry a comatose Barry out in an empty cupboard. Wilson admits to Mainwaring that he retrieved the watch for him, but Mainwaring's heart of gold allows him to give the watch back to Wilson, and tells Wilson to give it back to Barry and wish him well.

Notes[edit]

There is only one scene where both Mainwaring brothers appear on screen at the same time. This is set in the bedroom at the Red Lion hotel where Barry is staying. Barry spends most of the scene sitting or lying on his bed whereas Captain Mainwaring stays close to the door. The camera angles during the scene are usually set so that only one of the brothers is seen at once, the other speaking out of vision, allowing Arthur Lowe to pre-record his dialogue for the unseen brother. Where both brothers are on screen at once there is a tell-tale fringing evident around the foot of Barry's bed indicating that CSO has been used to create the composite shot. During later scenes in the episode at the platoon party in the church hall, Barry leaves the action just before Captain Mainwaring enters, and vice-versa. The two day recording schedule indicates the complex nature of the episode arising from Arthur Lowe's dual role.

Cast[edit]