Ring Dem Bells

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"Ring Dem Bells"
Dad's Army episode
Ring dem bells.jpg
"Do you mean to say you've dragged us—front-line troops—on a fool's errand like this?"
The platoon, dressed up as Nazi paratroopers for a film, are informed shooting has been postponed. The episode was noted for Ian Lavender's performance as Pike pretending to be a German officer.
Episode no. Series Eight
Episode 067
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Friday 5/9/75 8.00pm
(recorded Thursday 3 July 1975)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
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"Turkey Dinner"
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"When You've Got to Go"

"Ring Dem Bells" is the first episode of the eighth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army, originally broadcast on 5 September 1975. Location filming took place in Norfolk in the summer of 1975 and the studio scenes were recorded at BBC Television Centre on 3 May 1975.[1] The title is a references to the Duke Ellington's 1930 song of the same name.

In the episode, the platoon are going to be featured in a film to help the war effort, but are annoyed to find they are playing the Nazis. Chaos ensues when they are mistaken for real German soldiers, triggering an invasion alert.

The episode is particularly noted for Ian Lavender's performance as which Private Pike pretends to be a German officer. BBC Audience research at the time stated that he had "surpassed himself" in a story which had given him the "chance to display his versatility and comedy talent".[2] Ian Lavender has since stated that this is one of his favourite episodes.[3]

Plot[edit]

The platoon are to be featured in a film to help the war effort. Private Pike, a keen cinema-goer, is very excited but once the film producers arrive to measure them for uniforms, it becomes clear that the platoon are going to be playing the Nazis. Despite his protests, Captain Mainwaring is informed that they will be only in the distance anyway. Mainwaring is measured for his uniform, but they do not have an officer's uniform to fit him. Instead, Wilson and Pike are chosen to be the officers. Mainwaring is excused from appearing in the film by the Colonel.

In the next scene, the platoon are dressed as German soldiers for their parts. Pike is enjoying his turn as an officer, goosestepping around and acting like the German officers he has seen at the cinema. Mainwaring informs the platoon that they must stay inside Jones' van to avoid being spotted and creating an alarm.

Once they reach the filming location, they are met by the producer who says that the filming has been postponed due to a problem with the lead actors, much to Mainwaring's disgust. Mainwaring halts outside the "Six Bells" public house to telephone Headquarters. Pike sees the pub and persuades Wilson that, now they are officers, they should all go for a drink. Thus the platoon converge upon the pub dressed as Nazis, much to the shock of the landlord. The landlord tells his barmaid to warn the village.

Mainwaring discovers what has happened and orders the men outside, where they are met by an angry mob. They accuse Mainwaring of being a quisling. The landlord telephones Walmington to tell the Home Guard that Nazis are heading that way. Unfortunately, the telephone is answered by Hodges and the Vicar, who assume the landlord is drunk. After seeing the backs of the platoon, who are still dressed as Nazis they decide to sound the alarm by ringing the church bells.

Wilson realises what has happened and Mainwaring tells Pike to phone Headquarters to inform them it isn't an invasion. Pike returns laughing to inform Mainwaring that the whole south coast was on red alert and the Brigadier himself wanted to know what "blithering idiot" was responsible. Pike informs Mainwaring that he has made him an appointment to see the Brigadier on Monday.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McCann, Dad's Army (Fourth Estate, 2001), 244
  2. ^ McCann, Dad's Army (Fourth Estate, 2001) 198.
  3. ^ Richard Webber, Dad's Army: A Celebration (Virgin Publishing, 1997)