Broadcast to the Empire

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"Broadcast to the Empire"
Dad's Army episode
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Monday 25/12/72
(recorded Sunday 26/11/72)
Running time 14 minutes
Episode chronology
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Broadcast to the Empire is the fourth (and final) Christmas Night with the Stars sketch of the British television comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Monday 25 December 1972.[1] A radio version was also made, entitled Ten Seconds From Now (This was the last radio episode made).


The platoon are very excited as they have been chosen to take part in the BBC Radio Christmas Broadcast To Absent Friends, in which they are due to perform a short play about their duty as members of the Home Guard, just before the King's speech.


The platoon are excited by the broadcast, which they will be performing from the church hall where a microphone and radio speaker have already been set up. There is a great deal of excitement in the platoon, though the typically cynical Chief ARP Warden Hodges bets they will "make a right mess of it"; he then leaves to go and listen on the Verger's wireless.

During a run-through practice of the script, the BBC producer, Mr. Willerby Troughton-Maxwell (who is heard from Broadcasting House over the speaker), annoys Captain Mainwaring by telling him he doesn't sound like an officer, and suggesting that he and Sergeant Wilson switch parts. Mainwaring points out very firmly "I am the officer and he is the sergeant, and that's the way it's staying!" Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Jones irritates both Troughton-Maxwell and the BBC sound engineer present at the broadcast by continually banging on the microphone.

Sergeant Wilson has to speak with a Cockney accent which doesn't suit him too well. The rest of the men play-up to their usual roles. The BBC sound effects team are unable to make it to the broadcast because their van has broken down, and so the platoon are forced to imitate the required coastal noises (namely wind, waves and seagulls) themselves.

Later, the platoon is ready and waiting to go on the air, but strangely nothing seems to be happening; not even the BBC engineer knows what's going on. Hodges enters to ask "What happened to you lot?" and says that the programme is all over; he has just been listening to the King's speech and that "Old Mother Riley's Christmas Party is on now". Troughton-Maxwell apologises, revealing that a preceding broadcast from Hong Kong overran and the platoon's contribution has had to be dropped, because the BBC couldn't keep His Majesty waiting. The platoon take their revenge by all banging repeatedly on the microphone.


  • This sketch exists in the BBC Archives and was released on the BBC DVD Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials and can be found in the "Extras" menu.[2] along with the 1969 sketch.
  • This was recorded the same day as A Brush With The Law


  1. ^ Pertwee, Bill (7 September 2009). Dad's Army (The Making of a Television Legend). Conway. p. 182. ISBN 978-1844861057. 
  2. ^ Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials. BBC. 12 November 2007.