Don't Fence Me In (Dad's Army)
|"Don't Fence Me In"|
|Dad's Army episode|
|Episode no.||Series Four
|Directed by||David Croft|
|Story by||Jimmy Perry and David Croft|
|Produced by||David Croft|
|Original air date||Friday 23 October 1970
(recorded 10 July 1970)
|Running time||30 minutes|
Don't Fence Me In is the fifth episode of the fourth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Friday 23 October 1970.
When the platoon are detailed to replace regular troops guarding the local prisoner-of-war camp, Walker spies a source for cheap labour.
Mainwaring is on the phone to GHQ, and it is clear he isn't happy. He doesn't think his men will appreciate being taken off active duty for the next two weekends to relieve the troops at an Italian POW camp, and he's quite right. As they march towards the camp, Mainwaring reminds them to set a good example by looking nice and smart.
However, when they arrive, they find no one there. They interrogate a POW, but they have no luck until he opens the front gate. He and Wilson arrive at the main hut, and confront the Italian general lounging in a wooden chair. He tells them that the regular troops have already left, and he has placed himself in charge!
Jones' section come into the hut, and the General immediately recognises Walker and hugs him and kisses him in the traditional Continental greeting. Mainwaring is perturbed by this, but Walker denies all knowledge of ever meeting him before. It is clear that Mainwaring isn't convinced. He orders Jones to group the POWs together for some drill. However, his knowledge of Italian isn't perfect, and the POWs end up crashing into the fence!
That evening, Walker is skulking about outside the POW hut, where he meets the Italian General. He tells Walker that it is too risky to keep doing whatever they're doing. Walker insists that they'll get the POWs out in the escape tunnel and they'll have the radios working by dawn. They arrange to meet later, and sneak away, not knowing that Godfrey, who had been caught short, has overheard their conversation and alerts Mainwaring.
The platoon gather outside the hut with the tunnel, and rush in. But it's too late, they have already escaped through the tunnel. Pike deduces that it's underneath the stove, and he's right. Mainwaring takes Pike and Jones through the tunnel, while Wilson, Godfrey and Frazer will try to stop Walker from loading the men in the van.
They confront Walker outside the van, and Walker admits that he is using them as cheap labour to get some radios repaired for some clients. Mainwaring still hasn't arrived by this time, so Wilson and Walker travel down the tunnel to help Mainwaring out. But it is Jones who saves the day, by prodding Mainwaring with his bayonet!
Suddenly, they see Captain Bailey arrive, and Mainwaring remembers that he rang GHQ about the regular troops' departure. After listening to Walker's explanation, Mainwaring orders Walker and Wilson to take the POWs back through the tunnel, and tries to stall Captain Bailey from entering the hut, but it is no use, he enters the hut before Wilson and Walker arrive with the POWs. Jones is determined to bluff their way out, so following an idea from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, they send the same prisoners round again and again, but their plan is ruined when the missing POWs emerge from underneath the stove!
- The episode title is drawn from the song of the same name.
- A number of references are made to opera in this episode. Mainwaring complains about "guarding a lot of comic-opera soldiers", while Godfrey, when first trying to communicate with the Italians, says "your tiny hands are frozen, come and warm them by the fire" - which is from the opera La Bohème. It is the only Italian he knows.
- Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring
- John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson
- Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones
- John Laurie as Private Frazer
- James Beck as Private Walker
- Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey
- Ian Lavender as Private Pike
- Edward Evans as General Monteverdi
- John Ringham as Captain Bailey
- Larry Martyn as Italian POW
- Croft, David; Perry, Jimmy; Webber, Richard (2000). The Complete A-Z of Dad’s Army. Orion. ISBN 0-7528-4637-X.