Getting the Bird

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"Getting the Bird"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Five
Episode 044
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date 27/10/72 6.50pm
(recorded Friday 2/6/72)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Soldier's Farewell"
Next →
"The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones"

Getting the Bird is the fourth episode of the fifth series of the British television situation comedy Dad's Army and was originally transmitted on 27 October 1972.


Wilson is missing from the platoon, and Frazer assumes there has been an argument between him and Mrs Pike. Godfrey comments that he spotted the Sergeant with his arm around an attractive and much younger woman.


The episode begins with rumours abounding that Sergeant Wilson has gone AWOL. The platoon inform Captain Mainwaring that after a particularly heavy night drinking, Wilson was seen about town with a young woman (a Wren) on his arm. Pike reveals that Wilson and his mother had an argument about something, so he is not calling Wilson "Uncle Arthur", and will not take orders from him. During this discussion, Wilson is found in the church hall, asleep behind the stage curtain.

While Mainwaring berates the still tipsy Wilson in his office, Wilson begins to see pigeons on Mainwaring's bookshelf. Both believe this to be the result of Wilson's drunken state until Pike enters the office and points them out. Immediately, the office is filled with pigeons.

It emerges that Walker had stored the birds in the boiler room and they had escaped. Walker secretly proposes to Jones – whose butcher's shop is having trouble obtaining meat – to buy the pigeons from Walker to augment his supply of meat, and is persuaded to help Walker to hide them in the church.

However, Jones becomes suspicious when he hears on the radio that there is a sudden and unexplained shortage of pigeons in Trafalgar Square, and ends the agreement.

Just ahead of a church service we hear a conversation between Wilson and the young woman, where we discover that she is his daughter, from a failed marriage before Wilson moved to Walmington-on-Sea. This is reason for the argument between him and Mrs Pike. Frazer is the only person to overhear this, but he says he will keep quiet about it.

The hymns are ruined when the organ begins to play and dead pigeons are fired across the church: Walker is exposed as having hidden the pigeons in the organ pipes.



  • Croft, David; Perry, Jimmy; Webber, Richard (2000). The Complete A-Z of Dad’s Army. Orion. ISBN 0-7528-4637-X. 

External links[edit]