The Test (Dad's Army)

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"The Test"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Four
Episode 036
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date Friday 27/11/70 8.00pm
(recorded Friday 20/11/70)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Mum's Army"
Next →
"A. Wilson (Manager)?"

The Test is the tenth episode of the fourth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Friday 27 November 1970.


The platoon are challenged to a cricket match by the ARP Wardens - who have recruited a top-class bowler to their ranks.


Mainwaring is holding a parade, and complains about the lack of attendance at last Sunday's church parade. Walker admits he couldn't come because he was delivering some knicker elastic to a group of ATS girls. Mainwaring wonders why he couldn't have waited until after the parade, and Walker says that he could, but they couldn't! Mainwaring then moves on to commenting on the length of Pike and Wilson's hair, and suggest they get it cut - they "aren't violin players".

Mainwaring produces a letter given to him by Chief Warden Hodges, and announces that he's challenged them to a game of cricket. The platoon readily accept. Mainwaring announces he is an opening batsman, Wilson is the captain of the local cricket club, and Jones volunteers to keep wicket with a particularly long anecdote on an occasion when he stumped Ranjitsinhji. Walker tells Mainwaring he can lay his hand on a couple of reconditioned cricket balls, and in typically autocratic fashion, Mainwaring decides that he will captain the side.

The next evening, they get the nets out, and have a practice. Pike's bowling efforts are continually interrupted by Mainwaring, who is typically full of advice, although he is highly unsuccessful when he tries to demonstrate: his bowling is repeatedly hit, and after a long lecture on batting technique he is bowled by the first ball he faces from Pike. Godfrey reveals that he used to play cricket for the Civil Service Stores when he was younger. Jones arrive late, and when he bats, the ball ends up smashing a church window.

On Saturday, at the cricket changing rooms, Hodges is keen to introduce E.C. Egan (played by Fred Trueman), a world-class professional fast bowler, to Gerald, one of his ARP Wardens. He tells them that he won't tell Mainwaring until he bats. Hodges produces an ARP application form for Egan to sign, to make it legal. When Egan asks what to do if the siren goes off, Hodges replies "Resign".

The platoon arrive, with Wilson wearing a yellow, blue and brown striped blazer, Frazer in his funeral attire, Godfrey in the panama hat he wears for bowls, and Pike wearing his bank clothes. Mainwaring is shocked, and lends Pike his spare cricketing trousers.

Hodges reappears, and asks Mainwaring to toss the coin to see who's batting first, but Mainwaring insists on getting the umpires, the vicar and the verger, to do it. Mainwaring calls heads, and it's tails. The platoon are fielding first.

Hodges and Gerald open the batting for the Wardens, and Mainwaring bowls the first over, insisting that Pike field close in at silly mid-off despite Hodges' threat that he'll "get his head bashed in". They don't start well, with Jones continually knocking the stumps out, forcing the vicar to bang them in again and again. When Hodges finally gets a chance to hit the ball, he finds Mainwaring's bowling singularly unthreatening, his first two hits being a leg-side four and a straight six. After a horrendous wide, the Verger no-balls Mainwaring, deciding that his attempted googly is a chuck. When Mainwaring disputes this, the Verger books Mainwaring for gross impertinence and sarcasm, and then threatens to send him off, as would happen in football. Then Hodges sends a big hit towards Godfrey, who tries unsuccessfully to catch it, and loses it in the long grass. While the platoon are searching for it, Hodges and Gerald keep running. When Walker produces a second cricket ball and they rush back, Hodges and Gerald have taken 24 runs. However, the platoon manage to take four wickets, with Jones' efforts behind the wicket finally being rewarded when he takes a stumping off a flighted ball from Pike, prompting Jones' typical "Don't Panic"-style celebration.

Hodges declares with the Wardens 152 for 4 at tea, and the platoon now have three hours to make the 153 runs needed for victory. Mainwaring, who finds Hodges' declaration "very sporting", opens the batting with Wilson. Hodges, who is keeping wicket, is keen to see Egan in action, and remarks over and over again that he's going to enjoy this. As Mainwaring prepares to bat, Egan walks down to the far end of the field. Mainwaring is confused, until Hodges gleefully informs him that the ball comes flying out of his hand at 95 mph! Egan charges towards Mainwaring, and delivers a ball which causes Mainwaring to dive to the floor, much to Hodges' delight.

However, the delivery has pulled Egan's shoulder, and he goes off, injured. The platoon now have a chance. Mainwaring does well, until the Verger gives him out LBW. Pike is bowled first ball due to his inattention, but Jones, Walker and Frazer all contribute (although Frazer apparently has no knowledge of the game). Meanwhile, Wilson holds the innings together, scoring 81 runs. Eventually, Godfrey is the only one left to bat, and they only need five more runs to win. Fortunately, Wilson is still in at the other end.

Frazer thinks that Godfrey will be out first ball. However, everyone is surprised when he hits it, and they start to run; Godfrey drops his bat, but with Wilson's help he retrieves it and makes it back to the crease. Godfrey hits his next ball, bowled by Hodges, over square leg, and Mainwaring is delighted to see that it's going to be a six, meaning that the platoon have won by 1 wicket. Hodges comments that he should never have declared. Mainwaring reminds him that they'll be ready for anything, whether it comes from the wardens or the Nazis. As they cheer the wardens, and Godfrey and Wilson, the siren goes, and the platoon take up their positions.


The wardens score 152 for 4 wickets. The Home Guard then go on to make 156 for 9, thus winning the match by 1 wicket. From what is seen on screen it can be deduced that the platoon members scored the following runs:-

  • Captain Mainwaring 17 (LBW)
  • Sergeant Wilson 81 not out
  • Private Pike 0 (Bowled)
  • Lance Corporal Jones 18 (Bowled)
  • Private Frazer 7
  • Private Walker 12
  • Unknown
  • Unknown
  • Private Sponge 1 (Bowled)
  • Unknown (Bowled)
  • Private Godfrey 8 not out



  • The working title for this episode was 'The Cricket Match'.
  • It is one of the most commonly repeated episodes of Dad's Army, because of its simple plot.
  • Fred Trueman a former professional cricketer appeared as 'Ernie', lending credence to the suggestion that "he would have played for England if the war hadn't started". In the event 'Ernie' bowls only one delivery for the wardens before going off injured. Trueman's appearance was one of the few guest appearances in Dad's Army, a trend largely eschewed by British sitcoms.

Radio episode[edit]

"The Cricket Match"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Three
Episode 061
Story by Harold Snoad & Michael Knowles
Produced by John Dyas
Original air date Tuesday 27/7/76 12.27pm
(recorded Thursday 1/5/75)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Jumbo Sized Problem"
Next →
"Time on My Hands"


Hodges challenges Mainwaring and the Home Guard men to a cricket match.


Hodges challenges Mainwaring and his troops to a game of cricket. Jones volunteers to keep wicket, Pike also wants to play with Walker offering to obtain cricket balls and some bails. Godfrey will also play as long he does not have to walk about too much or be too far from the pavilion. Frazer says he not too sure of the rules but will play. Mainwaring decides to accept the challenge and appoints himself Captain.

The Home Guard men begin a practice session with Mainwaring giving them the benefit of his wisdom - but is immediately bowled out by Pike. His bowling is just as bad with Jones scoring a six of one of his deliveries.

Meanwhile, Hodges appoints a famous bowler, E. C. Egan, as a temporary ARP warden so that he can play on their team. When Egan asks what he should do if the siren goes off, Hodges tells him he should resign.

Walker presents two cricket balls to Mainwaring and asks for the sum of two pounds ten shillings each. Mainwaring says to him that he would sell his own grandmother, but the Private retorts that there is no market for her.

The troop turn up to the match, with some of the men wearing unsuitable cricketing clothes. Godfrey turns up in a panama hat, Frazer is his funereal garb, Wilson in a brightly coloured blazer and Pike in grey flannels.

The vicar and the verger are to officiate the game as umpires. The vicar tosses a coin to determine who goes first and Mainwaring calls heads, but it turns out tails. Hodges decides to bat first.

Mainwaring assigns the men to their fielding positions: Frazer and Walker, first and second slips, Wilson mid-on, Jones wicket-keeper, Godfrey deep-cover (conveniently close to the pavilion), Pike silly mid-on. Pike thought it might be an insult but Wilson reassures him that is the proper name.

Hodges is first up to bat and taunts Jones as 'Granddad', but he replies that he will soon whip his bails off, and Pike telling him not too stand to close as he'll get his head bashed in. Mainwaring bowls a wide. His next shot is a four. Jones knocks over the bails and wickets annoying the vicar who has to put them back up. Mainwaring attempts a googly, but it is given no ball by the verger. The verger tells him not to argue, or he will send him off. Mainwaring attempts a spin bowl, but Hodges hits for four again. Another hit sends the ball heading for Godfrey who fails to catch it. Hodges starts to run, but Godfrey has lost the ball. When Hodges reaches 27 runs, Mainwaring buys another black market ball from Walker who declines payment.

At tea, Hodges' team is at 154 for 4 and he declares. Jones is disappointed that he can't continue to be the wicket-keeper as he was just getting the hang of it. Egan tells Hodges he can bowl Mainwaring's team out in about four overs.

Mainwaring opens the batting with Wilson. Hodges is the wicket-keeper. Egan bowls a fast ball causing Mainwaring to fall over. However, Egan dislocates his shoulder and has to leave the field, and one of the wardens replaces him. Wilson bats well, but Mainwaring is bowled out LBW for 17 runs. Pike replaces him, but struggles to bat and hold up his trousers and is bowled for a duck. Wilson on the other hand racks up 81. The total is 147 for 9, and Godfrey is in. Hodges bowls to Godfrey who actually manages to hit it and runs. Godfrey manages to hit again, this time for six, winning the game.

Hodges tells him didn't really win as he shouldn't have declared, but Mainwaring reminds him that he did. Hodges tells him to wait for the football season, and Mainwaring tells him not to import professionals who don't break their legs...


  • Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring
  • John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson
  • Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones
  • John Laurie as Private Frazer
  • Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey
  • Ian Lavender as Private Pike
  • Bill Pertwee as Chief Warden Hodges
  • Frank Williams as The Vicar
  • Edward Sinclair as The Verger
  • Anthony Smee as E.C. Egan


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

External links[edit]