Time On My Hands (Dad's Army)

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"Time on my Hands"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Five
Episode 053
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date 29 December 1972
(recorded 8 December 1972)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Broadcast to the Empire"
Next →
"The Deadly Attachment"

Time on My Hands is the thirteenth and final episode of the fifth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on 29 December 1972.


A German pilot has bailed out and is now tangled up on the town hall's clock tower. Mainwaring's men are obliged to retrieve him. Getting up is not a problem - they can climb a makeshift ladder. Getting down again proves more difficult - Jones has broken the ladder.


The episode opens with Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson enjoying a relaxing morning coffee at the Marigold Tea Rooms when Pike bursts in announcing a Luftwaffe pilot has bailed out and landed on the roof of the town hall. Gathering together the rest of the platoon, they head straight for the town hall. When they arrive they find the ARP and Warden Hodge marshalling a large crowd of spectators, watching the stranded German on the clock tower. Mainwaring brusquely pushes Hodges aside and takes over command of the situation himself. He leads some of his men up a ladder to the tower, to try to rescue the German.

After a number of failed attempts to rescue him, they eventually manage to reach the German using a pole found by Corporal Jones. Unfortunately the pole had been holding up the ladders up to the tower, which collapse, leaving them stranded. While Mainwaring puts the German pilot under close arrest, he and the rest of the men try to find a way to get back down. Meanwhile on the ground level, a sneering Hodges mocks their predicament, enraged because it was he who had erected the ladders in the first place. The platoon suggests various ideas of getting down. Fraser tells a story of lighthouse keepers who were trapped in a lighthouse and decided to get out by dismantling it as they had gone mad from the isolation. Wilson tells a story his nanny told him: a Prince rescued a beautiful Princess trapped in a tower by firing an arrow into the tower; attached to the arrow was a piece of thread, attached to the thread was a piece of twine and attached to that was a rope which the Princess used to escape. Walker suggests using a rope in the tower to get down, Mainwaring claims he already noticed the rope and was waiting to see if anybody else would.

When the men try to free the rope, they accidentally start up the clock tower. After Jones gets caught up in (and rescued from) the clock automatons, and several of the men's finest hats are ruined to silence the large bell to avoid an invasion alert, an arrow loosed by the Vicar strikes the tower - a note wrapped around it states that there is a piece of thread attached to the arrow; attached to the thread is a piece of twine and attached to the twine is a piece of rope, just like in the fairytale Wilson's nanny told him.



  1. This is the only episode in which the platoon do not wear their uniforms for the whole episode.
  2. Mainwaring calls his bank "Martins Bank" (a real-life bank, whose name is also used in the 1971 film), instead of the fictitious "Swallow's Bank" usually used in the series.