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Mum's Army
Series 4, Episode 9
Mum's Army Title Card
Air Date 20th November 1970
Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures Unknown
Previous episode The Two and a Half Feathers
Next episode The Test
List of episodes

Mum's Army is the ninth episode of the fourth series of Dad's Army. It was originally transmitted on Friday 20th November, 1970.

Captain Mainwaring: (when teaching the ladies section the left turn) You swivel on the heel of the right foot and the left toe, and you brace the thigh of the rear leg as you go.

Frazer: That's right ladies, brace them thighs; I like to see them well braced.


Captain Mainwaring's plans to involve the women of Walmington in the platoon become rather too personal...


Mainwaring is convening a parade, and is growing frustrated of Jones' slowness. Walker suggests that Mainwaring nods his head whenever he wants them to come to attention. Mainwaring dismisses this, but Jones takes it on-board, standing to attention and standing at ease whenever Mainwaring nods his head.

Mainwaring informs the platoon that the women of Walmington-on-Sea want to join the Home Guard to help the war effort. He and Wilson thought that this was a good idea as it would allow the men of the platoon to "grapple with the enemy". Mainwaring suggests that they could serve in the canteen, and Frazer adds that they could sew on their jacket buttons. The platoon are asked to bring as many female volunteers as they can.

The next evening, Mainwaring enrols some of the women, including the "flashy" Mrs. Fox, the quiet Ivy Samways, and the tarty Edith Parish, who were recruited by Jones, Pike and Walker respectively. Mainwaring is not impressed with Wilson, commenting that "we don't need all this Jack Buchanon stuff"; he feels that Wilson is being far too charming and that the women of the platoon should be subjected to the same discipline as the men, so they should dispense of any unnecessary niceties. Frazer informs Mainwaring that his recruit, Miss Ironside of the Gas Light and Coke Company, will not be available until tomorrow—the same is true for Mrs. Pike. As Wilson leaves to dismiss the parade, a middle-aged lady enters; Fiona Gray, who has not been in Walmington for long. Mainwaring is immediately smitten with her, and it is clear that the feelings are reciprocated. She is from London; she had to bring her mother down to Walmington because the guns were too much for her, and is now living in Wilton Gardens, not far from where Mainwaring lives. She remarks that her life only consists of morning coffee and making dahlias grow. Mainwaring admits he is fond of dahlias... but his wife Elizabeth is not, as they encourage earwigs! The two share a moment when Mrs. Gray requests that Mainwaring removes his glasses, as they "take away the warmth in a person's eyes".

The following parade Mainwaring teaches the women, who now include Miss Ironside and Mrs. Pike, the rudiments of foot drill, including left turns, right turns, and the attention and at ease positions. He criticises everyone, except Mrs Gray, who is 'very good'. Pike scolds his mother for talking in the ranks and Mainwaring in turn calls him out him for the same thing, while Walker passes several lewd remarks about Godfrey and the ladies, eventually resulting in a fed-up Mainwaring ordering him home.

Some time later, Mainwaring makes a visit to Ann's Pantry, a café where he knows Mrs. Gray regularly visits. Indeed, it is not long before she arrives, and Mrs. Gray's order willingly joins Mainwaring's bill. However, while trying to have a quiet chat, they are interrupted by Godfrey, Jones, Walker, and eventually Pike, who informs Mainwaring that the bank inspectors have arrived, forcing Mainwaring to abandon his chat. Mainwaring leaves as the waitress returns, unintentionally leaving Mrs. Gray to pay for both coffees.

A week or so later, Jones' section are commenting on Mainwaring's recent behaviour. Edith remarks that they went to the pictures together twice over the past week, and Pike says that they have coffee every morning together; however, they now frequent The Dutch Oven, due to wagging tongues. Frazer thinks Mainwaring's making a fool of himself. Unbeknownst to them, Wilson is listening, and decides to confront Mainwaring.

Wilson skirts round the subject, trying to subtly tell Mainwaring that he is making a fool of himself. However, Mainwaring misconstrues Wilson's incomprehensible speech, and announces that he is disbanding the ladies section, except for a few special helpers—which should, he believes, keep Mrs. Pike out of Wilson's hair!

Mainwaring notices that Mrs. Gray is not on parade. Ivy tells Pike that she saw Mrs. Gray head towards Walmington station with two heavy suitcases, and Pike relays the information to Mainwaring. Walker reminds the captain that there is only one train at this time of the evening; the 8:40 to London, and Mainwaring quickly makes himself scarce.

He confronts Mrs. Gray at the station, admitting that he lives from one meeting to the next, and she confesses that she is exactly the same, and that is the reason why she is leaving. She points out that Mainwaring is married and people are talking; Mainwaring shrugs this off ("Nobody'll talk to her, she hasn't left the house since Münich") and says that he does not want her to go, but despite his efforts to persuade her to stay she boards the train. However, as the train steams off, Mrs. Gray promises to write. As the train disappears, Mainwaring is left, standing alone on the station, his face broken with hidden emotion.