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The Day the Balloon Went Up
Series 3, Episode 8
Air Date 30th October 1969
Written by Jimmy Perry & David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures 12.5 Million
Previous episode Big Guns
Next episode War Dance
List of episodes

The Day the Balloon Went Up is the eighth episode of the third series of Dad's Army, which was originally transmitted on Thursday 30th October 1969.


A runaway barrage balloon has to be brought down to earth—along with Captain Mainwaring.


The platoon are parading out in the yard. Mainwaring is appalled by the lack of attention taken in their appearance: Walker has his pockets stuffed with sugar and sultanas and Godfrey is wearing a slipper and carrying a walking stick. Mainwaring mentions that he received a message from his CO the other day: he came through and did not receive a single salute, and Jones had his hands plunged into his trouser pockets. Jones admits that it was because he forgot his braces, and did not want to cause any embarrassment.

Mainwaring decides to dedicate the rest of the parade to practising saluting. However, the Vicar disrupts the practice, and informs Mainwaring of some illicit graffiti on the back of his spare harmonium. Mainwaring's men sleep in the tower room when on fire watch, so they are the prime suspects. Mainwaring instantly denies this, so he and Wilson decide to go up to the tower room to see for themselves. When Mainwaring and the Vicar reach the top, Mainwaring decides to bring up Jones' section to compare the handwriting. Wilson has only just reached the top before he is asked to go down again and bring up Jones' section.

Leaving Wilson at the bottom of the stairs, each man writes the same word next to the graffiti, much to the Vicar's annoyance. Suddenly, Jones notices something: the Verger is hanging on the cable of a barrage balloon. They all rush downstairs, just as Wilson reaches the top. They manage to get the Verger and the balloon down safely, but they are left hanging onto the ropes for dear life. ARP Warden Hodges arrives and tries to take charge of the situation. He and Mainwaring phone the RAF, but they would not be available until nightfall, leaving the platoon with a dilemma.

It is Walker who suggests taking the balloon to Pinner Woods and tying it to a tree. Jones decides to take his van to prevent it being carried away by the wind. They find a fallen tree just outside the woods. Unfortunately, when Jones and the platoon release their ropes, the balloon breaks the branch of and floats away, taking Mainwaring with it! The platoon, the Vicar and the Verger follow it in the van, while Hodges borrows a tricycle from Mr Blewitt, and then a tandem from a young couple. Mainwaring gets entangled in topiaries, haystacks and washing lines before the balloon finally comes to rest on a railway bridge.

Walker notices a train coming, so they quickly drag Mainwaring and the balloon off the bridge, and Mainwaring collapses as the platoon secure the balloon. Unfortunately, when an RAF Officer turns up, Jones orders the platoon to salute, therefore releasing the balloon, and starting the chase all over again.


  • The brief clip of the train approaching the railway bridge was taken from The Titfield Thunderbolt.
  • The train that approaches the bridge is the same train that the platoon travel on in Battle School.