Dad's Army Wiki
The Lion has 'Phones
Series 3, Episode 3
The Lion Has 'Phones
Air Date 25th September 1969
Written by Jimmy Perry & David Croft
Director Harold Snoad
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures 11.3 Million
Previous episode Battle School
Next episode The Bullet is Not for Firing
List of episodes

The Lion has 'Phones is the third episode of the third series of Dad's Army, which was originally transmitted on Thursday 25th September 1969.


When an enemy aircraft crashes in the town's reservoir, the platoon have to capture some real-life prisoners.


After a successful exercise in camouflage, Mainwaring delivers a lecture on communications. Apparently, the four main targets are the Gasometer, the railway bridge, the telephone exchange and the reservoir. They are vital to the town's survival, so two men will be posted at each location. If they see anything suspicious, they will phone Mainwaring via the nearest telephone box. Frazer asks Mainwaring what will happen if the telephone boxes are out of action, and many alternatives are suggested, including a heliograph, tick-tacking, shooting a hole in the top of the Gasometer and setting fire to it, and tapping the railway line and laying your ear onto it (Pike dismisses this idea by telling Jones that a train may come and run over your ear).

Pike and Godfrey admit they do not know how to use a telephone box; Mrs Pike believes they are unhygienic and Godfrey is hopeless with machines. After a hilarious practical demonstration, they march down to the telephone box nearest the reservoir. Pike is the first to get the lesson, but the recipient of the call is Mrs Pike, who gives Mainwaring and Wilson an earful. When a queue begins to form, Walker cons them into believing that telephone calls are going on ration from tomorrow!

That evening, while out on patrol, Frazer and Walker spot a plane crash into the reservoir. Walker phones Mainwaring, then mysteriously vanishes. Mainwaring and the rest of the platoon arrive, and their verbal attempts to persuade the Germans to surrender results in heavy gunfire. Mainwaring tells Jones to memorise and destroy the paper when he phones GHQ, but Jones' muddle-headedness as he says "Memorise and destroy the phone", reading the number 166 up-side-down as 991, results in him ringing the Embassy Cinema instead, and ends up believing that Googie Withers and Eric Portman are aboard the plane. He gets no joy from emergency services either, so the ARP Warden helps Jones get through.

Eventually, Lieutenant Hope-Bruce of the Coldstream Guards arrives and tells Mainwaring that they have surrounded the reservoir. He pompously tries to get Mainwaring to leave the situation in the hands of the regular army, but is quick to cancel an order for mortar bombs under Mainwaring's persuasion. Walker returns and tells Mainwaring that he has talked to the man in charge of the reservoir: who has opened the sluices, and the Germans will have to swim for it in less than two hours. Laughing, Mainwaring says they should leave the mopping up to the Coldstream Guards.


  • The working title for this episode was 'Sorry, Wrong Number', which was the title used for the later radio episode.
  • The episode's title is a reference to the 1939 propaganda film The Lion Has Wings.
  • When Jones accidentally rings up the cinema, they mistakenly believe he is enquiring about the 1941 film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing starring, as they tell him, Googie Withers. A poster for this film can be seen on the wall of the box office.