Dad's Army Wiki
The Love of Three Oranges
Series N/A, Episode 2
The Love of Three Oranges
Air Date 26th December 1976
Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures Unknown
Previous episode My Brother and I
Next episode Wake-Up Walmington
List of episodes

The Love of Three Oranges is the third Christmas special episode of Dad's Army. It was first transmitted on Sunday 26th December 1976.


A church bazaar is organized for the "Comforts for the Troops Fund". Hodges intends to auction three oranges, and Mainwaring is determined to get hold of one for Mrs Mainwaring.


The platoon are parading in their snow camouflage suits so they can blend in with the snow... if there was any. Jones' glasses are completely white except for two small, dark holes in the center because he has highly colored eyes. He also has cotton wool stuck up his nostrils, because he claims that his nostrils flare. Pike is wearing a white sheet over his head because his mother wouldn't let him put whitewash on his face. Frazer is dressed in his mother's wedding dress (it was all he could find) and Godfrey is wearing a costume, complete with pompoms, that he wore for the Army and Navy Stores Christmas party, where they made up a troupe called the Gay Gondoliers.

The Vicar and the Verger interrupt the parade and inform Mainwaring of a church bazaar they are holding for the Comforts for the Troops Fund. Mainwaring naturally takes charge, and forms a small executive committee. Godfrey will provide chutney and homemade wine, Frazer will draw silhouettes, Mrs. Pike will run a jumble sale, Mrs. Fox will perform fortune-telling in a gypsy tent, Mrs. Mainwaring will provide lampshades, Mrs. Yeatman will organise the tombola, and Jones will auction a monster brawn. Hodges shoves his oar in by declaring he will auction three oranges, much to the committee's surprise.

The bazaar opens, and Mrs. Mainwaring's lampshade stall is empty, and Mainwaring tells Wilson that Mrs. Mainwaring had an unfortunate incident with the bath (their bath had been recently enameled, and the enamel paint came off in one long strip, making an enamel skirt around her as she prepared to take a bath), and she won't be coming. Mainwaring admits to Wilson that he would only be embarrassed by the lampshades anyway, but it turns out that Pike picked them up from Mainwaring's house.

Mainwaring tries to win a bottle of whiskey from the tombola stall, but loses out to the Vicar. When he notices the town clerk and some of his men drunk, he confronts Godfrey, who admits that everybody's tasting the wine, but nobody's buying it. A dispatch rider arrives with a message but, when he leaves, his motorcycle runs over Jones' brawn, making it unsellable.

Just as Hodges announces the auction of the oranges, Mainwaring tells Wilson that he must get one of the oranges for Mrs Mainwaring. The Verger overhears and warns Hodges, who resolves to stop Mainwaring. The first orange is sold for 1 shilling to Mrs Yeatman, before Mainwaring had finished bidding. The second orange is withdrawn from the sale because Mainwaring was the only bidder. Wilson tells Pike to buy the orange for Mainwaring. As a result, the orange eventually sells for an enormous 10 shillings.

Mainwaring brings Jones' section into the office. Mrs Mainwaring rings and tells Pike that she's gone to stay with her sister for the weekend. Pike tells her about the orange, but she promptly slams the phone down. Mainwaring therefore decides to share the orange with Wilson and Jones' section. Suddenly Hodges comes bursting in and tells Mainwaring that they'll find the orange rather bitter: it's for making marmalade with!


  • The episode seems to be set prior to 25th June 1941, as Mainwaring refers to 'our Finnish allies'. On 25th June 1941, the UK declared war upon Finland, following Finland's invasion of the USSR along with Germany and her allies. However, this does not fit in with its time of broadcast, as several referances made in earlier series of the show implied that significantly more time had passed before this episode. Of course, as it is a Christmas special it may have been set out of sequence.