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Things That Go Bump in the Night
Series 6, Episode 6
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Air Date 12th December 1973
Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures Unknown
Previous episode The Honourable Man
Next episode The Recruit
List of episodes

Things That Go Bump in the Night is the sixth episode of the sixth series of Dad's Army, which was originally transmitted on 12th December 1973. It is notable for being the final episode to feature the character of Private Walker; his portrayer James Beck fell ill before the recording of this episode's studio scenes and died shortly afterwards, but was present for the location filming.


It is a dark and stormy night and the platoon is lost. Tired, cold and miserable, the men decide to spend to the night in a nearby house. It appears to be deserted, but is it..?


Due to a miscalculation by Sergeant Wilson, the platoon are lost in a thunderstorm miles from anywhere. Jones informs Captain Mainwaring that his van only has 0.5-imperial-gallons (2.3 L) of petrol left. It turns out Walker was supposed to be supplying the petrol coupons, but he could not get the ink dry in time. Mainwaring decides to shelter in a house nearby. Mainwaring has a slight head cold, so Jones restrains him from going out in the rain fearing he might catch pneumonia. The platoon march to the door holding a tarpaulin over their heads. However, when Pike rings the doorbell, he lets go of his corner and ends up soaked.

Once at the house, they find that the front door is open, the electricity is off and the fire is still burning. However, the house appears to be completely deserted. Frazer suggests it is like the Mary Celeste. Pike has to change out of his wet clothes, so ends up wearing a flag-bearer's uniform and a bear-skin rug. Suddenly, they hear the sound of hounds howling. Mainwaring tells them not to be worried and they go upstairs to find somewhere to sleep.

Once in a bedroom, Captain Mainwaring claims a bed for himself, informing the others to sleep in the double bed. However, Jones feels Mainwaring's bed and refuses to let him sleep there until he has warmed it up. Jones puts a bed warmer in the sheets, but unfortunately sets the bed on fire. The platoon try to blow it out with pillows, but just end up with feathers everywhere. Mainwaring tips a basin of water over the bed and Sponge tells Pike to get some more. Mainwaring is annoyed at Jones for ruining his bed, and tells Frazer to shut the door. Frazer closes the door just as Pike is coming through with some water, and Pike ends up soaked again.

Later, as everybody is asleep, Pike wakes up Sergeant Wilson (who gets a fright at the sight of the bearskin), and asks him whether he can accompany him to clean his teeth. Wilson reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile, Godfrey wakes up Jones because he needs to visit the bathroom. They set off and meet Pike coming back around a corner, frightening both parties.

Later, Pike, still unable to sleep, is woken up by the sound of heavy boots coming up the stairs. He warns the others, and they blow out the candles. The boots come towards the bedroom. The door opens slowly to reveal Captain Cadbury, who is surprised to find them in his bedroom.

In the morning, the platoon are having breakfast. It turns out that the house is a dog training school, and that Cadbury had gone out to fix the generator; he is on his own because he let the rest of the staff have the weekend off. Pike ends up wearing a German soldier's uniform that they use for training purposes. Outside, Cadbury shows them the dogs, pointing out one, Prince 439, which is a troublemaker. The platoon set off to get some petrol, each carrying an empty gin bottle.

Things that Go Bump in the Night

While out in the country, Captain Cadbury informs them that the dogs are only half-trained and that they have not been taught how not to tear their victim to pieces. Walker then notices that the noise of the hounds is getting louder. They realise the dogs must have got out. Cadbury then realises that they must be tracking them, because Pike's German uniform is covered in aniseed. Thus, the platoon make a run for it, carrying Godfrey aboard a sheep hurdle. Once they reach a stream, Mainwaring tells the platoon that dogs cannot follow a scent across water, so Pike is made to cross downstream. Mainwaring refuses to get his feet wet, and is carried across on the hurdle. Meanwhile, Pike falls in the river.


Once across, the platoon relax. However, Mainwaring's plan has failed, and they end up climbing trees to get away from the hounds. Cadbury suggests that Pike should throw his clothes down to the dogs, meaning that Pike has to strip naked. This allows the platoon to escape and they continue their walk, with Pike wearing a potato sack.


In the initial scene in the van, when Walker's name is taken, Wilson uses a finger to begin to write WAL in the condensation on the window—presumably as a tribute to the actor.

This is the last regular appearance of James Beck as Private Joe Walker. Beck died on 6 August 1973 aged 44 from pancreatitis.