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Wake-Up Walmington
Series 9, Episode 1
Wake-Up Walmington
Air Date 2nd October 1977
Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Director Bob Spiers
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures Unknown
Previous episode The Love of Three Oranges
Next episode The Making of Private Pike
List of episodes

Wake-Up Walmington, sometimes known as Wake Up Walmington, is the first episode of the ninth series of Dad's Army. It was originally transmitted on 2nd October 1977.

Synopsis[]

As the threat of invasion lessens, complacency is setting in amongst the townsfolk. To counter this Mainwaring devises "Operation Wake-Up"; the platoon to masquerade as fifth columnists and act suspiciously. Eventually, the Eastgate platoon are called in to deal with them...

Plot[]

Captain Mainwaring is concerned that the residents of Walmington-on-Sea are becoming complacent, which could be catastrophic in the case of an invasion. He devises "Operation Wake-Up"—he and his men dress up as "cutthroats and desperadoes" (Pike dresses up as a Chicago gangster, Mainwaring wears an eye-patch and Jones, taking the whole thing too far, dresses up as a nun) and begin roaming the countryside, acting menacingly. Their efforts to frighten the locals are unsuccessful at first, despite their attempts to put on foreign accents.

However, when at last they finally do manage to cause some concern with their talk of "blowing up an aerodrome", the frightened locals send out for the Home Guard. With Mainwaring's platoon being obviously absent from their post, the neighbouring Eastgate platoon (under the command of Captain Square) are called out. Tracking Mainwaring down to a disused flourmill, he and his men open fire, covering them in flour. The episode ends with Mainwaring and Square exchanging insults.

Full Story[]

It is now a few years into the war, and after being told to "keep the noise down" during firing practice, Mainwaring and Wilson discuss how complacency is setting in amongst the townsfolk, and how people are seeing them as "Geriatric Fusiliers". As they discuss it, they are interrupted by ARP Warden Hodges, who is in tears after Mr Bluett verbally attacked him for trying to do his job, and how people do not seem to be taking the war seriously.

Remembering the national reaction after the platoon were recently mistaken for enemy agents during a training exercise, Mainwaring decides to get his men to masquerade as fifth columnists in "very sinister clothes" to scare the townsfolk and become appreciated again, and to prevent a repeat of last time he informs the Colonel at GHQ of the plan, called "Operation Wake-Up". Taking pity on him, Mainwaring invites Hodges to join them, which he gratefully accepts.

The platoon (with the exception of Godfrey, who remains at the church hall to act as their contact man) meet up at their "secret base", although things get out of hand with disguises: Mainwaring wears an eyepatch over his glasses, Pike is dressed as an American gangster, Frazer is in his undertaker attire, and Jones is dressed as a nun. Mainwaring finds Jones' disguise unbearable and makes him wear his regular clothes instead.

The platoon and Hodges begin roaming the countryside, acting menacingly. At first, their efforts to frighten the locals are unsuccessful. They first stop a man in a truck and ask him where the aerodrome is (with Jones attempting a foreign accent) but the annoyed man just drives off, splashing Mainwaring with mud. Next, the men pretend to interrogate Hodges and assault him. A big man arrives and recognises Jones as the local butcher, and Hodges, who had short-changed the man some time before, and punches the latter in the face out of vengeance. Lastly, the platoon come across a group of men and assume from their similar clothing that they are real fifth columnists. Mainwaring questions them, even getting his revolver out, but one of the men casually disarms him and they all begin arguing.

However, the platoon finally manages to cause some concern with their talk of "blowing up an aerodrome", but the frightened locals send out for the Home Guard. With Mainwaring's platoon absent from their post, the neighbouring Eastgate platoon, led by Captain Square, are called out, using Jones' van – which is still at the church hall – as transport. Tracking the platoon down to the disused flour mill they are using as their base, Square and his men open fire, covering them in flour.

The men realise that Square had fallen for their trick. Mainwaring calls him a fool, and the episode ends with the two of them exchanging insults.

Cast[]

Main cast[]

Notes[]

  • This was Captain Square's last appearance in the programme.
  • Pike's costume was based on American gangster films such as Scarface (1932). Pike says his inspiration was from Edward G. Robinson, who was known for playing gangsters, but Robinson did not appear in Scarface as it was Paul Muni and George Raft who appeared in Scarface. Robinson appeared in Little Caesar (1931) in which he plays a gangster and does wear a pinstripe suit.
  • We are given a rough idea of the location of Walmington-on-Sea in this episode when, in a country pub six miles from Walmington, one character describes Dover as being "about 20 miles away".
  • Jones' decision to dress up as a nun reflects the fact that in the war there were numerous reports that German parachutists were disguising themselves as nuns—something which was actually referenced several times throughout the nine series of Dad's Army.
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