Wartime sitcom. There's trouble in the ranks of the Home Guard when the bravery of the gentle and well-mannered Private Godfrey is called into question.
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My favourite episode is Branded,
and it features dear old Private Godfrey,
played by Arnold Ridley.
You want to speak to me, Sir?
Yes, I did, Godfrey. Sit down, will you? Thank you.
Private Godfrey lives with his two sisters,
Dolly and Cissy,
in a little cottage, Rosebud Cottage.
It's very twee, just on the outsides of Walmington-on-Sea.
Oh, come in, sir, come in. What are you doing here, Godfrey?
I thought you were out with the platoon at Eastgate.
It's my night at the clinic, sir.
Well, get your rifle and helmet. The invasion's on.
Now, he looked after the platoon, He made the tea,
and he repaired their uniforms when it was necessary.
And here's your coffee...
Oh, thank you.
Ah, it's the wrong one, Godfrey!
The other one's wrong, too!
Life was very tranquil,
until one day, a bombshell hit it.
He told Captain Mainwaring...
I was a conscientious objector.
Oh, I see.
You were what?!
A conscientious objector.
Captain Mainwaring went mad.
Sir, don't you, er...
Don't you think, Sir, you're being a little bit harsh?
Harsh, Wilson? Yes.
The fact we've been harbouring a damned conchie in our midst?
And so they all give their opinions and ostracise poor old Godfrey.
Suddenly there's an awfy queer smell round here.
Come on, boys, it's time we were getting back on patrol.
When we told Arnold that we'd written a part especially for him
he was absolutely delighted, and when he read the script, he said,
"Jimmy, even if he just says quite simple things,
"it's good to mention 'conchies', as they were called,
"because they went through hell, a lot of them,
"and a lot of them had high principles.
"And, er, I'm very honoured to play it."
By a strange coincidence,
John Laurie and Arnold Ridley had both served in the First World War.
And both served in the Battle of the Somme,
that terrible, terrible carnage.
And 20,000 British soldiers were killed
in the first day of the battle.
Now, John Laurie managed to come through it OK,
but Arnold Ridley was dreadfully badly wounded, three times.
Jones has got a bout of malaria.
Have we got anything we can give him?
I don't know. Oh, yes, I've got aspirins, bicarbonate of soda,
yes, and some ointment for wasp stings.
This is a fighting unit, not a Girl Guides' outing!
What would you do if one of us was wounded?
We all knew about the war.
I think perhaps, maybe I'm wrong, that's what gives Dad's Army,
as Clint Eastwood says in Pale Rider,
gives it that little bit of edge.
Anyhow, watch the show. You'll like it.
It turns out happily, so don't worry, but it's quite serious
and, in the end, dear Private Godfrey
is proved to have more courage than all the rest of them put together.
# Who do you think You are kidding, Mr Hitler, If you think we're on the run?
# We are the boys Who will stop your little game,
# We are the boys Who will make you think again.
# cos who do you think You are kidding, Mr Hitler,
# If you think old England's done?
# Mr Brown goes off to town on the 8.21,
# But he comes home each evening And he's ready with his gun.
# So who do you think You are kidding, Mr Hitler,
# If you think old England's done? #
Now, tonight, Captain Mainwaring is going to be a little late,
so he's asked me to take the training programme. Can we have a smoke?
I'd rather you didn't. All right.
We're going to do some stalking: how to creep up on an enemy sentry.
Taffy's the biggest "creeper" here!
I am an expert stalker.
I was one of the finest stalkers in the Highlands!
^ And a chatterbox in the Lowlands(!)
We want someone to creep up ON.
I'd like to volunteer to be crept up on.
No, you always volunteer. We need someone else to be the enemy sentry.
I'd like to be the enemy...
We must give the others a chance. Godfrey, you be the enemy sentry.
You need something to sit on...
I volunteer to be sat on... Jones!
Get the chair from the office.
Frazer, you seem to know about this. Could you put us in the picture?
Aye, sir. PAY ATTENTION, EVERYBODY.
Now, you approach your quarry from behind, and you always keep downwind of him.
Why? So he doesnae get your scent.
Humans can't smell humans! You're not standing where I am! You can't talk to me like that!
PAY ATTENTION!! Now, I'll give you a demonstration.
I'm creeping up on the sentry.
Now, I'm picking my feet up and putting them doon very carefully.
It's most important that you watch where you're putting your feet.
Especially in a field of cows. Walker, please!
You might step on a dry twig - SNAP! - and the enemy sentry would be at yer throat!
Aaargh! Have you gone mad!? So always remember to watch where you put yer feet.
Ah, thank you, Godfrey. Put it down.
Now, will somebody blindfold him?
I volunteer to blindfold him, sir! There's no need to get so fussed. But you keep leaving me out!
Oh, just do it and then spin him round.
This reminds me of playing Putting the Tail on the Donkey as a child.
That was a good game. They don't play games like that any more.
And Postman's Knock and Sardines.
I didn't like Sardines. He didn't like Sardines. All right!
Now, spread out and creep up on Godfrey.
Godfrey, if you hear anything, spin round, point your finger and pretend to shoot him. Try it.
Was that all right? Not quite(!)
Right, are you all ready?
We've arrived, Mr Godfrey...
Come on, Godfrey, come along! Oh, dear... I must have dropped off.
I've had a tiring day at the clinic.
I'm sure(!) I'LL be the sentry.
I'll have the whistle... Just a minute! You'll strangle me!
I'll blow for you. I'd be very grateful. I find that very difficult.
Right, everybody ready? Yes, sir.
There we are, sir. Now, then, ready to go. Right...
All right, I know I'm dead. I thought you were the platoon, sir.
I didn't realise I was so heavy-footed(!) Can I see you in the office? Sir.
Carry on, Jones. Sir. I'll take the chair this time!
(Let's have a cup of tea. That's the best idea ye've had!)
Everybody ready? Right, let's go.
Shut the door, Wilson, please. Sir.
Read this letter. Yes, sir... It's addressed to YOU. Read it.
Why would Godfrey write to you...? You'll find out.
"Dear sir, I regret that I must tender to you my resignation.
"Owing to personal reasons, I can no longer remain a member of the platoon.
"So I must ask you to accept my two weeks' notice as from now.
"Your obedient servant, Charles Godfrey."
Pity. We'll miss him. What do you mean, "Miss him"!? He can't just leave like that!
But he's given you two weeks' notice.
This is WAR, not Sainsbury's!
Get him in here to explain himself!
Let's see that rota...
Monday: Number One section on patrol.
2250: Godfrey puts on kettle. 2258: Godfrey makes tea ready for return of patrol at 2300.
Tuesday: Number Three section on patrol at Novelty Rock Emporium.
2330: Godfrey arrives at Emporium. 2350: makes tea for patrol.
No, I couldn't let HIM go. He's far too valuable.
KNOCK AT DOOR Come in.
You wanted to see me, sir? Yes, Godfrey, sit down. Thank you.
Don't go, Wilson. I may need you.
Godfrey, what's the meaning of this? I'm afraid it means I have to leave, sir.
You feel too old for active service?
No, not really. What, then?
Well, the other morning I got up as usual to make early morning tea.
Till recently, we've had a very good tea from the Army and Navy Stores,
but now we put up with anything.
I quite agree. Some of the stuff we've been getting is terrible...
Do you mind!? What has this got to do with your leaving?
Where was I? About to make the tea.
Oh, yes. I went to the larder and I saw something which made me realise I couldn't carry on.
What on earth was that? A mouse.
Yes. It had fallen into this pudding basin and was running round and round, trying to get out.
I knew I ought to kill it, because we've been infested by mice,
but when I got hold of it I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
What DID you do? I took it to the garden and let it go.
Godfrey, I'm still not clear what this has to do with your leaving the platoon.
If I can't kill a mouse, how could I kill a German? So why did you join the Home Guard?
I thought it would be different from the last time. But we need every man we can get.
What do you mean, "Different from last time"?
I was a conscientious objector during the last war. I see... WHAT!?
A conscientious objector.
A conchie...!? You mean... you didn't want to fight...!? Not really, sir.
Well...I can't believe this, Godfrey, I just can't believe it!
I think...you'd better go home.
You don't want me to do anything more for you tonight? No, just go!
I'm sorry about this, Captain. I can only hope that my service has given every satisfaction.
Don't you think you're being a little harsh, sir? "Harsh," Wilson!? Yes...
We've a damn conchie in our midst! A man must follow his own inclinations.
Where would the country be if we ALL felt like that!?
Suppose you visited Mrs Pike and you found a Nazi stormtrooper forcing his attentions on her.
How would you feel? Really, sir! That strikes home, doesn't it?
Rather an old-fashioned argument.
So I'm old-fashioned! I can't stand cranks!
Imagine, a man not wanting to fight! It isn't normal! So what are you going to do, sir?
I WANT to give him the Rogues' March! Rogues' March...?
They used to do it in the Army.
They paraded cowards in front of the men,
tore off their epaulettes, broke their sword in half... Oooh!
But Godfrey's wearing a denim suit.
All right! Get the men on parade.
What will you tell them? The truth! I can tear his epaulettes off verbally, if not physically!
# I'm nobody's baby... #
What's the big mystery, Jonesy? All I know is that Mr Mainwaring said to come on parade.
I think he's got a special announcement... Where's Godfrey?
He went home half an hour ago. I think he had tears in his eyes.
Oh, if I was Mainwaring, I'd give him something to cry about!
Right... Platoon, ATTEN'SHUN!
In the 14 months that we've been together...
In these 14 months, we've put up with many trials and tribulations...
What is it!? Will you be long? I have something to say to the men!
As I was saying...
Many trials and tribulations... Why's he standing on a box?
Well... Is that the only way he can get the men to look up to him(!)
Don't ssshhh me! I'm here to ask you about the Civil Defence exercise on Saturday!
You'll have to wait. We'll see!
..for the constant threat of invasion.
We do it freely, seeking no reward.
The only reward we may have could only come from some higher authority, up above...
# There was a brave old Scotchman At the Battle of Waterloo.
# The wind blew up his petticoats And showed his... #
Have a nice patrol, Mr Frazer?
The word is SCOTSman. Scotch is something you drink.
I cannae understand why you English are so obsessed with what we wear under the kilt.
Oh, it's chilly out tonight. I see you made the tea. There's a good boy.
Good job you're not wearing your kilt, Taffy.
You might feel a bit draughty round the old...
Mention the word kilt again and your nose will feel draughty! Sorry I spoke!
What IS this!? Don't you like it? It's not as good as Mr Godfrey's.
Don't mention that name to me! To think we've had a conchie in our ranks all this time!
What'll happen to him? Mr Mainwaring will keep him in the platoon till he finds a replacement.
My mum says men should be men.
I heard her telling Uncle Arthur.
I feel sorry for the old boy. What do you reckon, Jonesy?
I've been a soldier all me life. I know nothing about conscientious objectors.
I remember when I was on the North West Frontier... Frontier of where?
Golders Green(!) The North West Frontier of India! We was surrounded by Pathans.
Those black men with turbans? No, they're the same colour as you.
They're green!? No...!
Anyway, they got cruel faces and hawk-like noses and cruel little beady eyes.
Like Taffy here. Yes, he is a bit like a Pathan.
I'm a Scotsman born and bred! Maybe his old man had a bike(!)
Anyway, we was surrounded by thousands of Pathans...
Are they the ones who don't like it "up 'em"? Oh, shut up!
Am I too late to make the tea? I didn't think you were coming. I've already made it.
There's an awfy queer smell in here! Come on, boys, it's time to get back on patrol.
Would anyone like some cake? Mr Jones? Yes, I...
No, thanks, I'm not very hungry.
Thank you, Mr Godfrey.
# It's a blue world without you... #
Not too many, Bill. You know what a fusspot Mainwaring is.
I hope this smoke test isn't too much for them. I'll keep my eye on them.
We don't want them looking like kippers(!) Here they come.
Platoon, halt! All right, fall out.
We're ready for you. Thank you. Gather round.
We're doing "rescuing an unconscious person from a burning building."
Smoke's going through this pipe 'ere into the hut 'ere.
Inside the hut are sacks filled with straw, representing bodies.
Take the bodies out through the flap, up the ladder and over the wall.
We'll suffocate in that smoke!
Not if you do it properly. I'll show you. Right...
- Let us pray! - You trying to be funny!? Walker!
Get your nose flat on the floor...
close your mouth, then hnrghh hmng grhrhnga, hmbngh arh hmngr hngimn angghmm.
Is that clear?
Do NOT take your nose off the floor.
And you go along like this.
He's been practising!
Sir... Yes? What if your nose is longer than two inches?
It is NOT longer than two inches!
He doesn't mean YOUR nose. He means a sort of hypothetical nose.
No, no, I didn't mean Mr Mainwaring's nose, no, no. No, no, I didn't...
Mr Hodges, is the floor of the hut wood?
Yes. Why? My mum would object if I got a splinter in my nose.
Damn sissy! Don't worry, lad.
I'LL PUT A BLOODY CARPET DOWN!
Warden, don't swear at my men! They'd make anyone swear!
A lot of people would give their right arms just to go through a smoke-filled hut!
My colleague here will count you off as you come through.
If one of you don't appear, I shall quickly get you out.
Right, inside, men. Very nice(!)
Don't forget, there's 17 to come through. Righto.
I'll go first. I won't ask my men to do anything I can't do. Is that wise, sir? Wilson...!
Just get the men ready. Right, sir.
Number one coming through. Right.
Can I be the next one to go through, Sergeant? Yes, off you go, Jones.
There you go.
I do apologise, sir.
You've ruined all my counting! There's not enough smoke in there!
CANCEL THE FIRST ONE, BILL!
CORPORAL! SIR? Start taking the men through.
You'll asphyxiate them, you maniac! If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. OH!
Right, Mr Hodges. Right, come on, then.
Come on, quickly! That's it. Off you go.
That's it. What have we here?
What's your game!?
Why are you going back!? I forgot me little straw man.
Come back 'ere! Just a minute!
Never tangle with an old butcher!
OHH...! What are you playing at!? I've got a splinter on my nose!
'Ere, there's much more smoke in there than usual.
It's that maniac Mainwaring!
Hurry up! Do me a favour - clear off!
Through you go, Pike. You next, Walker - no smoking in there!
You're not getting out of this one, Godfrey. I'm not trying to, sir.
Remember, I'm right behind you. None of your damn conchie tricks!
It's the one with the scarf! Where to now? Over the ladder.
Come on, you, come on!
Only two more? That's right.
You go and I'll stop 'ere. Right.
What have we got here, then? It looks like Ben Gunn!
All right? Where's Captain Mainwaring? Just behind me.
I'll go over the wall and you wait here for him.
Are you all right, Captain...?
Mr Hodges, Captain Mainwaring hasn't come through yet!
All right, Captain, I'm coming.
# Faithful forever... #
He'll be fine in a day or two, Miss Godfrey. See that he gets plenty of rest.
Yes, thank you, Doctor. Can Mr Mainwaring come in now? Yes, of course. Goodbye.
Goodbye, Doctor. Goodbye.
He'll see you now, Captain. Thank you.
Some nice strengthening sweetbreads for you. Thank you.
^ I brought ye a bottle o' whisky.
^ And some tea.
Army and Navy? No, from a mate in the RAF.
Aren't you going to thank him for saving your life? Of course I am!
Give the officer some room. Back...
I may have said some harsh things, but deep down we're all very...
What's that photograph of you in uniform? That was the last war.
Wait a minute...you're wearing the Military Medal! That's right.
But you said you were a damn... a conscientious objector! I was. So how could you win the MM!?
He volunteered for the Medical Corps.
At the Somme, he went out under heavy fire and saved several lives.
It wasn't that heavy...
I'm sure we're very sorry to have sat upon you in very strong judgment, Mr Godfrey.
Speaking for mysel', I never doubted ye for a single minute.
He could be OUR medical orderly. What a good idea. Thank you.
From now on you are appointed medical orderly to the platoon. Thank you very much.
We mustn't tire him any more. Don't do anything I wouldn't!
Nice of you to come.
There's one thing I still don't understand. Oh, what's that?
Why do you never wear your medals? Oh, they seemed rather ostentatious.
If I'd won the MM, I'd have worn it for the whole world to see.
Yes, but you LOOK like a hero.
You can't always go by appearances. No...
Subtitles by Chas Donaldson BBC Scotland 1992
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