Wartime sitcom. A big exercise is jeopardised when the platoon find an abandoned steam engine blocking the road.
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# 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? #
Don't 'alf look posh, Mr Jones! Must look after things, Pikey boy. Don't make vans like this now.
Have to nurture 'em with craftsmanship, an' oil. That's real gold leaf! Really?
Vanity, sheer vanity! He wants to bandy his name all over town, like a tin of baked beans.
Beans? Looks rather jolly. It'll cheer people up, even if there's no meat in it.
Wilson, gather the men, with their secret signs. It's confidential. Right.
(Would you gather round?)
(Er...would you mind gathering round Capt Mainwaring, quick as you can?)
Wilson. Yes, sir? Wilson!
Yes? Yes? Wilson! Here, sir.
I'm over here, round the back. Sir!
He wanted us to gather round him!
You want me, sir? What are you doing? What you asked - getting them gathered round confidentially.
What I have to SAY is confidential, not the fact that they have to gather round. Sorry, sir.
'Scuse me, Mr Mainwaring, doesn't Mr Jones's van look nice? Don't interrupt, or you'll go home.
What I have to say is confidential. It DOES look nice! Beg pardon? Jones's van. A marvellous job!
Ye-es... Now, this area...
'Scuse me, Mr Mainwaring, if Sgt Wilson interrupts, will you send HIM home? I shan't tell you again, Pike!
Now, this area has been selected for the divisional scheme,
and the broad outline of the plan...
Mr Mainwaring, you've knocked down my running board. Leave it! We'll deal with that later.
You shouldn't do that, Mr Mainwaring. Quiet! He put his great leg on my running board!
Better be quiet, Mr Jones, or he'll send you home. He's got a mood on.
Now, three battalions of regular troops will move into this area round Walmington and Eastgate,
and they will defend it in depth.
Now, our task is a vitally important one.
We are going to signpost the area so that the units reach their correct destination. Right?
Now, the axis of advance is down the Clayton Road, thus...
Don't do that, Mr Mainwaring! You're spoiling my van. Don't fuss. It'll rub off.
You're making it worse! Don't! Don't! You're desecrating it, Mr Mainwaring.
You can soon retouch that. Don't worry about it. Now, as you know, the signposts have been removed.
So without our help, the whole convoy could end up in chaos.
That's why you're preparing secret signs, so they can find their way.
Who's got the one for Walmington?
That's awfully good, Frank.
The hand is almost lifelike, don't you think, sir? Well done.
It's got dirty fingernails!
Just one thing - it's pointing the wrong way. How d'you mean?
If they're coming down yon road, Walmington is to the left. Ah...!
I wondered who'd be the first to spot that.
Well, it's easily solved, isn't it?
Just stand on your head. Don't be impertinent, Pike!
It's quite simple, sir, just put it this way.
The men coming down the road will see that there's nothing on it and they will be intrigued.
They'll say, "I wonder if there's nothing also on the other side."
They'll go round the other side, and it's pointing the right way, and we shall win the war.
Who's got the Eastgate sign? Here it is, sir.
What's that? Well, you said it was secret, so I thought I'd use code.
A Chinaman for "east" and a gate for "gate". East-gate.
I don't think that's a very good idea at all. Send him home!
You'll be dropped off the van one by one. The signal is this...
D'you mind not hitting that van in the aforesaid manner, sir? Stop fussing! There's a war on.
Yes, but there's no need to spoil my van. That's up to Hitler.
It's on the cards that you'll have to drive the van across country, and you may get stuck.
Be prepared for it. Jones, just get in the van.
Pretend you're driving, and you get stuck.
You won't have to hit my van again, will you, sir? Just get in the driving-seat! Very good.
Now, the materials you should carry are...
1) sawdust; 2) empty sacking;
3) planks; and 4) a length of rope.
With these, and some brute force, you should overcome any hazard.
Num-num-num-num-num-num-num... Going along all right.
Oh, dear! Look, I've got stuck. Woo-a, woo-a, woo-a woo-a...
All right, Jones, switch off. Switch off. Switched off, sir.
Right, the wheels are spinning. What do we do? Use sawdust or straw for grip, and give a bit of a push.
Good! Take up pushing positions. I'll supervise from here.
Hey, you're spoiling my van again!
You've made that dangle. It's falling to pieces. Sawdust, Wilson. Pardon? Sawdust.
Over there, Uncle, by the wall. What about it? Put it under the wheels.
Right. And don't dawdle. We've got a lot of ground to cover. Like this? That all right?
Yes, you'll need a lot more than that. Right.
Right, clear it up, Pike.
He's only just thrown it down. Do as you're told, boy!
That'll get you out of any mud or soft country. We could also have used straw.
He's NOT throwing straw down as well?! A little wrinkle that's worth knowing in case of heavy ice.
That is, let down the pressure of the rear tyres. I'll show you how to... Get out of the way!
Now, you just depress the needle of the valve and let air out. LOUD HISS
Oi, oi! What are you doing to my van? Seems to have got stuck. Give it a kick.
Harder than that. The plunger's stuck. Just a minute, just a...
Oi! Stop it! Stop doing that! Stop it!
First signposter, stand by! He's standing by, sir. Tick him off the list, Wilson. Right, sir.
This is a responsibility and an honour. One wrong sign, and it could be wrecked.
There's the turning, sir.
First signposter out!
You're spoiling my van again, Mr Mainwaring. Don't be absurd, Jones, I've got to give the signal.
Can't you make a noise that doesn't spoil my van? Toot your 'ooter!
Good suggestion, Pike. We'll toot the hooter when we want you to disembark.
He's goin' to toot the hooter when he wants you to get oot!
I have good ideas sometimes!
Captain Mainwaring, the first man has alighted safely. Right, drive on.
VAN SLOWS DOWN AND HALTS
Right, Jones, signal the last man out. Tick him off the list, Wilson. Right, sir.
Hey! My tooter won't toot! Give it a good push, man.
HORN BLARES Oh! Oh!
HORN SLOWLY RUNS DOWN AND DIES
You've broken my tooter now! I shan't have anything left if you carry on like this.
Never mind, Jones, you're helping the war effort. The last signposter has just descended.
Right. Turn the van, Jones, drive back to the crossroads,
and when the convoy's gone through we can pick up everybody.
Get out of the way! Go on, get out of the way!
It's been left alone and uncared for. We'll get out and investigate.
GENTLE HISSING OF STEAM
Well, there seems to be no-one with it. I can see that!
P'raps the driver's gone into the field to have a... Pike!
Does it no' put you in mind of the Marie Celeste?
She was found abandoned, food on the tables, wine in glasses,
not a human soul, dead or alive, only the creaking of the rigging and the eerie cry of birds -
Does it no' strike you, Captain Mainwaring? No, not really.
Captain Mainwaring, there's a note. It says, "Gone to get coal."
We can't hang about. He might have gone for miles. We'll drive round. Back on the van!
Rather a lot of rain lately. Sure we won't bog down? Nonsense! Ground's as firm as a rock.
Everybody on the van!
Excuse me, sir, wouldn't it be better if some of us stayed off the van, to lighten the load?
You're not very scientific, are you, Wilson?
Everybody knows that extra weight gives more traction to the driving wheels. Oh. Use your common sense.
Drive on, Jones.
THE ENGINE IS LABOURING
Mr Mainwaring, we're stuck.
Pushing positions! Shouldn't some stay on to give more traction?
Don't be flippant! The men are in pushing positions.
Right. Captain Mainwaring, sir, could I push with only one hand?
Touch of rheumatism in the shoulder. I had to sit in a draught...
If you're not fit for front-line duty, you shouldn't come. I didn't want to disappoint you.
Well done, Godfrey (!)
Stand by to push. Take it away, Jones. Right, sir. Vroom, vroom, VROOM ! Num-num-num-num...
..num-num-num-num... Jones, Jones! JONES !
..num-num-num... VROOM ! JONES !
This isn't an exercise, it's the real thing. Let the clutch in. Sorry, sir!
Stop, stop! Will you stop it ?!
Look what you've done! What are you playing at, Pike? Your uniform!
Should we no' be using the sawdust? Yes, of course. Shove it under the wheel. Right.
Now, all push when I give the word. Jones, let the clutch in when I signal. Excuse me, sir.
Pike should stand back this time. Certainly not. If you mollycoddle that boy, he'll end up a nancy.
Get in your place, Pike.
Right. Stand by...
Nearly got it that time.
I got it all right (!)
Stuck in the mud, are we (?)
Ignore him, Wilson. I don't want you to lose your temper with him.
Dear, oh, dear! Playing at mud pies, are you? Wait till Mummy sees you!
Go on, son, gie us a push! Help the war effort. You want to lift AND push.
You come and lift 'ere with me, Mr Hodges. That mud will fly all over me.
Jonesie, try to reverse, and we'll go out the way we came in. Good idea!
Why didn't I think of that?
Right. One, two, three...LIFT !
Stop! It's no good. I'll say not! Look what you've done to me, you hooligans! Get the planks out.
We left the planks in the hall. In the church hall ?! Put somebody on a charge.
We could take the doors off the van and use those. Good idea! Give me a screwdriver.
You can't have my doors. Why not? Won't do them any harm.
I must stand up and boldly defy you, sir, or even threaten you with blackmail. What ?!
I'll put you on my sausage blacklist. Steady on!
I have a blacklist of people I will not supply sausages to. I'll put you on it.
Sorry, Mr Mainwaring, but you've driven me to it. Captain Mainwaring,
why not ask yon warden to give us a wee bit tow? Good idea! Sir...
I think you should be very diplomatic with him. Oh, I will.
Hey, you, Hodges! Come here! That should have done it (!)
Be good enough to give us a tow. A tow?! What have YOU done for ME?
There's a military convoy due, and we have to see it gets through. That's YOUR hard bum, mate!
In the name of the King, I requisition your vegetable van. Oh, no, you don't!
And if you don't like it, you know what you can do.
Why don't you shoot him, Mr Mainwaring? Be quiet!
Go on, shoot him! I said, be quiet!
Look, he's driving round like we... You'll get stuck the same as we did!
No, I won't, you dopey-looking thing!
Who are YOU calling dopey? I won't get stuck. I've got it up 'ere.
I'll back round so the driving wheels will be leading. That's where you want it, sonny!
YOU could shoot him, Uncle Arthur. Go away, Frank.
Use your loaf!
Don't just stand there! Give us a push!
Do we help him, sir? No. Just come away.
Hey! Ask them to give us a hand!
Are you stuck, Mr Mainwaring?
Well, only slightly, but we'd be glad of an extra push.
Come on, boys and girls, they need a push.
Soon be out now.
I don't think they'll be much help. This won't do at all. We'll manage, thank you.
Go back on again. Back on the bus!
I'll come and tie the rope on, then I'll reverse and pull you out. The ground's all right here.
Come on, boys and girls! Everybody off!
I'm terribly sorry about this, Mr Bluett. It's a strange way to spend your annual party.
Better than sitting in a draughty church hall, listening to those boring songs!
I thought you liked my songs.
Right, here we go!
Won't he get stuck? I'm fed up with your pessimism, Wilson. The driver knows what he's doing.
Right. Mr Mainwaring, I think you ought to know - the bus is stuck.
Captain Mainwaring, I suppose you realise the convoy will come down that road 15 minutes from now.
You're right, Fraser. Lorries piled up for a mile or more, sheer chaos! And you're responsible.
You'll be a laughing-stock, man! I just thought you ought to know.
We could divert them at the crossroads. I volunteer!
It would take you an hour, even if you ran. He can't!
Look! You could get a lift.
Look! Captain Mainwaring and a lot of people. Oh, no! Hide!
I can't hide in this. Pretend we haven't seen them.
That's my bike. How dare you?! But it's the vicar's petrol.
What are you doing, gallivanting with him? I've done nothing to be ashamed of.
We're going to pick bluebells.
That's my husband! You said you'd be all day repairing the organ.
What about you? YOU said you were at the WVS. I take responsibility.
Norman! I don't care, Beryl. Let the world know.
Five years in heaven. Face the music.
If something HAS been going on, I must reconsider your position in the church.
Ooh, the scandal ! Pointing fingers! Wagging tongues!
There AREN'T no bluebells just now. Sort this out some other time. In the name of the King,
I requisition this motorbike.
Oh, no, you don't! I'll get a tractor to tow me out. Give me a lift to the crossroads.
Start bumping! What? Bump up and down to get us through the mud.
Pike, get in and start bumping. Mainwaring shouldn't do that.
We should be sitting round the fire, reading.
Bump up and down! Pike!
I AM bumping!
Keep bumping! I AM bumping. Bump more!
Come on, Sgt Wilson, we can manhandle it.
Ready, boys...right! One, two, three...
You've left a bit behind.
Ruddy 'ooligans! You've ruined my bike!
You're very heavy-handed with vehicles. You should cherish them, and they'd respond.
Why don't we get the steam-engine to pull us out? We have no coal. Hodge's van is full of logs.
I wondered how long it'd take you to think of that. Get the wood!
Oh, no, you're not having my wood, and that's final.
You really ought to shoot him. Quiet, Frank!
Get the wood onto the fire.
Fraser, can you drive the roller? Aye. On you go. Pike, disconnect the trailer.
ORGAN PLAYS THE CAN-CAN
Pike, stop that music!
MUSIC PLAYS ON It won't stop, Mr Mainwaring. I said, stop the music! But...
I stopped the music! Good.
Captain Mainwaring. Yes? My sister's auntie has a cottage at the crossroads.
We could telephone her from that telephone box and she could divert the convoy. She's very determined!
That's probably our best chance. Our ONLY chance. Make the call.
Get that steamroller moving!
Round a bit...bit more...
I think the line's out of order, Mr Mainwaring.
Mr Mainwaring, the wire's down. You've done it now! The convoy will come up that road...
My men will have this lot joined up in no time. Where there's a will, there's a way. Back off, Fraser.
All right, Captain Mainwaring! Put the twopence in, Wilson. Over to you, Godfrey.
Good morning, operator. Walmington-on-Sea 302, please.
Subtitles by Elizabeth Ogilvie BBC Scotland 1991
A CHOIR HUMS: Adagio For Strings by Samuel Barber
BRAYING AND BOOING