Classic wartime sitcom. Private Godfrey's humble abode, Cherry Tree Cottage, is threatened with demolition to make way for a new aerodrome.
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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? #
PEN NIB SCRATCHES
Aren't you feeling very well?
What? I... I've got a slight headache.
Frank, do you really have to make all that noise?
I've to do the ledgers. You know Mainwaring is fussy.
Yes, but couldn't you do it more quietly?
Use another nib or something.
It's the only nib I've got.
They're difficult to get. There's a war on!
Your headache is your fault. You go home after I've gone to bed and you return for breakfast before I'm up.
I come to eat. Your mother gets my ration.
But I never hear you leave or hear you come back in the morning.
Yes, well I... You see, I let myself in and out very quietly.
You never do anything else quietly.
Frank, would you please stop! Just stop it will you. Stop. Stop.
Do you know your trouble, Uncle Arthur? You don't get enough sleep.
Tonight I'm going to make sure you leave our house before I go to bed. SLAMS LEDGER SHUT
-Morning, Wilson. Pike.
-Good morning, sir.
-What's that, sir?
-A new door for my office.
-Do you realise, Wilson,
it's 3 months since the bank was bombed. I don't know how often I've applied for a new door. Red tape!
Get down, Pike. Pike, get down. Get down.
-Have you got my name-plate?
-Yes, it's here.
-Ah, look at this, Wilson.
-My name in glittering gold letters.
Can't wait to put it in its place on the door.
Well, it is rather a plain door.
-Oh that isn't the actual door.
-The door's inside.
-They probably put that case on to protect the panelling.
-Oh, I see, yes, Mmm!
I mean they wouldn't give me, Manager of the bank, a plywood one. Do use your intelligence, Wilson.
-Take the paper off.
-Paper? This is the door.
-But it's made of paper?
-Tar paper to be exact. Standard issue replacement in bombed offices.
-I can't screw my name-plate onto a paper door.
-You could stick it on.
That's enough, boy. Be quiet. Get back to the counter.
This is monstrous. I'll complain.
-Don't go on at me. Do you want it up or not?
-Oh very well, yes.
How can I interview clients behind that door?
-They use paper doors in Japan.
-What's that got to do with it?
-I've really no idea.
-How can anybody knock on it?
-You could say, "Don't knock, cough."
I'm not having people coughing and spluttering outside my door.
Just a minute.
-It's got holes in it. What are these holes?
-Don't worry about that. I'll fix that.
Got any stamp paper? Sure, hang on.
There we are, good as new, eh?
I can't have white spots on the door.
You're a fussy little fellow!
-Come in the office, Wilson.
-I must speak to those cleaners.
-Mr Mainwaring, the Colonel's outside.
-Tell him I shan't be long.
-On the subject of tidiness, you need a hair cut.
-I never get around to it.
I know you think you look like Anthony Eden, but you're my Clerk
-and my Sergeant.
Look at it.
-You set fire to my door.
Very quick thinking, young man. Thank you, sir.
-And the hole?
-Stick paper over it.
-Shall I get the stamp book?
-Get out, boy!
Come and sit down, Colonel.
Sorry to barge in, but I've got some bad news.
It's about Godfrey.
About Godfrey? I hope you're not going to say he can't stay in the platoon.
He's getting on but he's a father figure for the younger ones to lean on.
-As long as they don't lean heavily!
-I mean emotionally.
Oh no, when the bullets start flying Godfrey won't throw himself in a funk hole.
Well not quickly... with his rheumatics.
-No, it's nothing to do with being in the Home Guard. He lives at Cherry Tree Cottage, doesn't he?
It's a lovely old place. A cottage with a thatched roof, a white fence and roses growing in the garden.
It's like a picture off a chocolate box.
Whenever I pass I have to stop and say,
"That's it, that's what we're fighting for."
-I couldn't have put it better.
-Well it's got to come down.
A new aerodrome's being built there.
Well, can nothing be done about it?
It's vital for the war effort. He'll get compensation.
I thought you'd better tell him then the official notice isn't a shock.
I won't take up any more of your time.
What are we going to do about Godfrey?
Yes, poor old thing. He's been there with his sisters for donkey's years.
I can't possibly tell him.
We'll get Frazer and Jones over here. Pike... PIKE !
I can't get in... Hang on, had an idea.
-How dare you put your arm through my door?
-The handle had come off.
-You've torn it.
-It's not my fault if they give a rotten door!
Don't use that tone of voice to me!
Go and get Mr Jones and Mr Frazer over here.
Look at that door. It's only been up a few minutes and it's ruined.
Mr Jones is here with his takings.
-Ask him to come in then go for Frazer.
I wish we could help Godfrey. I feel very deeply about this.
Lend him some money to buy a new cottage.
Ah... Well, I don't want my personal feelings to get mixed up with my position in the bank.
-Good morning, Mr Mainwaring. You want to see me?
-Just a moment. I'll help you in.
Oh...! Cheap rubbish, the handle's come off.
-I'll put my shoulder to it.
-No, it's made...
Well, there's the position in a nutshell.
Godfrey's cottage has to come down and I've been asked to tell him.
Mmm... At his age the shock could very easily kill him.
And you'll be responsible. You were saying, Mr Mainwaring, YOU'LL be responsible!
Yes, alright, alright, alright!
-Why don't we move his cottage?
Yeah. We could take it to bits and put it up somewhere else. We'd just have to number the bricks.
The roof's covered with thatch. You couldnae number that.
We could cut it into slices and roll it up.
-We couldn't do it on a windy day, of course.
-No, no. I think you're getting into fantasy again, Jones.
He's not. In that film, "Ghost Goes West", Robert Donat and Jean Arthur,
they took a castle from Scotland to California.
-See who it is, Wilson.
I saw that film.
Their kilts hung too far below their Sassenach knees.
Yes, Martin's Bank, yes... What?
Oh, Raymond, yes. Just a minute.
Excuse me, sir. Jonesey, your boy Raymond says would you hurry up as the offal queue is impatient.
-Tell him I won't be long.
-He won't be long
Could we get on. Jones, Frazer...
Alright, I'll tell him... Goodbye.
Excuse me again. Jonesey, your boy says Frazer's boy, Heathcliffe,
said to move the queue from the front of Frazer's shop.
-Is this true, Mr Frazer?
I told him to get them shifted.
How dare you interfere with my offal queue?
They've no right to queue in front of my shop.
I don't want old women gaping in my window, arguing about their points.
Look, my queue doesn't want to look in your window. You've only got an old urn and a bit of velvet in it.
Ha! My window's better than yours!
All it's got in it is a couple of plaster pigs with comic expressions on their faces.
It's not my fault I can't get meat.
I know we're all busy, but give me two minutes of your attention!
The Colonel has asked me to tell Godfrey and I think, that is we think, Sergeant Wilson and I,
that perhaps you, Jones, or you, Frazer, might be better telling him. You are his contemporaries.
-You mean you're trying to wriggle out of it.
-That's not fair.
I'll have you know that he is our Commanding Officer and a gentleman!
And futhermore... Just a minute,
them pigs haven't got comic expressions.
They've got happy, laughing faces.
-Please, be quiet, both of you.
It's no good, Wilson, you and I will have to go up to Godfrey's cottage tomorrow and tell him.
-And you, Pike.
-We must grasp the nettle.
His garden hasn't got any nettles. He's proud of it.
# Follow the white line all the way
# Leading from the Rose and Crown... #
-We've got to pick exactly the right time to tell Godfrey.
-How will we know when the right time is?
In that film, "Dangerous Moonlight",
Anton Walbrook had to tell his girl he was leaving so he played the piano to keep her mind off it.
Uncle Arthur could do that. He plays so well.
Oh look, sir, what lovely flowers.
Ah, Mr Mainwaring, Mr Wilson, Frank.
Hello. Mr Mainwaring's got something to say.
We just thought we'd drop in and say hello.
How nice. You're just in time for tea. Dolly, Cissy, look who's come to tea.
-Isn't that nice, Cissy? It's Mr Mainwaring and his friends.
-We must get some more chairs, Dolly.
-Yes, more chairs.
-What were you going to tell me?
-I... I've never seen such lovely roses.
They are lovely. This bush was planted by my father 50 years ago.
-Tell him quickly and then we'll go.
-He's asked us to tea!
Look at that, perfect picture, isn't it! I often say to my sisters, it doesn't matter what Hitler does,
this cottage with its garden will always be here. It's what we're fighting for.
Mr Mainwaring, are you going to tell him now or during tea?
-HE CLEARS THROAT
-Will you sit here, Mr Wilson?
-Oh, thank you so much.
Ah, how pretty the table looks.
-Mr Mainwaring, shall I sit next to Mr Godfrey in case he faints when you tell him?
-Be quiet, boy.
I hope you like this tea. It's made from water from our well. It gives it a special taste.
Tuck in, Frank. Thanks, Mr Godfrey.
-Bread, Mr Mainwaring?
-No thank you.
-You must have one of my upside-down cakes, Mr Mainwaring.
This bread and raspberry jam looks absolutely delicious.
I baked it in our old brick oven. It's what gives it the crusty taste.
And I make the jam from our own raspberries.
We're almost self-sufficient here. We have everything we need.
-Mr Mainwaring, during tea! Are you going to tell him now?
MUSIC: An English Country Garden.
The sun brings out the colour on that wall.
The whole place has a sense of permanence. We often say this cottage stands for England.
Mr Mainwaring, it's after tea. You've got to tell him now.
You're right, Pike.
The point is, Godfrey, that, um...
-Wilson has something to say.
-Get on with it. It's an order.
-Yes, Mr Wilson?
-Well, em... Could I have another upside-down cake?
Thank you so much.
-You've got no guts, Wilson.
-It wasn't my fault, sir.
I made it simple for you and all you did was ask for another cake.
-I wanted another cake.
-PIKE PRETENDS TO FIRE
Cut that out, you stupid boy.
Mr Mainwaring was complimentary to me. He asked my advice.
He went to tell Mr Godfrey on Saturday, but as his sisters were there
he thought the shock would be too much for him. I agree, we should tell him alone.
-When WE tell him?
He was grateful for my advice. He's giving us a couple of moments then sending Godfrey out.
Man, oh man! Can't you see he has left you and me holding the baby?
That's not fair. It's because you and I are the most senior members of the platoon.
It'd be more tactful for us to tell him.
You will back me up, won't you?
Aagh, alright. I'll manoeuvre the conversation round it for you.
That's right, you do that... Hello, Mr Godfrey.
Mr Mainwaring said you might like a cup of tea so I brought one out.
That's nice. Would you put it on the seat?
We've got to get this done quickly so start manoeuvering the conversation round.
Jones here's got some bad news for you.
Well, how was that, eh?
Well, my turn to patrol down to the end of the promenade.
-'Ere, don't leave me, Jock.
-Man, the war comes first.
Don't you want tea? When I get back. Bye.
What's the bad news, Mr Jones?
Oh, well, we'll talk about that later.
-Let's sit down and have a nice cup of tea, shall we?
Oh, well, the cup that cheers, eh?
Now look here, Godfrey, in times like these we are fighting for our lives, for our very existence even,
and we have to make sacrifices.
Even Mr Mainwaring has to make sacrifices and a fine man he is!
I'd put my right hand in the fire for him.
When I say fire I don't mean a real fire.
It wouldn't help him if I went round putting my hand in real fires, would it...? No!
I mean I'm talking... I'm talking meta, metaphor, metaphorisically.
What was I saying, I've lost the thread?
About the sacrifice he's making.
And so he is. He got a paper door!
Imagine a man of his status sitting in an office with a paper door.
And what's worse, I tore it.
It's the same with houses. If a government man came to me and said in a nonchalant manner,
"I've got to knock your house down for the war effort", I'd let him.
Oh dear, I'm so sorry. So they're going to knock yours down as well?
Yes. No. Not mine... You said, "as well"?
-As well as my place.
-You know then?
Since yesterday. I meant to tell Mr Mainwaring, but I didn't want to upset him.
Mr Godfrey, what will you do?
We'll manage. My sisters will stay with friends and we'll store the furniture.
-Oh, I'll find a room somewhere.
You'll do no such thing. You'll stay with me.
I couldn't do that.
I'll be glad of your company.
We'll get on wonderfully well.
After parade we can go home for a stout.
-I'm afraid I don't care for it.
-You could have something else. Anyway we could have cheese on toast.
-It gives me indigestion.
We could listen to the wireless. You do like that, don't you?
-Oh yes, I do.
-We could listen to the Forces Programme, have a laugh.
Ha, ha, ha. I like the Forces Programme.
I always listen to the Home Service.
Well we could listen to that.
We'll be alright, you'll see!
Hello, hello, operator, aye. I want a trunk call to London, if you please. Aye, London.
Hello? Hello, is that Sir Charles? Yes.
THE Sir Charles Renfrew McAllister?
Speaking My names's Frazer,
Why ring in the middle of the night?
Hah! It's quiet and peaceful.
And it's cheaper! Well what do you want?
The aerodrome at Walmington, are you the minister in charge of building?
If you're after a building contract there's nothing doing!
No, it's not that. Well, what do you want then?
I just wanted to shift the aerodrome a wee bit.
Are you out of your mind?
Sir Charles, I was reading in the papers the other day about your recent knighthood
and it said that you come from a very fine, old Scottish family
that can trace their origins way back to Robert The Bruce.
Have you woken me to discuss my ancestors?
I woke you up to ask you this,
could you possibly be the laddie with the same name whose father kept the Fish and Chip shop in Barra?
Who was expelled from school for cheating?
Who got that bonny wee thing Maisie MacIntosh into trouble?
And who the baker sacked for getting his fingers caught in the till?
That wouldnae be you, would it?
That's all right then. In that case you won't mind me giving the story
to a certain society magazine, will ye?
Good! It just so happens that I've got their phone number right here in front of me,
Look at poor Mr Godfrey and his sisters. I don't half feel sorry.
The war can be very cruel you know, Pikey.
Well, sir, we've nearly finished loading.
Thank you, Wilson. This is a sad day.
I wrote to the minister in charge of the building, but I didn't get a reply.
We're in the hands of bureaucrats, faceless men.
No more, you'll break the back axle.
Mr Mainwaring told me to. And I say no, you soppy boy.
Don't call me soppy.
I'm gonna have a word with Mainwaring about you.
My van's full and I want my money!
-The arrangement was you'd get £2 when the job was finished.
-I want it now.
-Shoot him! You're entitled to.
-Be quiet, Pike.
-What is it, Frazer?
This is Mr Blackwell from the Town Hall. They're moving the aerodrome.
So Mr Godfrey won't have to leave his home!
-This is good news!
-I can listen to the Forces Programme! I'm going to tell him.
They're moving the aerodrome 200 yards.
-The cottage won't be in the middle?
-Just on the edge!
Right, unload the van, men.
-'Ere, what about my two quid?
-The job has not been done!
You chiseller. I WANT my two quid!
-Do you mind not raising your voice?
-I want MY MONEY!
-Come away, Wilson.
Nice, isn't it, sir!
Different to the last time we had tea with you when Mainwaring tried to tell you the news!
It must have been my letter to the minister that did it.
-No doubt about it.
-What was his name?
Sir Charles Renfrew McAllister. They say he can trace his ancestors back to Robert The Bruce.
I'm very grateful, Mr Mainwaring. Our peaceful world could have ended.
ROAR OF AEROPLANES
Private Godfrey's humble abode, Cherry Tree Cottage, is threatened with demolition to make way for a new aerodrome until he finds an unexpected ally in Private Frazer.
Captain Mainwaring has problems of his own when his office door falls victim to wartime austerity.