‘A BRUSH WITH THE LAW’ (TV)
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In this episode, Warden Hodges accuses Captain Mainwaring for putting the light on in the church hall office. Standing on trial, Mainwaring has to defend himself and say that somebody else switched the light on after he left the church hall. Who could this other person be? Will Mainwaring defend himself?
‘A Brush With The Law’ is a pretty good ‘Dad’s Army’ episode where Mainwaring has to defend himself for a crime he didn’t commit. His witnesses however are pathetic, especially Jones who can’t tell the same story that all the men in the platoon have to say. It is pretty hilarious how that all plays out here.
Geoffrey Lumsden guest stars as Captain Square, who turns out to be the magistrate of Captain Mainwaring’s trial. I enjoyed Captain Square in this episode. It’s clear he wants to condemn Mainwaring during the trial, since he is being unfair on him and calls him ‘Mr. Mainwaring’ and not regard him as a captain.
This makes Captain Square not the best judge during Mainwaring’s trial, despite his claims on being unbiased and literally showing no favouritism towards him. It’s a surprise Square is a magistrate in Walmington-on-Sea. Very soon, Walker has a way to weaken Square’s prejudice towards Mainwaring.
During the trial, Walker provides some ‘unexpected evidence’ about selling some black market bottles of whiskey to a customer nearby the church hall when the office light was switched on. This customer happens to be…Captain Square of course. Square gets embarrassed by Walker’s evidence for the trial.
Bill Pertwee as Hodges clearly shows his colours in wanting to condemn Mainwaring for a crime he didn’t commit. This is when Edward Sinclair admits his guilt for putting the light on in the church hall office. Hodges tells the Verger to shut up about it, but the Verger can’t stand it and he confess in court.
This is something rare that I’ve seen in the Verger’s character. Beforehand, he’s been critical and condemning of the ‘Dad’s Army’ team in the TV series. Here, the Verger tries to prove Mainwaring’s innocence whilst the trial proceeds. I commend him for not letting Mainwaring be accused so wrongly here.
‘A Brush with the Law’ is a fine ‘Dad’s Army’ episode where we see Mainwaring in a trial courtroom. Thankfully, Mainwaring is proven innocent and everybody is pleased for his success. I liked that last line of Mainwaring’s when he tells the men what they’re fighting for: “Fair play, honesty and integrity of British justice.”
‘A Brush with the Law’ (TV) rating – 9/10
‘A BRUSH WITH THE LAW’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is the eighth episode transmitted in Series 2 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. I found this to be a pretty good audio adaptation of the TV episode. It benefits that ‘A Brush With The Law’ is mostly in a courtroom, making it feel theatrical and easy to adapt for a radio audience compare to other episodes.
This episode is also the first to feature, in a long while, the return of Private Walker. Larry Martyn stars as Walker for the rest of the series. He previously made his first appearance as Walker in ‘Present Arms’. But it’s taken eight episodes for him to make a proper appearance in Series 2 of the radio series.
The radio episode also features Bill Pertwee, Edward Sinclair and Geoffrey Lumsden who reprise their roles of Chief Warden Hodges; the Verger and Captain Square respectively from the TV version. These three have been wonderful to listen to, saying the same dialogue said in the TV version of the episode.
Michael Segal guest stars as Junior Warden Reg Adamson in the radio version, not Stuart Sherwin as in the TV version. Wait! I just realised something. Wasn’t the 2nd ARP Warden played by Stuart Sherwin called Bill in previous episodes? How come he’s called Reg? I sense a big continuity error here!
There’s also Michael Knowles, who’s been in a number of ‘Dad’s Army’ episodes as an actor and adapted the radio series with Harold Snoad, as Mr. Wintergreen, not Jeffrey Gardiner as in the TV version. There’s also Norman Ettilinger as Mr. Bone the Clerk of the Court, not Chris Gannon as on TV.
Frank Williams does not make an appearance as the Vicar in the radio episode as he did on TV. The Vicar is referred to and comes on as a witness during the prosecution, but there’s no dialogue. How come Frank Williams didn’t make an appearance as the Vicar and no dialogue came from the person?!
Marjorie Wilde also doesn’t make an appearance as the Lady Magistrate in the radio episode as she did on TV. This means Captain Square is the only magistrate during Mainwaring’s trial in the radio episode. Yikes! Square gets to be even harsher to Mainwaring, telling him to “Be quiet!” pretty loudly.
The radio version of ‘A Brush With The Law’ features some really funny stuff from Jonesy when he’s in the courtroom compared to the TV version. As well as repeating Square during the oath-taking, Jones has a problem trying to find the witness box as he marches, “Left right, left right, left right…” 😀
‘A Brush With The Law’ (Audio) rating – 9/10
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