‘BATTLE SCHOOL’ (TV)
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In this episode, Captain Mainwaring and his platoon go off on a war training weekend in the English countryside. But they get lost on the way after taking the train. They keep missing their meals and they’re treated badly by the Spanish captain Rodrigues. Will they be able to capture Rodrigues’ HQ?
This is another great episode in the ‘Dad’s Army’ series. I also remember watching this episode fondly when I was on my summer holidays with my parents in Scotland, August 2005. I love the opening train scenes with Godfrey having bladder trouble and hearing the song ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ in the background.
I found it funny when the ‘Dad’s Army’ team led by Mainwaring get lost on the way to the battle school, as they go from the train station in the afternoon and get back to it in the evening. I did feel sorry for Mainwaring when his men complained about him getting them lost and ambushed on the way.
Alan Tilvern guest stars as Captain Rodrigues in the episode. Rodrigues seems a nasty piece of work, especially when he ridicules Mainwaring and his men’s efforts. He treats them unfairly as well. He gives them carrots and onions for a meal and wakes them up with a stick of dynamite for the morning.
By the way, Alan Tilvern previously guest starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘Planet of Giants’. He would return to ‘Dad’s Army’ in the episode, ‘My British Buddy’ and also starred in the film ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. This episode also features Alan Haines as Major Smith who is mild-mannered.
The training montage scene where the ‘Dad’s Army’ team do pretty badly was funny to watch, especially with Jones getting grass in his mouth and Walker trying to get some food from a farm. It was pretty off-putting when the ‘Dad’s Army’ team gets awful servings of mixed-up meals for lunch.
There were some nice character moments that I liked in the episode. I liked the moment when Godfrey gave some of his straw and put into Mainwaring’s palliasse when it ran out. It demonstrates how kind-hearted Godfrey is. I also liked it when Jones shared still having confidence in Mainwaring.
‘Battle School’ is a pretty funny episode that sees the ‘Dad’s Army’ team put to the test when going on a training weekend for the war effort. They start off pretty terribly during the training weekend. But I liked it when Mainwaring leads them on to victory, as they manage to capture Rodrigues’ HQ.
‘Battle School’ (TV) rating – 10/10
‘BATTLE SCHOOL’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘Battle School’ was the tenth episode shown in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. Again, because of the lack of Walker in this episode following James Beck’s tragic death, a lot of scenes from the episode featuring him are cut from this. These scenes include Walker’s visits to a farm to collect some food.
John Laurie as Private Frazer, Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey and Ian Lavender as Private Pike remain in the ‘Dad’s Army’ line-up along with Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and Corporal Jones. The episode begins differently compared to the TV version with a scene set inside the church hall.
This particular scene is taken from the first episode of ‘Dad’s Army’ in the TV series, ‘The Man and the Hour’. It’s the tank demonstration scene where Pike suggests having some chips with potatoes. Godfrey gets chosen to be the decoy instead of Bracewell. Very soon, Major Smith enters the room.
Jack Watson guest stars as Major Smith in the episode instead of Alan Haines. Previously, Jack Watson played Captain Ogilvy in the radio version of ‘Operation Kilt’. Alan Tilvern thankfully reprises his role of Captain Rodrigues from the TV version. It’s rare that the original actors reprise their roles.
A notable difference in the radio episode from the TV episode is that there are no scenes featuring the ‘Dad’s Army’ team getting lost from the railway station to the battle school. There’s also no moment where Godfrey catches up after ‘being excused’ at the railway station as it was shown on TV.
Actually I think it would’ve been funny if Godfrey was huffing and puffing to catch up with the rest of the ‘Dad’s Army’ team. Why didn’t they include that? Also, Rodrigues doesn’t use a stick of dynamite to wake everyone up when Mainwaring and his men have overslept. He shouts to wake the men up.
There’s also not much of a funny montage where the ‘Dad’s Army’ team are training in the battle school and get a serving of mixed-up meals as in the TV version. Instead of just Mainwaring falling in, all of the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon members fall in and find Captain Rodrigeus’ HQ at the episode’s end.
A big difference I noticed in the radio version is that Wilson has had breakfast already before everyone else in the morning from the night the ‘Dad’s Army’ team overslept. This moment was taken from the 1971 ‘Dad’s Army’ movie. I think it works great in the radio version of ‘Battle School’.
‘Battle School’ (Audio) rating – 7/10
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