‘Command Decision’ (TV)

Dad's Army


Please feel free to comment on my review.

In this episode, the ‘Dad’s Army’ team are still short of weapons. Very soon, Captain Mainwaring has an offer from Colonel Square. Square will be giving to give some rifles to Mainwaring’s platoon. But it will mean Mainwaring having to give up his command of the platoon and to hand it over to Square.

Geoffrey Lumsden makes his first appearance as Colonel Square in this ‘Dad’s Army’ episode. During the series, Square will become a thorn in Mainwaring’s side. I enjoyed Square, finding his manner funny. He’s very old school and he and Mainwaring frequently don’t agree on the same wavelength.

There’s a funny scene where Mainwaring teaches his men how to knock out Jones with a gas mask. I laughed when Mainwaring came up with the effective solution of cutting off Jones’ air supply via the gas mask. Jones collapses to the floor once Mainwaring does that. Thankfully he’s alright in the end.

It was also funny when the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon got to ride on horseback for Colonel Square. The horses come from a circus and they actually do a ‘dance routine’. It was so funny when they did that and equally funny when the ‘Dad’s Army’ team try to ride on horseback and they fail very miserably.

The episode is pretty moving since Mainwaring tries to keep his promise to his platoon about getting the rifles they want by the end of the week. It seems that the platoon’s chances are a lost cause. Even when the LDV get renamed as the Home Guard, it doesn’t lift Mainwaring’s spirits in the scene.

The rifles thankfully arrive under Mainwaring’s nose when they’re being delivered to him. I liked it when Mainwaring becomes delighted at seeing the rifles. He eventually brings in the rifles for the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon to see and there’s a cheer from them as the episode draws to its conclusion. 🙂

As well as Geoffrey Lumsden, there’s also Caroline Dowdeswell as Miss Janet King who brings in Mainwaring and Wilson’s tea and juicy current buns at the bank. There’s also Charles Hill as Colonel Square’s butler and there’s Gordon Peters as the soldier bringing in rifles for Mainwaring. 😀

‘Command Decision’ is a great little episode in the ‘Dad’s Army’ series. It’s a good introduction to Colonel Square, who would later become Captain (?!) and this episode is also significant since the ‘Dad’s Army’ team become the Home Guard instead of the Local Defence Volunteers. Very enjoyable here!

‘Command Decision’ (TV) rating – 7/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘Command Decision’ is the third episode transmitted in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. It also features the first appearance of Geoffrey Lumsden as Colonel Square. I never got why Square was a colonel at the start before he became a colonel-corporal and before he was a captain. Why did he deserve that?

This episode also doesn’t feature Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey and Ian Lavender as Private Pike. John Laurie as Private Frazer and James Beck as Private Walker are left to hold the reins. I don’t understand why they couldn’t feature all the ‘Dad’s Army’ cast since it does make the platoon smaller.

The episode’s structure differs slightly to the TV version. The scene where Mainwaring demonstrates to the platoon how to tackle Jones as a German attacker with a gas mask on takes place half-way in the episode instead of as an early scene. It helps to set up Mainwaring’s decision to give up command.

The dialogue scene with Frazer asking Jonesy where the rifles are; Frazer relating the story of kids asking for his ‘toasting’ fork and Jones sharing he took a toy pistol from a boy takes place at the start of the radio episode. It’s an intriguing difference since the scene took place half-way in the TV episode.

The material with the ‘Dad’s Army’ team riding on circus horses is omitted from the radio version of the episode. It’s replaced with Colonel Square barking out orders and treating the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon, including Jones, Frazer and Walker, badly. They still find the rifles by Square very inadequate.

The episode also features David Sinclair as the G.H.Q. Driver who brings in the rifles for the ‘Dad’s Army’ team instead of Gordon Peter who did that role as the soldier on TV. The episode doesn’t feature Charles Hill as Colonel Square’s butler. It also does not feature Caroline Dowdeswell as Miss Janet King.

Instead, Mainwaring and Wilson receive word that Colonel Square’s come to see them at the bank by a male voice on the intercom played by David Sinclair. I’m surprised it wasn’t Pike who called on the intercom here. Jones also sounds more emotional after his gas mask ordeal on radio compared to TV.

The episode ends differently in the radio version compared to the TV version. In the radio version, it’s Mainwaring and Wilson who discover the rifles as opposed to just Mainwaring in the TV version. The episode also ends with Mainwaring giving a pretty familiar speech he made in ‘The Man and the Hour’.

‘Command Decision’ (Audio) rating – 7/10

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