‘ROOM AT THE BOTTOM’ (TV)
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At the time of the DVD releases of ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Room at the Bottom’ was the only black-and-white episode featured in Series 3. Now it is in colour! It can be seen on TV via repeats of ‘Dad’s Army’ on BBC Two or can be viewed via BBC iPlayer. I’ve seen the colour version of the episode and enjoyed it.
This is a pretty poignant episode of ‘Dad’s Army’. After discovering that Mainwaring doesn’t hold a commission as Captain in the Home Guard, he is eventually demoted down the ranks. This upsets him greatly, but Mainwaring soon takes on a brave stance and becomes a private within the platoon.
I like how this episode touches upon Mainwaring’s character and how it connects to how he formed the ‘Dad’s Army’ team in ‘The Man and the Hour’ by making himself a captain. He’s demoted in the ranks, yet the platoon members soon come to realise that they need Mainwaring to be their leader.
The guest cast includes John Ringham as Captain Bailey. Bailey is the one who keeps missing Mainwaring and tells Sergeant Wilson that he is being demoted. There’s also Anthony Sagar as Drill Sergeant Gregory. I found the scenes funny when the Drill Sergeant was barking orders at the platoon.
I loved that moment when Mainwaring reads the letter to say that he’s been demoted to private and he’s in a state of shock. A shot is fired and Wilson assumes Mainwaring’s shot himself. But when he enters it turns out, according to Jones, Godfrey fired the shot by mistake. Jones reassures nobody was hurt.
Edward Sinclair returns as Mr. Yeatman the Verger in the episode. He runs in to inform Mainwaring and the platoon that the Bismarck has sunk. This saves Mainwaring ‘his bacon’, just as he was about to inform the ‘Dad’s Army’ team that he was initially demoted from a captain to lieutenant in the episode.
I liked it when Wilson leads the ‘Dad’s Army’ team on the weekend training exercise and Jones volunteers to go and make sure everything’s clear. He then gets ants crawling on his leg, causing him to take his trousers off. Everyone thinks it’s the signal to head out before bombs get thrown at them.
‘Room at the Bottom’ ends on a happy and touching note when all the members of the platoon, including Jones; Pike; Godfrey and Walker (not Frazer) write to GHQ to ask for Mainwaring to be their captain again. This is a very poignant episode for Mainwaring and I’m pleased it’s now in colour.
‘Room at the Bottom’ (TV) rating – 8/10
‘ROOM AT THE BOTTOM’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘Room at the Bottom’ was the seventeenth episode transmitted in Series 1 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. I enjoyed this radio version of the TV episode, although there were characters absent from the TV version in the radio version. This meant certain key moments from the TV episode are lost for radio.
As well as Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn in the episode, there’s also John Laurie as Private Frazer and Private Godfrey. Walker and Pike don’t make an appearance in the episode, although Walker does get referenced since he came up with a tyre idea from ‘Sgt. Wilson’s Little Secret’.
A lot of the lines that were given to Walker and Pike in the TV version are given to Jones, Frazer and Godfrey in the episode. For example, Walker’s relaying information about Mainwaring at the bank when he’s demoted to private is now given to Frazer instead which was intriguing to listen to on audio.
Godfrey also comes up with the idea to write letters to GHQ to ask for Captain Mainwaring back instead of Pike as in the TV episode. It does make me wonder why Graham Stark couldn’t reprise his role as Walker in the series by this point. In fact, Graham Stark does not return in the rest of Series 1.
John Ringham reprises his role from the TV version in the radio version of this episode, although he’s renamed as Captain Turner not Captain Bailey. Jack Watson plays Drill Sergeant Gregory in the radio version, not Anthony Sagar as in the TV version. I found the Drill Sergeant Gregory scene in the TV version superior and funnier than the radio.
Edward Sinclair as the Verger doesn’t appear in the radio version of this episode as he did in the TV version. Instead, it’s Private Frazer who runs in to tell Captain Mainwaring that the Bismarck has sunk. Jonesy says the Frazer and Walker lines in questioning Mainwaring hiding his rank in the radio version.
Mainwaring’s reaction to the news he’s no longer a captain is different in the radio version compared to the TV version. We hear his reaction to the news before the shot is fired and Wilson runs to ask if he’s alright. Mainwaring replies, “I’m wounded, Wilson … inside!” That was very effective to listen to.
The training exercise sequence from the TV episode is omitted in the radio version as is Wilson’s purchasing a new officer-styled hat. This is replaced with Wilson being untidy in his dress manner and criticised by Mainwaring and Drill Sergeant Gregory. Jones, Godfrey and Frazer also write GHQ letters at their homes.
‘Room at the Bottom’ (Audio) rating – 7/10
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