‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

In this episode, Captain Mainwaring and his platoon go off to deny a disused barn to the enemy. But it soon turns out that the platoon are open targets and they’re about to get blown up within the barn itself. Only Lance Corporal Jones and Private Godfrey can rescue them. Will they do it in time?

This is one of my favourites from the ‘Dad’s Army’ series. I loved that opening sequence where the ‘Dad’s Army’ team do a test-run of raiding inside a house, using the church hall office for practice. Walker and Frazer fire on the door and the lock first before Jonesy kicks the door in. That was funny!

Then Wilson bowls the grenade into the office before Pike runs in; screams his head off and fires his rifle before returning to Mainwaring to say “Reporting house cleared, sir!” This test-run goes wrong once the Vicar, the Verger and Hodges enter the office. Thankfully it’s blank ammunition being used.

Frank Williams; Edward Sinclair and Bill Pertwee appear briefly in that one hilarious scene at the beginning of the episode. Robert Raglan also guest stars as the Colonel in the episode. He tries to give the grid reference for Captain Mainwaring to Jones on the phone before Godfrey takes the rest.

It was funny when Mainwaring wears an overcoat that makes him look like ‘the chocolate soldier’ or Nelson Eddy as Walker puts it. When trying to use smoke signals to Jonesy and Godfrey, the platoon accidentally uses Mainwaring’s overcoat and it catches fire. Mainwaring is pretty annoyed by all this.

I enjoyed the interplay between Jonesy and Godfrey, since they’re both old men that bounce off each other very well. It was funny when they realise that Mainwaring and the others are going to get blown up to kingdom come. They use two cars, but Godfrey can’t drive and Jones tries to teach him.

It was funny how Jonesy tries to teach Godfrey how to drive a car in a short amount of time. In the end, Jonesy tows the car with Godfrey inside before the car swings round and round a tree on the way to rescue Captain Mainwaring, which was funny. I could see my Mum finding it hilarious watching it.

‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’ is a very good ‘Dad’s Army’ episode that I enjoyed watching on a VHS leant to us by a friend of the family. I should also point out that Larry Martyn (who played Walker in the radio series) makes a guest appearance in this ‘Dad’s Army’ episode as the Signalman.

‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’ (TV) rating – 9/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘A Question of Reference’ is the title of the sixteenth episode in Series 3 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. It’s also the audio adaptation of the TV episode ‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’. I enjoyed this radio version of the episode, especially when on the train to Weston-super-Mare in 2016.

Apparently, the reason why Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles changed the title of the episode for radio was because they felt ‘A Question of Reference’ was more meaningful than ‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’. That makes sense and I agree with them as ‘A Question of Reference’ is a lot better.

Sadly, the hilarious opening scene where the ‘Dad’s Army’ team do a test-run to raid a house gets lost in the translation from TV into radio. That means Frank Williams, Edward Sinclair and Bill Pertwee don’t get to reprise their roles as the Vicar, the Verger and Hodges for that brief scene. This is a shame.

Larry Martyn returns to play Private Walker in the radio episode. Interestingly, Walker doesn’t instantly join the ‘Dad’s Army’ team at the disused barn before it blows up. He meets up with Jones and Godfrey while they are running on foot and he offers them a lift to reach the disused barn in time.

Yeah, certain changes are made to how Jones and Godfrey reach the ‘Dad’s Army’ team to warn them they’re at the wrong map reference. The two don’t have two cars to reach them in order to get the ‘Dad’s Army’ team out of the barn. They run on foot and try to thumb for a lift. That was disappointing.

Mind you, it was amusing to hear what vehicles Godfrey thumbed up for in terms of a lift in the episode. This included a milk float and a hertz. It’s also interesting that Godfrey didn’t accidentally cut the telephone wire in radio as he did in the TV version. I liked that build-up to Jonesy’s “Don’t panic!” moment though.

Peter Williams guest stars as the Colonel in the radio episode instead of Robert Raglan as on TV. I wouldn’t call him Colonel Pritchard. Robert Raglan already played him in the radio version of ‘Brain Versus Brawn’. I enjoyed how the Colonel’s phone scenes with Jones and Godfrey were handled in radio.

There’s also Michael Burlington as the Signal Man…or Signaller as credited in the radio episode. What’s ironic is that Larry Martyn played the Signal Man in the TV version of the episode. I’m surprised Larry Martyn didn’t play both the Signal Man and Walker in the radio version. But then, they would sound similar. 😀

‘A Question of Reference’ (Audio) rating – 8/10

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2 thoughts on “‘The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones’ (TV)

  1. Rob Keeley

    This is one of the best “Dad’s Army” episodes and I believe series 5 saw the programme at its peak. It contains probably my all-time favourite scene, which is Jones trying to teach Godfrey to drive in about 30 seconds flat. It’s ridiculous but underplayed enough to look real. There’s one superb visual gag after another and I love the climax where Jones reaches the barn but is now in such a state he can’t deliver the warning he’s brought but just keeps shouting: “Don’t panic!” Marvellous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Rob.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this ‘Dad’s Army’ episode.

    Yes that scene where Jones teaches Godfrey how to drive is very funny indeed. Mainwaring and the others’ lives are at stake, and Jonesy is delaying things with teaching Godfrey how to drive. It’s so funny. I loved it when Godfrey in the car swings around the tree, towed to the other car with Jonesy in it. Yes it’s so funny when Jonesy goes ‘Don’t panic!’ before he tells Mainwaring and the others that they’re about to get blown up.

    Tim. 🙂



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