‘THE LION HAS ‘PHONES’ (TV)
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This is one of my favourite episodes from Series 3 of ‘Dad’s Army’. Captain Mainwaring shows his men how to make telephone calls during an emergency. This is for them to defend the reservoir at Walmington-on-Sea. Very soon at night, a plane crashes into the reservoir and Mainwaring’s men have to phone for help.
The scenes I liked in this episode are when Mainwaring tries to teach Pike and Godfrey how to use a telephone in the phone box. The scenes are very funny when all three try to get into the phone box and it doesn’t work. Mainwaring eventually has to take them in one at a time. I couldn’t help but laugh.
I enjoyed it when Mainwaring kept forgetting the phone number ‘Walmington-on-Sea 333’ and he asks Wilson to remind him. I also found it very funny when Pike is on the phone to his mum and she scolds him for using a public phone box. Mainwaring and Wilson soon get in on the phone conversation.
The episode features Janet Davies’ return as Mr. Pike in the episode. There’s also Pamela Cundell, Olive Mercer and Bernadette Milnes as the ‘ladies in the queue’. Although not named in the credits, Olive Mercer names Pamela Cundell’s character as Mrs. Fox. I assume Olive Mercer is Mrs. Yeatman.
The night scenes are very funny when Jones tries to use the telephone to call for help at GHQ using the phone number ‘Walmington-on-Sea 166’. Jones reads the number upside down and phones ‘Walmington-on-Sea 991’ instead. He’s through to the cinema, which does end up with hilarious results.
It was funny when Jonesy got misinformation from Gilda Perry as Doreen and Linda James as Betty at the cinema for the film ‘One of Our Aircraft Is Missing’. Jones soon tries to get ’emergency help’ from Avril Angers, who performs in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series, as the Telephone Operator in this.
Bill Pertwee makes an appearance as Chief Warden Hodges when he sees Jonesy flashing his torch whilst inside the telephone box. Very soon, the ‘Dad’s Army’ team are joined by Timothy Carlton as Lieutenant Hope-Bruce, who comes with the regular army to ‘help’ sort the mess with the reservoir.
‘The Lion Has ‘Phones’ is a very funny episode about miscommunication and the ‘Dad’s Army’ team using phones in a red phone box. I loved seeing this episode while I was on my summer holiday with my parents in Scotland, August 2005. I especially love seeing the red phone box that the ‘Dad’s Army’ team use.
‘The Lion Has ‘Phones’ (TV) rating – 10/10
‘SORRY, WRONG NUMBER’ (AUDIO)
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This is the radio version of ‘The Lion Has Phones’ in ‘Dad’s Army’. It is also the fifteenth episode to be transmitted in Series 1 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. Originally, ‘The Lion Has Phones’ was going to be called ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’. For the radio series, the episode’s reverted back to the original title.
The cast features our three main leads Arthur Lowe; John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn as well as John Laurie as Frazer; Ian Lavender as Pike and Graham Stark as Walker. Arnold Ridley doesn’t appear as Godfrey sadly and this means most of his lines in the radio episode are given to Pike and Jones instead.
In fact, Jones is the one who has a problem with making telephone calls instead of Godfrey as well as Pike in the radio episode. Because of Godfrey’s absence in the radio episode, the funny scene where Mainwaring, Pike and Godfrey are crammed in the phone box is omitted from the original TV episode.
A number of other scenes are omitted in the radio version from the TV version, including the opening camouflage scene; the boys featured in the episode and the ladies in the queue. This means that Mrs. Fox doesn’t make an appearance in the radio version and Walker does not take money from the ladies.
The episode also features Bill Pertwee as Chief Warden Hodges and Pearl Hackney as Mrs. Pike. There’s also Avril Angers as the Telephone Operator as well as many other female roles in the episode. John Forest plays Lieutenant Hope-Bruce in the episode and not Timothy Carlton from the TV episode.
It was funny during the radio episode as well as in the TV version where the ‘Dad’s Army’ team call to the German pilots in the reservoir to “Handy hock!” and surrender. The Germans open fire of course, but in the radio version, Pike’s white scarf is described having holes in it which does upset the boy. 😀
Another difference in the radio version is that Hodges joins the ‘Dad’s Army’ team for a bit to try and get the German pilots out of the reservoir by taking charge of the situation. When the Germans open fire, Hodges becomes a coward and lets the ‘Dad’s Army’ team carry on which was very funny to hear.
The radio episode ends with Jones saying “They don’t like it up ’em!” instead of Wilson who says it in the TV version, which I think is much better. ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ is not as good as its TV counterpart, but it was still pretty enjoyable. It follows more to the familiar structure in the TV episode.
‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ (Audio) rating – 8/10
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