‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another one of my favourite episodes from the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series and was featured as an episode in one of the ‘Very Best of Dad’s Army’ VHSs that I watched as a kid. In this episode, Corporal Jones meets up with an old soldier friend, Private Clarke, who he served with in the Battle of Omdurman.

It turns out that Jones left Clarke in the desert to die during the Battle of Omdurman. Or did he? As Jones proves his innocence, he reveals to Captain Mainwaring and the others what really happened. This involves Jonesy and Clarke going out in the desert and getting caught by two horrible Dervishes.

I can’t leave out mentioning the first scene in the restaurant where Mainwaring, Wilson and Pike were ordering food for lunch. It was funny when that dinner lady told Mainwaring that the fish pie was “SNOEK!!!” He had toad in the hole instead. 😀 The dinner lady gets fed up when this sort happens.

Incidentally, Queenie Watts who played Edna, the dinner lady who served the “SNOEK!!!”, also played Mrs. Keen in the TV version of ‘Under Fire’ and Mrs. Peters in ‘The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones’. Walker also brings in his steak for the dinner ladies to cook for him at the restaurant.

John Cater guest stars as Private Clarke, the old soldier friend of Jonesy’s who claimed he left him in the desert to die. I liked it when Frazer, Walker and Mainwaring have their own suspicions about Jones, until he gets three letters that contain ‘the two and a half feathers’. Once he reads them, he disappears.

I loved Jonesy’s story of him in the desert with Private Clark. I found it funny where there were familiar ‘Dad’s Army’ actors playing the characters in Jonesy’s story. This includes John Le Mesurier as Colonel Smythe; Ian Lavender as Second Lieutenant ‘Franklin’ and James Beck as Private Green.

There’s also Arthur Lowe as the nasty Sergeant Ironside, who I found funny when he was swearing and there’s a spitting sound effect to censor it. There’s also Arnold Ridley as the Fakir who warns Smythe and his group to ‘turn back’. There’s also John Laurie and Bill Pertwee who play the two evil Dervishes in the desert.

‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ is also Stephen’s, my best mate from school, favourite episode from ‘Dad’s Army’. It’s very easy to see why as it’s one of the best. It’s a Jonesy episode; has ‘Dad’s Army’ actors playing extra characters in it and it ends with Jones convincing everybody that he is innocent.

‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ (TV) rating – 10/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Since I love the TV version of ‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ so much, the radio version isn’t always going to match my expectations. Even when I first heard it in the car on the journey back from a holiday in Bath, I wasn’t fully taken with it. There are good parts to it but also bad parts to it in the radio adaptation.

The radio version of ‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ was the twenty-fourth episode in Series 3 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. It has Larry Martyn playing Walker in it as well as Bill Pertwee as Chief Warden Hodges. Bill Pertwee also played ‘El Hodge’ who was paired with John Laurie’s the ‘Wazir El Frazer’. 😀

What’s funny with Jonesy telling the story of what happened between him and Private Clarke in the Battle of Omdurman is that the actors who are playing their alternative characters actually get to speak compared to the TV episode. We hear John Laurie and Bill Pertwee speaking during Jones’ story.

You might think that’s strange for me to say but most of Jones’ story was told in narration. We hear what was said between Jones and Clarke with the two Dervishes. We also hear Arnold Ridley as the Fakir in this tale. Arthur Lowe as Ironside’s swearing doesn’t get censored the same way as on TV though.

Michael Bates guest stars as Private Clarke instead of John Cater as on TV. I found Michael Bates very good as Private Clarke. He sounded more military than John Cater’s TV version, especially when he stood to attention meeting Mainwaring for the first time. It was also funny when he was a coward. 😀

Avril Angers guest stars as Edna the dinner lady instead of Queenie Watts as on TV. Avril Angers has been in both the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series and radio series. On TV, she was in episodes like ‘The Lion Has ‘Phones’ and ‘Put That Light Out!’, playing a telephone operator in both those episodes. On radio, she was in the episodes ‘Under Fire’, ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’, ‘Put That Light Out!’ and ‘Brain Versus Brawn’.

Regarding Edna the dinner lady, I didn’t find the opening restaurant scene in the radio version to be as good as the TV version. For one thing, Edna doesn’t call the fish pie ‘SNOEK’ like Queenie Watts did. She calls it ‘snook’. She also doesn’t sound very funny as Queenie Watt’s Edna from the TV episode.

There’s no Doreen (as played by Gilda Perry on TV) and Betty (as played by Linda James on TV) in the radio episode. The three dinner ladies are combined into one for the radio version as Edna. The Raymond character is replaced by a Doris character in Jones’ butcher’s shop and Wendy Richard doesn’t play Edith/Shirley in the radio episode as on TV. Amazing there’s so much difference between TV and radio versions. 😀

‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ (Audio) rating – 8/10

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