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Wings (1977/78) – S01 E05 – June 1915: “Speaking From Experience” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane


This Episode

June 1915: On his arrival at “C” Flight, Triggers’ forthright manner and unusual ideas quickly make an impression. Seeing the inadequacies of the planes, Triggers encourages the pilots and NCOs to put forward ideas for improvement. Alan Farmer and his Observer, Bravington, get into trouble for firing a pistol to warn another British plane of the approach of a German plane, but this leads to a new strategy. Corporal Morgan, eager to win a weekend in Paris promised by Triggers, comes up with several ingenious plans for improving the plane’s performance, but it is Alan who has a startling new idea that may help turn the tide. Back in Sussex, the Army begins recruiting in the village. Richard Hollis’s grandfather, Sir John, leads the effort, and Lorna assists by playing the piano. As men come forward to volunteer, Harry receives news from Molly that Richard has been killed in an accident, during his first solo training flight.


Wings is a drama series about the Royal Flying Corps that ran on BBC television from 1977 to 1978. It stars Tim Woodward as Alan Farmer, a young blacksmith turned fighter pilot in World War I.

Nicholas Jones played his teacher and mentor, Captain Triggers, and Michael Cochrane played his upper-class friend, Charles Gaylion, who began a relationship with Farmer’s girlfriend while Farmer was believed dead, shot down over France.

The series reveals that the British pilots are struggling with aeroplanes which are both unreliable and inferior to the German machines, and with an Establishment that classes voicing an opinion to that effect as being tantamount to cowardice. The airmen must also face the resentment of British soldiers who see them having an “easy” life. The rigidity of the British class structure is highlighted when Farmer becomes an officer in the second series – he faces resentment both from some officers because of his class and NCOs because of his new rank. The series takes great care with historical accuracy, covering the early days of the parachute, the fitting of weaponry to British biplanes (lacking the Germans’ interruptor gear, they had to be fired at an angle rather than through the propellers) and the horrors of trench warfare. Wings depicts a Britain that is, in some areas, struggling to adapt in the face of change, at a period that was a turning point for many people’s way of life MORE AT LINK

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