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Wings (1977/78) – S01 E07 – July 1915: “Time Out Of War” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

July 1915: Following his accident, Alan has to spend three weeks acting as Charles Gaylion’s observer. His friendship with Gaylion causes unrest among the NCOs because of the difference in their rank, and becomes a concern for Triggers. Alan and Charles are sent back to England to pick up a new plane from Farnborough. Charles, being an officer, travels first class, but Alan is forced to stand in a crowded compartment with the other ranks. On arrival, they learn that the plane is not ready; while they are waiting, Lorna comes to see Alan at the factory. He tells her that they are both changing and he finds it difficult to plan for the future, but agrees to continue to write to her. While staying overnight at the Gaylions’ home in London, he is introduced to Charles’s sister Kate and her pacifist friends. Having slept until evening, he gets ready to go out with Charles but finds that only Kate is in the house. They have supper together, and Kate tells Alan that Charles has developed a drinking habit because of his fear of being at the Front. Charles returns, drunk and furious at finding Alan and Kate alone together, and creates a scene. On their return to base, Triggers is at first relieved to see that they have fallen out, but later reproves both of them for their conduct and tries to explain the need for “structure on the ground”.


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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