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Wings (1977/78) – S01 E08 – July 1915: “The Hunters” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

July 1915: Although they have not made up their quarrel, Alan and Charles are forced to continue flying as a team. Ordered by Triggers to continue with reconnaissance and to avoid the enemy, they are anxious to do something about the German plane that has been causing them so much trouble, particularly after it shoots down Charles’s friend Lt Favell. Charles devises a method of fitting a Lewis gun to their plane, which Alan carries out, using his metalwork skills. They take on the enemy plane but only just get home in one piece when Alan shoots out the struts of one wing of their own plane. When Triggers himself is almost shot down by the German machine-gunner does he agree to allow the use of the Lewis gun to be attempted, and orders them to accept the written challenge from the Germans who wish to renew their duel “with our gallant enemy”. This time they meet with better success, but Alan, having shot the German gunner, pretends the gun has jammed rather than kill the pilot as well. Back at home in Sussex, Mr Rudkin and Harry take Molly for a picnic and privately discuss their mutual feelings for her. Lorna continues to pine for Alan, and arranges to work evenings as a nursing assistant at a local convalescent hospital.


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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