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Wings (1977/78) – S01 E09 – July 1915: “New Deal” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

July 1915: Alan helps Charles to capture a German plane and its crew but is not invited to the meal in their honour in the Officers’ Mess that evening. Triggers is also unhappy at the two German officers being entertained, but follows the lead taken by his CO. After the senior officers have left, the remaining drunken officers indulge in horseplay and fail to keep close watch on the prisoners, who make an escape attempt. Alan, who is out shooting game, thwarts the Germans’ escape attempt. Rather than give him a commendation (which will expose the officers’ negligent behaviour), Triggers allows him a 48-hour pass to Paris where he calls on the Gaylion family and meets Charles’s sister Kate again; they go out for dinner and dancing, but Alan is disappointed when Kate refuses to make any firm arrangement to see him again. Triggers is desperate when “C” Flight is ordered on a suicidal mission to bring down a German kite balloon, despite the shortcomings of their planes, and Alan and his observer narrowly save Charles from being shot down. They hit on the idea of flying over the German lines in the captured enemy Albatros, and successfully bring down the balloon, but once again Charles gets the credit from his fellow officers, whilst Alan receives a dressing-down from Triggers for the unsporting manner in which it was achieved.


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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