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Wings (1977/78) – S02E01 – “Forward Action” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

As Alan’s leave in Sussex comes to an end, he and Lorna become engaged, and he sells his motorbike to buy her a ring. Meanwhile, Harry leaves Becket’s Hill to work in a munitions factory. Triggers is frustrated by the attitude of his commanding officer, until the Major, burdened by the responsibility of his position, takes over Triggers’ reconnaissance duties and is shot down and killed. Enraged by the RFC losses against superior German machines, Triggers remembers one of the Major’s comments and attempts to ram an Eindecker, but fails to bring it down. On the same day, a general arrives to visit the base, and meets Alan as the latter returns from leave. Triggers’ frequent protests to senior commanders at last bear fruit, as the general orders “C” Flight into forward action, with the task of keeping the Eindeckers busy so as to prevent them from shooting down British reconnaissance planes. For the first time in the series, German pilots are shown discussing tactics. All the observers except Bravington are sent away to join the reconnaissance effort, and Triggers introduces a new regime, with Sergeant Mills instructing the pilots in keep-fit exercises. With a new French engine and a Lewis gun fitted to the BE2, Alan is sent to try out a new approach and succeeds in unnerving the German pilots.


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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