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Wings (1977/78) – #14 – S02E02 – “Zeppelin” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

With German Zeppelins making bombing raids across Britain, Major Lancing arrives with orders for “C” Flight to forget the Eindeckers and bomb the Zeppelin sheds in Belgium. The pilots are instructed in bombing techniques by the experienced Sgt Hollywake but his disregard for the threat of the German monoplanes angers Alan, who is becoming obsessed with the Eindecker. At home, the threat of the Zeppelins is giving concern, but Molly is even more worried by Tom’s inability to cope on his own in the smithy, and asks him to train her as his assistant. Triggers, Mills and Bravington eventually develop a plan to intercept a Zeppelin on its way home. Too late to impress a conference on the flying service, the last bombing raid is a failure on all counts: not only does Hollywake offload his bombs to avoid engaging superior numbers, but Alan’s BE2 is shot down behind enemy lines. Just as Molly is congratulating herself on her first horseshoe, a telegram arrives with the news.


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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