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Wings (1977/78) – #17 – S02E05 – “Stunt Or Die” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

Charles Gaylion, sent to train new pilots in the south of England, quickly becomes frustrated at the rules that forbid him teaching the trainees anything potentially dangerous. His ideas for a new training system are dismissed as nonsense by his commanding officer, who will not allow new pilots to fly, alone or accompanied, in the slightest adverse weather conditions. Charles does, however, find a home from home at Becket’s Hill, where he begins to visit Molly and Lorna on a regular basis. Molly still has some hope of Alan being found alive, but Lorna feels sure that she will never see him again. After an argument with one angry flying pupil, Lt Towy-Jones, who questions his courage, Charles demonstrates how to get out of a spin, allowing the trainee to try it for himself even though it means risking both their lives. However, a less able pupil, Westerley, hearing about his friend’s success, decides to take a plane up alone and attempt the same manoeuvre, while Charles is off the base taking Lorna up for a pleasure flight. Westerley crashes and is killed, but, when Charles attempts to take responsibility for the incident, he receives unexpected sympathy from his CO and is not blamed. At the end of the episode, the viewer catches a glimpse of Alan Farmer, semi-conscious and being cared for in a private house.



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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