Then Churchill Said to Me

Season 1 Episode 1

Operation Panic

Aired Unknown Mar 01, 1993 on BBC Two
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Operation Panic
Private Potts accidentally volunteers his boss for a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. The only way he can rectify this mistake is by impersonating a senior officer.

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  • Up Pompeii meets Dad's Army.

    After two seasons of Up Pompeii and three films based on the same set-up, we get Frankie Howerd again in the role of a bungling servant who shares his thoughts directly with the audience. As the writing was done by other people than Up Pompeii, you notice a difference. There is less of the smutty, seaside postcard humour, but that might be a consequence of the newly-invented political correctness. Again, a very limited set requires lots of running in and out of doors, just to get some movement, and you might wonder whether an underground bunker could provide enough material for several episodes. Apart from Nicholas Courtney, known for Doctor Who, most actors are fresh faces.

    Ironically a real war (The Falklands War) destroyed the chances of this series and only six episodes were made. If all of them are as crisp as this one, that may have been a shame. The simple plot moves ahead fluently and some characters are introduced effectively, although they seem to have little purpose for this episode.moreless
Roger Avon

Roger Avon


Guest Star

Frank Gatliff

Frank Gatliff


Guest Star

Joanna Dunham

Joanna Dunham

Petty Officer Joan Bottomley

Recurring Role

Shaun Curry

Shaun Curry

Sgt Major McRuckus

Recurring Role

Nicholas Courtney

Nicholas Courtney

Colonel Witherton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: Private Potts finds notes for Churchill's speech "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." That speech was delivered in November 1942, but this story takes place in 1941. Surely Churchill did not prepare his notable speeches that far in advance.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Potts: This is the nerve centre of the Allied High Command, deep down in the bowels of the earth. The most important room is marked WC, ... the office of Winston Churchill.

    • (Colonel Witherton threatens to send Potts to the front.) Potts: You forget about my agoraphobia, sir. It's in my files.

      Colonel Witherton: Agoraphobia? What, fear of open spaces?

      Potts: Yes sir, especially battlefields.

    • Potts: That's that raving Wren I was telling you about. She wears naval dress. One tug and it's off.

    • (Disguised as a general Private Potts has rearranged the war map.)
      General: Isn't that a bit unusual, sir, deploying ships there?
      Potts: Well, it's a surprise move, you see?
      Admiral: Moving ships inland to the top of the Eiffel Tower?
      Potts: If it comes as a surprise to you, God knows what it will do to the Germans.

  • NOTES (0)


    • Admiral: Good Lord, sir, if Nelson could hear you say that!
      Potts: Nelson? That one-eyed bandit with a thing about soldiers?
      Admiral: How dare you, sir!
      Potts: It's a historical fact. Why, with his dying breath he said to his friend "Kiss me, Hardy." Even Stan Laurel never did that.

      The argument refers to Horatio Nelson's last words. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) lost his life at the Battle of Trafalgar. There is a persistent urban legend that Captain Thomas Hardy was an ancestor of Oliver Hardy, one half of the famous comedy team Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy.

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