Open-access content Wednesday 2nd January 2013
2 January 2013
Scene: Walmington-on-Sea church hall, Vicar's office. Captain Mainwaring sits at his desk reading an order from HQ.
As he reads the letter a smile begins to play around his lips. There is a knock at the door; he looks up.
Enter Sergeant Wilson.
WILSON: Good evening sir. The men are on parade ready for you.
MAINWARING: Evening Wilson. (Waves order at Wilson). I have news for them.
Wilson holds the door open and follows Mainwaring into the hall. They walk to the far side of the parade.
They snap to attention with Jones half a beat behind the others as usual.
MAINWARING: (Brandishes HQ order) Now pay attention men. This was to have been our last parade, but new orders have come through and we are to be retained with an expanded role. (Pauses, then begins to pace up and down before the men). As you know only too well we have kept Walmington-on-Sea secure for almost six years now, keeping out all intruders.
PIKE: Sir, except for those two lots of Jerries Sir. They got in.
MAINWARING: But we dealt with both Pike, and in short order.
PIKE: Do you think that I'm still on that list Sir? It's not fair if I'm still on the list.
WILSON: It's all right Frank, there is no list.
MAINWARING: Stupid boy! Now where was I? Oh yes, our new role. The powers that be have decided that there will be a new role in peace time and that we shall fulfil it. There will be hard times ahead; rationing will still be in place and there will be a need for a group of people to manage the local community. We will continue to provide security for our people, and we will also provide the support for the local infrastructure as we have done during the war, but there will be a number of services that we can provide to the community and we will develop these in the months to come. Our new title will be the Facilities Management Team and I shall be Head of Facilities. (Hands the order to Wilson to read).
FRAZER: Will we be keeping our uniforms Sir?
PIKE: Yes, and what about our weapons?
JONES: Especially our bayonets Sir. (Makes thrusting motions with his rifle) They don't like it up 'em you know Sir, they don't like it up 'em.
WILSON: It says here that we shall be handing in both our uniforms and our weapons.
MAINWARING: I think that we should retain our uniforms so that people know who we are, but our firearms have no place in a peacetime occupation or amongst civilians. (Steps back out of the way of Jones who is still making thrusting motions) All right Jones, that's enough of that. Facilities Management looks like a tough role, but I'm sure that we are up to the task even unarmed. Now Jones, one of the things that we shall be responsible for is catering, so you will have a key part.
GODFREY: My sister Dolly could bake some cakes.
MAINWARING: (Impatiently) Yes. Thank you Godfrey, but I think that we are looking at a bigger scale here. It will mean that we have to bring Hodges the greengrocer under our wing (he is interrupted by the door opening: Enter Captain Square of the rival Eastgate Platoon).
WILSON: Atten-shun! (They come to attention with Jones late as always. Salutes are exchanged).
SQUARE: Evening Mane-wearing (deliberately mispronouncing).
MAINWARING: Evening Square. I was just telling them men about our new role.
SQUARE: Yes, well you can forget all that, here are new orders (hands over an envelope). Those at the top have decided that the world will not be ready for Facilities Management for at least another thirty years so that's that; you'll disband as planned.
MAINWARING: But surely you can see that the community needs this sort of leadership to build a sound future?
SQUIRE: You have your orders. I suggest you carry them out. (He walks out, muttering under his breath) Have some blithering idiot of a jumped up bank clerk telling me how to run my estate? Facilities Management? More like a Flaming Menace. (Closes door behind him).
Fade scene. Run end titles.
With grateful thanks to Croft & Perry, the BBC and the cast of Dad's Army for their inspiration
John Bowen is an FM consultant
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