The Lion Has Phones

The Lion Has 'Phones is the third episode of the third series of the British comedy series Dad's Army. It was originally transmitted on 25 September 1969.

"The Lion Has Phones"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no.Series 2
Episode 3
Directed byHarold Snoad
Story byJimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced byDavid Croft
Original air date25 September 1969 (1969-09-25)
Running time30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Battle School"
Next →
"The Bullet is Not for Firing"


After a successful exercise in camouflage, Mainwaring delivers a lecture on communications. Apparently, the four main targets are the gasometer, the railway bridge, the telephone exchange and the reservoir. They are vital to the town's survival, so two men will be posted at each location. If they see anything suspicious, they will phone Mainwaring via the nearest telephone box. Frazer asks Mainwaring what will happen if the telephone boxes are out of action, and many alternatives are suggested, including a heliograph, tick-tacking, shooting a hole in the top of the gasometer and setting fire to it, and tapping the railway line and laying your ear onto it (Pike dismisses this idea by telling Jones that a train may come and run over your ear).

Pike and Godfrey admit they do not know how to use a telephone box; Mrs Pike believes they are unhygienic and Godfrey is hopeless with machines. After a hilarious practical demonstration, they march down to the telephone box nearest the reservoir. Pike is the first to get the lesson, but the recipient of the call is his mum, who gives Mainwaring and Wilson an earful. When a queue begins to form, Walker cons them into believing that telephone calls are going on ration from tomorrow.

That evening, while out on patrol, Frazer and Walker spot a German plane crash into the reservoir. Walker phones Mainwaring, then mysteriously vanishes. Mainwaring and the rest of the platoon arrive, and their verbal attempts to persuade the Germans to surrender result in heavy gunfire. Mainwaring writes GHQ's phone number on some paper and tells Jones to go and phone them and to memorise and destroy the paper afterwards, but Jones' muddle headedness as he says "Memorise and destroy the phone", and him reading the phone number upside-down (991 instead of 166), results in him ringing the Embassy cinema instead, and ends up believing that Googie Withers and Eric Portman are aboard the plane. He gets no joy from emergency services either, so ARP Warden Hodges helps Jones get through.

Eventually, Lieutenant Hope-Bruce of the Coldstream Guards arrives and tells Mainwaring that they've surrounded the reservoir. He pompously tries to get Mainwaring to leave the situation in the hands of the regular army, but is quick to cancel an order for mortar bombs under Mainwaring's persuasion. Walker returns and tells Mainwaring that he's talked to the man in charge of the reservoir: he has opened the sluices, and the Germans will have to swim for it in less than two hours. Laughing, Mainwaring says they should leave the mopping up to the Coldstream Guards.



  1. The working title for this episode was 'Sorry, Wrong Number', which was the title used for the later radio episode.
  2. The episode title is a reference to the 1939 propaganda film The Lion Has Wings.
  3. When Jones accidentally rings up the cinema, they mistakenly believe he is enquiring about the 1941 film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing starring, as they tell him, Googie Withers. A poster for this film can be seen on the wall of the box office.
  4. In this episode, Sgt Wilson says "I have never heard you swear before, sir", when Captain Mainwaring says "bloody cheek". This is untrue, as Wilson has heard Mainwaring say "the rotten bastard" in The Showing Up of Corporal Jones, an episode from Series 1.
  5. When the ladies join the queue for the telephone box, Pamela Cundell's character is referred to as Mrs Fox, the character she played two episodes previously, yet she is still credited as 'Lady in Queue'.
  6. In 2020, for the Dad's Army Appreciation Society, Niles Schilder wrote four scripts about how the platoon would of dealt with the events of 2020. In one of the scripts, An Unauthorised Gathering, the platoon learn how to wash their hands in a similar way to how they learnt to use a public telephone box in this episode.[1]


  1. ^ Schilder, Niles. "fanfiction". Retrieved 23 February 2021.

Further readingEdit

  • Croft, David; Perry, Jimmy; Webber, Richard (2000). The Complete A-Z of Dad’s Army. Orion. ISBN 0-7528-4637-X.

External linksEdit