Oh Doctor Beeching! (1995–1997): Season 2, Episode 6 - Love Is a Very Splendid Thing - full transcript

Ethel has found romance with American airman Joe,who took her to see 'West Side Story' and who promises to take her back to the States with him. Wilfred decides that he will then join the army. Unfortunately Joe is recalled home very suddenly,leading to a 'Brief Encounter' moment on the station with Ethel. She is upset but she is very happy when Wilfred tells her he will be staying with her after all as the army have rejected him on account of his flat feet.

Hatley! Hatley!
Change here for Busten and Wenstead.


Go and see Harry. Cut your hair. Go on.

♪ I like to be in America

Oh, God...

Thank Gawd that's the last one today.

I'm fed up with dinging them dingers
and pulling them blooming levers.


You'll be sorry you said that when Beeching
closes us down. You'll be out on your ear.

Listen, mate. If Beeching was to come down
here, I'd give him the flat end of my tongue.

Oh, no, you wouldn't, you'd be the first to
suck up to him. You're all talk, Harry Lambert.

Now get on with cutting
my hair. I've got a lot on.

- Evening, Harry.
- What are you doing here?

My mum's just come back from Clumberfield.

She kissed me and told
me to get my hair cut.

Then she started singing.

Been drinking, has she?

Don't be daft! Ethel doesn't drink... oh!

Watch out, Harry, you
nearly had my ear off.

- Sorry, Jack.
- Don't cut it so short this time.

I'm not in the army now, you know.

Did you enjoy being in
the army, Mr Skinner?

Best days of my life, the army days.

It's a pity for you they
stopped conscription.

It'd do you good to get away from your
mother's apron strings, young Wilfred.

- lt'd make a man of you.
- it didn't make a man out of me.

What with them sergeants and officers
shouting at me all the time

and the Germans shooting at me all
the time, it made me a nervous wreck.

- Did it make a man out of you, Jack?
- it taught me discipline.

It turned me into a mean,
lean fighting machine.

So what went wrong, then?

- (Singing)
- 'Ey up, somebody sounds happy.

♪ In America!

♪ (Hums) ..in America (Hums) ..in America

♪ Everything free in America!

JACK: Evening, Ethel.

- Hello, Jack, Harry.
- Been to Clumberfield, have you?

Yes, I went shopping,

then I went to the optician's to get my
eyes tested, then I went to the pictures.

Went on your own, did you?

That's for me to know and for
you to find out, Jack Skinner.

Uh! Ha!

- She's met a man.
- Don't be daft.

- Where would Ethel meet a man?
- At the pictures.

More like in the optician's!

- Morning, May.
- (Screams)

Oh! Whatever do you think
you're playing at? I'm wet through.

I'm sorry. Would you like to come through to my
kitchen and dry your clothes in front of the fire?

Oh, yes, and what are you planning to do while
I'm standing there in your kitchen half-naked?

Well, I'm sure I'll think of something.

Think of something else, Cecil Parkin.

Oh, May, I couldn't sleep again last night.

I lay on my bed all night tossing
and turning, thinking of you.

You're a fool to yourself.

And here you are this morning
with the sun shining through your hair.

- All radiant and rosy-cheeked.
- Rosy-cheeked, my eye.

I'm flushed from carrying
these flaming heavy buckets.

- VERA: Coo-ee!
- Oh, 'eck. She's all I need.

Go on, be off with you.
You know what she's like.



- Oh, May!
- Get out!

Morning, all. Oh, on your own, are you?

I thought I heard you talking to someone.

Oh, no, Vera, I was just talking to myself.

You know, as you do...
when you're on your own.

Oh, yes. Personally, I
always talk to myself.

My late husband used to say that talking
to yourself was the first sign of madness.

(Buckets thud)

Anyway, I've changed the sheets
on Mr Parkin's bed.

Just look at them.

They're all rumpled and wrinkly.

I can't think what he does all night.

I can.

♪ I like to be in America
OK by me in America

♪ Everything free in America
For a small fee in America

(♪ Hums America)

- What are you doing, Wilfred?
- I'm sweeping the floor, Mr Skinner.

- Where's your brush, then?
- My mum's danced into t'booking office with it.

Well, dance in there after her
and get it back sharpish.


- Did you get a chance to talk to Ethel?
- How could I? She's not been in yet.

- She's in the booking office.
- I'm not going chasing after her in there.

Jack, you haven't stopped going on about Ethel
meeting a man since she came home last night.

I'm not positive she has met a man.
That's what I want you to find out.

I don't know why you're so interested.

She's over 21. If she wants to meet a man,
she can meet a man, can't she?


But I worry about her, May.
I mean, Ethel's a simple soul. Men use her.

I mean, look at Percy.
He keeps promising to take her out.

Then young Amy turns up and he's off,
leaving Ethel in the lurch.

All right, when she comes in for her tea,
I'll talk to her.

Has she been singing?

Nonstop, why?

My late husband always knew
when the coalman had been

on account of my singing.

I used to sing...

♪ Mr Sandman, bring me a dream

How did he know it was the coalman?

Cos that was his name. Mr Sandman.

Didn't bring me a dream, though.

Only nutty slack.

(♪ Hums America)

Ai! Ai! Ai!

Mrs Schumann! Mrs Schumann!

You frightened the life out of me.

What in heaven's name
do you think you're doing?


Well, kindly stop it at once.

This is British Railways property
and I'm trying to do some work.

If you wish to sing, kindly do it in
your own home in your own time.

Yes, Mr Parkin. Certainly, Mr Parkin.

Three bags full, Mr Parkin.

♪ Tonight, tonight won't be just any night

♪ Tonight there will be no...!

Oh! Morning, all.

- Give us a cup of tea, please, May.
- Ooh! You're cheerful this morning.

Am I?

Jack, haven't you got anything better
to do than stand there gawping?

- I'm finishing my tea.
- You've finished.

Oh, yeah, right. I'll go and check
if the track's still there.

Right. Ethel.

Come on. How old is he
and what's he look like?


- What you doing, Mr Skinner?
- Shh! I'm listening.

He's an American called Joe.

And he's sort of big and sort of muscly.

And sort of cuddly.

You'd think he'd be ever so bossy, what
with him being so big, but he's not at all.

He's just like a great,
big, cuddly teddy bear.

You like him, then?

He works at the US Airbase in Bigglesby.
I met him in the café.

He was sitting opposite me. Anyway,
I was having one of these frothy coffees.

The froth went up my
nose and I saw him laugh.

Then he had a drink of his frothy coffee

and the froth stuck to his top lip
like a moustache, and I laughed.

Then we went to the pictures.

- What's she saying?
- Shh!

How can I listen if you keep interrupting?

But I want to know what's going on.

She's met this big, handsome American
who's took her to the pictures.

Mr Skinner! Wilfred!
What do you think you're doing?

Oh, hello, Mr Parkin.

I'm just checking if Wilfred has cleaned
these brass plates on the doors properly.

- Has he?
- No, there's fingermarks all over them.

- They're your fingermarks. You just made 'em.
- Don't be cheeky.

- Where are we going?
- Check the brasses in the gents.

- What about?
- Come on!

The film was dead good.

The story takes place in New York,
on the West Side, between these two gangs.

Which, I suppose,
is why it's called West Side Story.

Anyway, this bloke
Tony is in love with Maria,

but Maria is the sister of the gang leader
who's Tony's deadly mortal enemy.

So, anyway, the two gangs get
into this big fight and kill each other.

It's ever so romantic!

- What are you doing?
- I'm going to try and listen at the buffet window.

- Can you hear anything?
- Yes.

You. Shut up.

I'd love to go to America.
Wouldn't you, May?

Well, you never know. This Joe might sweep you
off your feet and take you back there with him.

Wouldn't that be lovely?


All those big cars. Those big buildings.

Those big men.

Who am I kidding?
I'll never be able to go to America.

- Why ever not?
- I've got too many responsibilities in Hatley.

- Like what?
- Well, there's Wilfred for a start.

Who'd look after him if
I went gallivanting off?

Well, don't look at me.

Or me. I'm too old to be a mother.

- What's she saying?
- Eh?

My mum. What's she saying?

She's saying she'd like to go to America
with this bloke,

but she can't because she's got to
stay home to flaming well look after you!


♪ I'm the Sheikh of Araby

♪ And you belong to me

♪ At night, when you're asleep

♪ lnto your tent I creep

- What's that you're singing, Arnold?
- Eh? Oh, it's The Sheikh Of Araby.

Jessica's favourite song.

She was singing it this morning in the outside
toilet and I can't get the thing out of my head.

Does she sing a lot in the bog, then?

Oh, yes. Ever since I
took the bolt off the door.

That was her pet name for me.
I was her Sheikh of Araby.

Are you foreign, then?

Not so far as I know.

It's just that it's something that's been worrying
me for a long time now, the foreign question.

What are you talking about?

It's just that I read somewhere
that for every man, there is a woman.

You know, like fate has
picked one out for you.

You mean that Jessica
was picked out for me?

Yeah, something like that.

Well, I was wondering...

what if the one picked out for me
was Chinese?

I wouldn't know what
she was saying, would I?

Do you think I should learn Chinese?


Just put some more coal on.

Hatley! Hatley! Hatley!

Change here for Busten and Wenstead.

Afternoon, Jack.

You need a trolley, mate.
I got a load of parcels for you.

Right. Wilfred! Wilfred!

Cor blimey...

- What's up?
- It's that boy again.

- What's he done now?
- Vanished.

- What, into thin air?
- I've not set eyes on him all afternoon.

Wilfred! Wilfred!

Careful, Bernie. There's a dog
in there and he's not very friendly.

(Dog growls then howls)

He won't do that again. I bit him back.

Here, are you getting on or staying off?

No. We're getting on. I'm taking Abby to
the pictures tonight, ain't I, my lovely?

We're gonna see West Side Story.

It's got that Natalie Wood in it.
Phwoar, she's a corker.

Do you think she's prettier than me, Percy?

Course not!
She's only up on the screen, ain't she?

You'll be sitting next to me.

Right away!

- Doing your own portering, Jack?
- It's that boy, Wilfred. He's done a bunk.

- Where's he gone?
- Don't ask me.

Maybe he's gone to China
to find his one true love.


Don't ask. That him there?

- Where?
- There.

Aye, that's him.
Just wait till I get my hands on him.

Come in!

- Hello, Mum.
- Wilfred! Where have you been?

- Jack's been looking high and low for you.
- I had to go to Clumberfield.

- Clumberfield. Whatever for?
- So I won't be in your way.

- What do you mean?
- So you can go to America with your friend Joe.

Go to America? Wilfred, what have you done?

I've taken the Queen's shilling.

Well, you can jolly well
go and give it back to her.

No, you don't understand.

I've joined the army.



- Mr Skinner!
- Yes, Mr Parkin?

Don't bash the trolley into the door. You'll
take all the paint off. Now it's all chipped.

- Sorry, Mr Parkin.
- Please be more careful in future.

Certainly, Mr Parkin.

On second thoughts...

take all the parcels off the trolley.


Yes, I think it would be best if trolleys
were not to be taken into the booking hall.

From now on, all parcels
must be carried into the building.

Anything you say, Mr Parkin.
I'll get Wilfred to do it. Wilfred!

No, no, you can do it. I'll help.

- There's no need.
- No, no, I insist.

I wouldn't want anyone to think
that I don't pull my weight around here.

I'm sure nobody would dream
of thinking that, Mr Parkin.

You know, I like to think of us all
as the Three Musketeers.

All for one and one for all.

Quite right, Mr Parkin.

Yeah. Right.

I think that should be enough
to be going on with.

Very kind of you, Mr Parkin.

- Oh, Wilfred, you are a fool.
- I thought you'd be pleased.

How can I be pleased?

Mr Skinner said I should untie myself
from your apron strings.

- I thought you'd be proud of me.
- Oh, I am proud of you, Wilfred. Very proud.

- Do you think Mr Skinner will be proud of me?
- Of course he will.

Look, I know Jack gets at you at times
but all in all, I think he likes you.

(Crash, Jack yells)

JACK: I'll kill that boy Wilfred!

Jack, Wilfred's joined the army.

Just in time.

Right, left, right, left, right, left.

Halt! About turn!

Can we stop now, Mr Skinner?
Me feet are hurting.


Do you know what your sergeant major
would do if you said,

(Limp voice)
"Can we stop now, Sergeant Major?"

- I don't know.
- He'd have you on a charge, that's what!

Right. Stand at... ease!

I said, stand at ease, not fall asleep. Come
on, arms behind your back. Chin up. Feet apart.

Not that far apart.




Quick... march!

Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear!


- What's the matter with you, Harry?
- You're showing him all wrong.

What you trying to do?
Turn him into a laughing stock?

- What are you talking about?
- He's not doing it right.

You don't march like
this, you do it like this.

Here, here, Wilfred, here!

Follow me.

Left! Left! Left, right, left.

Left, left.

No, no, you daft ha'p'orth, you're doing
it all cock-eyed. You do it like this.

Left, right, left, right, left, right...

Cor blimey, you look like
you're both deformed now.

Well, I'm not hanging about here all
the afternoon. I'm gonna go and have a kip.

The only chance I get to have a rest is on
a Sunday between the 12.15 and the 6.20.

When there's no ruddy trains.

Excuse me! Pardon my interrupturing.

But all your shouting
has awoken me from my dream.

Sorry, Vera.

I wouldn't mind only it was just getting
to the interesting bit.

- You was in it, Harry.
- Oh, aye? What was he doing, then?

I've no idea. You stopped him doing it
with all your shouting.

What's going off? You're making
enough noise to wake the dead.

'Ey up, who's this, then?

Blimey, look at that car.

- Is it American?
- Looks like it.

Could be Ethel's fella.

She's fallen on her feet this time.

I'll bet that's worth a few bob.

Hi, there.

Would this be the right place
to find Mrs Ethel Schumann?

Yes. Number two.

- Joe!
- Hi, Ethel.

- What you doing here?
- I've come to take you out this afternoon.

- Have you?
- I thought I'd borrow my buddy's car,

take you for a picnic and then maybe
we'd go for a walk in the woods.

Walk in the woods? Oh, I'd love to.

I'll get my coat.


Allow me.

- I don't like the look of him.
- What are you talking about?

- He seems quite nice.
- And he behaves like a gentleman.

Yeah, but for how long?

- What do you mean?
- You heard him.

"We'll go for a walk in the woods."

What's he gonna do with her in the woods?
That's what I want to know.

- Go for a walk, I expect.
- But she'll be all on her own with him.

And you know what happens when two
people are left alone together, don't you?

What happens, Harry?

I can't remember now.

I don't care what you say.
He's a Yank and I don't trust him. Come on!

- Where are you going?
- To keep an eye on him. We'll take Parkin's van.

I have to change out of my slippers.

I'm not one to pry into other people's
business but I'll be down in a jiffy.

(Gears grind)

(Gearbox scrapes)

- Cheers.
- Cheers.

Look at this lovely
spread. It's smashing, Joe.

- Just something I rustled up.
- Oh, you are clever.

Oh, I'll tell you what.

Why not come and have some dinner
with me and Wilfred Sunday?

I only wish I could, Ethel,
but it would be too far to come.

Well, couldn't you borrow
your buddy's car again?

- Nope, afraid not.
- The 12.15 stops at Hatley.

Yeah, but it doesn't start in Pennsylvania.

What do you mean?

Well, my tour of duty is over.
I gotta go back to the States.

Well, couldn't it wait till after Sunday?

No, when Uncle Sam says you gotta go home,
you gotta go home.


Oh, will...
Will this be the last time I see you, then?

Hey, wait a minute.

I've gotta fly out of Marham in Norfolk
on Tuesday.

The 9.10 train comes through Hatley.

- Oh, I'll be able to say goodbye, then, won't I?
- I certainly hope so.


This is the life, huh?

This is what it's all about.

Yes, it is, in't it?


Green fields. Quaint little houses.

- it is nice, in't it?
- Sure is.

Out here in the open air, just
the two of us, nobody for miles.

Doing whatever we want.

Well, which is it to be, then?

Leg or breast?

Oh, for heaven's sake, Ethel, you've looked at
that clock five times in the last two minutes.

I'm sorry, Jack, it's just that
I don't want to miss the 9.10.

How can you miss it? It stops here.

- it might not today.
- Of course it will.

The 9.10 has stopped here every day
since 1959.

Except for Sundays.

Mrs Schumann, have you seen Wilfred?

Er... no, Mr Parkin,
not since first thing this morning.

- Really?
- He was having his cornflakes.

He heard the postman, so he went to fetch
the letters, and I've not seen him since.

- How annoying.
- Yes, his cornflakes will have gone all soggy!

- (Train whistle)
- That'll be the 9.10. See it through, Mr Skinner.

Not you, Mrs Schumann. I need you in
my office to go through the ticket returns.

I can't do that now. The 9.10's coming in.

I'm well aware of that but as there
are no passengers waiting to buy tickets,

I thought the time
could be better utilised.

Couldn't we better utilise it
after the 9.10's been?

Oh, very well, but don't linger!

I need to get these books sorted out
this morning.

Ethel! Ethel!

Oh, don't blow your
whistle for a minute, Jack.

- Hello, Joe.
- Hi, there. Looking for me?


- So... you're off then?
- Yep, back to the good old US of A.

I'm really sorry you've
got to go back so soon.

- I have been here three years.
- I know, but I've only known you for a week.

- You know, I wish I'd met you before.
- Oh, do you?

- Do you, really?
- Yeah, really.

I'm going to miss you, Joe.

Are you going to miss me a bit?

Yes, Ethel, I am going to miss you a bit.

- A big bit or a little bit?
- A big bit!

Ethel, I'm going to have
to blow the whistle now.

Just another minute, Jack!

Parkin'll kill me.

So... it's goodbye, then.

Yeah, it's goodbye, Ethel. It's been great.

Oh, yeah... Great!

Mr Skinner! Why is the train still
in the station? ls there a problem?

- Er, no, Mr Parkin.
- Then get rid of it.

JACK: Right away!

- You've been great.
- Yeah, great.

- Will you come back, do you think?
- I might.

- Will you write?
- I might.

Will you always remember me?

I will!


Ethel! Ethel!

Coming, Jack.

I've just caught Wilfred skulking
in the gents' whatsit.

- What were you doing in there?
- Nothing.

- Have you been crying?
- No.

Don't you fib to me, Wilfred Schumann.
Your eyes are all red.

- So are yours.
- I've got hay fever.

- Now, what's up?
- I got this letter from the Ministry of Defence.

- JACK: Is it your posting?
- No.

Oh, you read it, Jack.
My eyes are all stinging.

"Dear Mr Schumann, your recent application to
join Her Majesty's Forces has been declined

due to your medical condition."

Medical condition?

What medical condition?

I've got flat feet.

Oh, Wilfred!

I am pleased!

Are you? But you won't be able to go
to America cos I'll be at home in your way.

- I don't want to go to America.
- Don't you?

No, I want to stay at
home in Hatley with you.

Oh, my lad!

Well, Wilfred, if you're staying, you can start
by putting those parcels in the booking office.

And don't push the trolley in there. You're
taking all the paint off and now it's all chipped.

♪ Oh, Doctor Beeching, what have you done?

♪ There once were lots of trains to catch
but soon there will be none

♪ I'll have to buy a bike
cos I can't afford a car

♪ Oh, Doctor Beeching,
what a naughty man you are

♪ Oh, Doctor Beeching, what have you done?

♪ There once were lots of trains to catch
but soon there will be none

♪ I'll have to buy a bike
cos I can't afford a car

♪ Oh, Doctor Beeching,
what a naughty man you are