1 9 8 3 (UK)
1 x 90 minute episode
In a futuristic alternative England, the fascist leaders build a mysterious aerodrome near a quiet Cotswold village.
The people in the village are free, imperfect and believe in – even if they don’t always obey – traditional Christian values. At the aerodrome, on the other hand, religion is abolished and harsh man-made rules are enforced by rigid discipline.
Roy (Peter Firth), a naïve and likeable lad from the village, discovers on his 21st birthday that he was “found in a basket” and that the Rector (Richard Briers) is actually not his real father.
Shortly thereafter, the Rector is machine-gunned to death at the village fete by Roy’s friend, Air Force man Flight Lieutenant Mark (Dominic Jephcott), who then – bizarrely – becomes the village’s new vicar and ravages Roy’s young lady, publican’s daughter Bess (Natalie Ogle).
To forge a new sense of identity, Roy joins the dangerous and glamorous Air Force – with its futuristic jets and tempting new values – and rises rapidly through the ranks, working closely with the megalomaniacal Air Commander (Richard Johnson).
Roy quickly learns to suppress the feelings he grew up with and to regard the villagers as ignorant and incompetent, while he begins to see women as simple prey. But as he witnesses more of the ruthless behaviour, moral corruption and cruelty of the Air Force, his conscience awakens.
When Mark is murdered by the Air Force, Roy discovers that he and Mark are in fact the illegitimate sons of the Air Commander.
In the end, he returns to life in the village and marries Bess, the woman he always loved.
This outrageous black comedy from the BBC was based on Rex Warner’s 1941 novel.
The Rector (Gerald)
Flt. Lieut. Mark
Provo Sgt. Peters
Flt. Lieut. Preston