The Breach in the Dyke

by Alexander Baron

Episode Number: 6
Director: Tim Jones



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
Jean Ashton   Shelagh Fraser
Sheila Ashton   Coral Atkins
Margaret Porter   Lesley Nunnerley
John Porter   Ian Thompson
Philip Ashton   Keith Drinkel
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
Sefton Briggs   John McKelvey
Tony Briggs   Trevor Bowen
Harry Porter   Patrick Troughton
Celia Porter   Margery Mason
Connie Edwards   Jessica Spencer
Corporal Dewey   Billy Murray
Private Grey   Richard Beckinsale
The Signals Lieutenant   Tony Anholt
The Lieutenant Colonel   Edward Dentith
A Peasant Woman   Gina Bon



A Pub in France   John is sitting at a table, writing a letter to Margaret while his buddies eat and drink.

The Porter Home   Celia tells Margaret how much "John's" baby means to her, but Margaret adds, "And mine!"

When Celia complains that the war is killing her, Harry points out that nothing is happening yet.

Alone with Harry, Margaret tells him that she cannot stand much more of Celia's fussing.

The Ashton Home   Philip is departing after a two-day leave, and Jean gives him a parcel of food to take with him.

She urges him to request an office job, something suitable to his education, and he promises to try.

The Porter Home   Tony drops in to ask Margaret for advice on how best to celebrate Edwin's thirtieth anniversary with the works.

Margaret snaps that her father should be made manager of the works, and Tony assures her that it was not his idea to be named to that post.

She tells Tony that she hates living with the Porters and plans to search for a flat whenever the baby is old enough.

The Ashton Home   Tony tells his father that he resents his attitude toward Edwin, who has served him faithfully for thirty years.

Sefton answers that, as he has paid him for those thirty years of work, he owes him nothing.

Tony is about to storm out of the room but stops long enough to remind his father that he is of military age.

Sefton urges him to wait until Margaret's baby is born.

Despite his father's protest, Tony leaves, declaring that he does not wish to witness Sefton's patronage of Jean.

Sefton informs Jean that he is presenting Edwin with a pension, but Jean is less than enthusiastic, saying any firm would do as much.

Brushing that allegation aside, Sefton suggests that they arrange a family get-together, but Jean says she is too depressed lately, with all three boys away.

But then Jean has second thoughts, offering to have a nice meal whenever David comes home on leave in a few weeks.

In France   John asks the lieutenant for some time off, seeing as how he never got an embarkation leave.

When John adds that his wife is pregnant, the lieutenant says he might try to get him a compassionate leave, but not until after the baby is born.

Feeling sorry for John, the lieutenant consents to include him in a group of fellow linesmen who are being sent home for advanced signals training.

The Porter Home   Tony tells Margaret that he is aware of a flat that may become available, and she is very excited about the prospect of moving.

Celia overhears Margaret telling Tony that she would love to be away from her mother-in-law's nagging.

After Tony leaves, Celia confronts Margaret about the flat, but Margaret says it will not be for a year yet and that John is in favor of the idea too.

Celia accuses Margaret of plotting behind her back.

Harry walks in during the argument and orders his wife to be quiet.

Then he tells Margaret to pack, that she should not have to undergo any more of this suffering.

The Ashton Home   Jean tells Margaret—who is now living back home—that David will be arriving on leave at two o'clock that afternoon.

Margaret turns on the radio, and the newsman reports that Germany has invaded Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Sheila arrives with the unwelcome news that all leaves have been canceled, so David will not be returning home after all.

The Porter Home   The war news shocks Celia, but Harry tells her that John will be all right because he is a signaler and not in a fighting unit.

In Belgium   John and the other linesmen are pinned down by heavy fire from German forces.

The Porter Home   Harry assures Celia that John is not in any of the fighting, but Celia, after reading countless negative reports in the newspapers, fears that his unit could be surrounded.

He urges her to stop worrying so much and perhaps take up an activity to occupy her mind.

Celia says she could never work at a canteen because the very sight of uniforms makes her cry.

An idea comes to her: she will compile an album of John's photographs.

Harry reveals that he has signed up for the local defence volunteer force.

Celia is resentful, charging that neither he nor Margaret wants to stay at home with her.

The Ashton Home   Jean brings Margaret some milk, for calcium, and also another supply of sewing work.

Margaret tells her mother that she knows why she is trying to keep her so busy.

In Belgium   The signals lieutenant instructs his men that it is their job to maintain the communication line to brigade headquarters.

He reminds John that, as an NCO, he is next in charge if the corporal is put out of action.

The Ashton Home   Tony tells Freda and Margaret that he will be going on a buying tour, which he suspects is Sefton's way to take his mind off volunteering for service.

Margaret urges Tony not to enlist but wait until he is sent for, but Tony wonders whether he could look John, David, and Philip in the eye.

When Tony asks what she is so busy doing, Margaret answers that she is making things for the flat.

In Belgium   Three signal troops, John among them, try to repair a break in the line.

When a German machine gunner critically wounds the others, John tosses a grenade to put him out of action.

The Porter Home   Edwin reads aloud from a newspaper, reporting that the Germans are advancing around Boulogne.

"That's where my lad is, I reckon," says Harry.

He says Celia worries herself sick, but Edwin says Jean just pretends the war is not really happening.

Harry promises to visit the Ashtons, hopefully with some news of John.

In Belgium   The battle is going poorly, and British troops are ordered to evacuate to Dunkirk.

The lieutenant colonel tells the signals lieutenant that his three linesmen will have to be left behind.

The Ashton Home   Celia Porter pays a surprise visit, wanting to see for herself that Margaret is feeling well.

Jean tells her that Margaret is sleeping and should not be disturbed, and Celia feels slighted.

In Belgium   John returns with the other surviving linesman—a mortally wounded corporal—only to discover that their unit has gone.

The Ashton Home   Sheila chats with Jean, saying that she has a chance for a job.

Jean suggests to Sheila that she would not feel David's absence so much if she went to work.

When Sheila leaves, Jean begins to feel faint, and Freda comforts her.

In Belgium   John carries the dying corporal, Stan, into a farm house, where a dazed peasant woman has sought shelter with her baby.

The area is under fire from German artillery, but John manages to find a jug of water for the corporal.

The Porter Home   Celia and Harry hear a radio report of the evacuation to Dunkirk.

Harry exclaims that it would mean defeat, but Celia interprets it as signifying only that John might come home.

In Belgium   Realising that his end is near, the corporal gives John his wife's address and asks him to tell her how much he loved her.

The jug is now empty, so John runs outside to fetch the corporal some well water.

The Ashton Home   Edwin has contacted a friend at the Echo for news but tells Margaret and Jean that the reporter knew nothing about John's unit.

In Belgium   While John is outside, the farm house is hit by an artillery shell, and John discovers that the corporal is dead.

The Porter Home   Harry brings Connie Edwards home with him to keep Celia company while he is at a civilian defence meeting.

Celia has been working on her photo album for John, and she proudly shows Mrs. Edwards his picture.

In Belgium   John is wandering, lost, through the countryside as a battle rages in the distance.

The Ashton Home   During a blackout, Margaret and Jean are playing Ludo, a board game, while Edwin reads a book.

Margaret asks Edwin to brew some tea, and he agrees to do so.

Just as he heads for the kitchen, Margaret suffers a severe pain, so Jean asks Edwin to call the doctor.

In Belgium   It is now nighttime, and a truck is approaching.

In the darkness, the driver fails to see John, and he is struck, falling face-down on the grass.

The Ashton Home   Margaret overhears the doctor telling Jean and Edwin that her pain was only a nervous attack.

She proclaims to her mother how wonderful it was to hear the baby's strong heartbeat through the doctor's stethoscope.

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