The Lucky Ones

by John Finch

Episode Number: 33
Director: Les Chatfield



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
David Ashton   Colin Campbell
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
Sefton Briggs   John McKelvey
Tony Briggs   Trevor Bowen
Sheila Ashton   Coral Atkins
Doris Jackson   Diana Davies
Colin Woodcock   David Bradley
Frank Cox   John Alkin
Peter Bryant   John Collins
Grace Gould   Adrienne Corri
Chrissie   Lynda Bellingham
Ian Mackenzie   John Nettles
Charles Gould   Barry Jackson



The Ashton Home   In an extended sequence to open the third series of productions, Edwin Ashton writes a letter to Jean's sister, Helen Hughes, in Australia—in which he describes the war's effects on all of their lives…

  Remembering those carefree pre-war holidays by the sea
Losing both Robert and Jean to the war
Liverpool being devastated by air raids
Jean having stopped smiling when the war began
Margaret going back to her teaching job
Philip training others to fight
John nearing a return to work at the Town Hall
Freda anticipating better things to come
David continuing to drop bombs on the enemy while defying death
Sheila seeming to be without a future
Peter and Janet becoming strangers to their own parents
    Freda comes into the living room, interrupting her father’s thoughts and granting him a stingy five minutes to write Philip before she must begin cleaning.

The RAF Base   Sergeant Frank Cox slips into officers' quarters to visit his friend, David Ashton, and to deliver to him a letter from Wales.

David opens the letter, only to discover that it is not from Peter and Janet at all—but from Mrs. Thomas, who informs him that he is behind in his payments.

Frank says he has just one more op on the current tour and then he will be up for a commission.

He confesses that he fears that last flight, wondering whether he will make it, as the odds continue to pile up against him.

Frank recalls the many crewmen who have "bought it" over Germany, and David advises him not to dwell on such negativity.

"I think I'm losing my nerve, Dave," says Frank, and David encourages him to cultivate his "moral fibre."

Suddenly, Frank announces that he is going to get married—to Chrissie, who works in the parachute store—and David is to be the best man.

There will be a party tonight at The Turk's Head pub, during which Frank will give Chrissie the ring, but David has a 48-hour leave, so he will be unable to attend.

He promises to telephone Chrissie at the pub with his congratulations.

The Ashton Home   Freda and Doris come into the living room to clean, and they ask Edwin to vacate the premises, suggesting that he head to the pub.

The RAF Base   On the flight line, David talks with Peter Bryant and assures him that his replacement as navigator, Frank Cox, is "salt of the earth."

When David mentions that he is going to London on his leave, Peter warns him that his sister's husband, Charles Gould, is coming home from Cairo at the end of the month.

Peter tells David that Grace feels like he ditched her, something that had never happened to her before.

There is no future with her, explains Peter, but David insists that she makes him "feel somebody."

Frank approaches the men, and David wishes him luck.

Meanwhile, Peter asks David to give his love to Grace, and he requests that he bring back his tennis racquet.

As David walks away, Peter comments to Frank that David is a woman chaser, but Frank defends his friend, calling him "salt of the earth."

David's and Sheila's Flat   Sheila is washing dishes while Colin dries them, and he describes his new girlfriend as a tracer in his drafting firm—"small, blonde, quite pretty, a bit younger than me."

He tells Sheila that he took her to the theatre but did not enjoy the play, and yet he was willing to do it for love.

Sheila becomes annoyed, wondering why Colin is telling her all of this.

She tells him that now she knows why he has not come around for months, nor so much as dropped her a postcard.

When Colin says he must be back at work in a half hour, Sheila becomes indignant—after feeding him a meal and then hearing him wish to leave so early.

He explains that he is staying at Mrs. Bradshaw's rather than travelling home to Preston, so it is conceivable that he may pop by later.

Sheila says she will be going to the pictures at around seven, so he would need to be there by then.

They leave it at that—very noncommittal—agreeing that they might see each other later…possibly anyway.

The Bryant Home, London   David unlocks the door and lets himself inside, only to find Grace sitting there, polishing her fingernails.

She is angry at him for abandoning her the last time he was in London, and she threatens to find a new place to hide the key.

David resents the chilly reception and begins to leave—until Grace invites him to apologise for his bad behaviour.

They embrace, and David tells her, "If that's what you want, I'm sorry."

The Turk's Head   Frank and Chrissie are discussing David, and Frank informs her that David went to London on leave because his wife has found a new bloke.

Chrissie asks Frank what he would do if she were to find another bloke, and he tells her not to say things like that, even in jest.

The Bryant Home, London   David and Grace are having cocktails in the bedroom when he asks her if it is true that her husband is coming home at the end of the month.

"Possibly," she concedes, and David selfishly infers that this will mean the end of their affair.

But Grace explains that her husband, Charles, and she have an arrangement—"He goes his way, and I go mine."

The Turk's Head   Frank has received a telephone call from David, who also wishes to speak with Chrissie.

David wishes her congratulations and urges her to look after Frank for him.

The Bryant Home, London   Grace is listening to every word, so David cuts the telephone conversation short, bidding Frank's fiancée a perfunctory, "Well, goodbye, Chris. Have a good night, eh?"

After hanging up, David explains to Grace that Frank will be having his last op tomorrow night, and then he and Chrissie will be getting married three weeks later.

David adds that Frank is new to the flight crew, navigating for Grace's brother, Peter.

The Turk's Head   Frank and Chrissie are playing snooker when Peter comes in to say hello, offers them a drink, and then tells him, "See you tomorrow, then."

The Ashton Home   In the kitchen, Doris is cleaning up, Freda is sorting through her possessions to see what might be discarded, and Tony is enjoying the conversation with his pretty cousin.

Freda tells him that David hardly ever comes "home," and even then it is not to his proper place—with his wife, Sheila.

Suddenly, Freda is stung by the sharp hook of a fly lure, and Tony removes it from the tip of her thumb without spilling a drop of blood.

Freda explains to him that a little man named Pentecost (“Penty”), whom she met in Southport, gave it to her ages ago, and she certainly does not want to throw that out.

Tony asks Freda to go out with him, but she is planning to visit Sheila, so instead she suggests that Doris be his date.

When Tony reluctantly says, "Well, yes. What about the pictures or something?" Doris stammers that she has nothing to wear and hurries from the room.

Tony accuses Freda of embarrassing the poor girl, and Freda alleges that he really did not want to go because he is a little bit of a snob, in his own way.

At first, Tony is angry at the comment, but then he concedes, "Yes, well, there could be a grain of truth in it, I suppose. Blame my upbringing."

Freda tells him that her mother did not like Doris either, though she never actually came out and said it.

And yet, continues Freda, Doris is her best friend, and she has dozens of boyfriends—all of them awful and very temporary—but Doris enjoys them while they last.

Tony asks Freda when she is going to fall in love, and this brings out his cousin's cynical attitude toward marriage.

"What is love?" she asks. "Margaret leaving John, leaving Michael. David leaving Sheila. And Mum leaving Dad."

Tony argues that love also can be fun, to which Freda responds, "Oh, you mean sex?" a frank remark that makes Tony blush.

His embarrassment amuses Freda, who tells him, "Honestly, if I had just been a girl instead of your cousin…"

To break the tension of that revealing moment, Freda declares that she thinks sex is over-rated.

"And you know all about it, of course," he teases, and she admits that is not the case.

When she says, "I bet you've had dozens of girls," he denies it, though he does admit that Jenny Graham was one of them—and even that particular relationship is wearing a bit thin.

He says that is his own fault, adding that it was he, not Jenny, who wanted marriage.

Jenny is very beautiful, he explains, and men positively drool over her when she walks into a pub, but then he adds, "Perhaps I don't want a wife that men positively drool at."

"Oh, well," quips Freda, "at least no one's going to have that problem with me."

Her father rushes in, informing Freda that a man is there to see her, and Edwin says he will put the kettle on for some tea.

The RAF Base   Frank and Chrissie stroll near the plane, talking about their future together.

When Frank cautions her to be careful of those other airmen, she assures him that there will never be anyone else for her.

To this, Frank responds fatalistically, "Well, if there has to be, there has to be. You understand?"

But Chrissie cannot even bear to think of this, so she kisses him goodbye and hurries away.

Peter comes driving up in a Jeep and tells Frank that the mission is on, though one of the gun feeds still is not functioning properly.

He wonders if Frank knows whether David is short of cash, a suspicion that arose in the mess hall, where several men were moaning that David borrowed money from them and still had not paid them back.

"He's knocking about with my sister," Peter adds, "and you probably know she's an expensive devil. I just don't like flying with blokes who've got problems, that's all. And I don't know Dave all that well."

The Ashton Home   Edwin brings tea into the living room for Freda and Ian, and Freda tries to get him to stay, but Edwin leaves, seeming to want her to be alone with the doctor.

Tony and Edwin must whisper to each other in the kitchen—discussing whether Ian Mackenzie is an eligible bachelor—until Edwin closes the hatch.

Freda is flustered by all this personal attention from Ian, so finally she explains that she is not interested in him romantically.

When she reveals that he is very popular among the nurses, he responds, "Yes, I know. The stock romantic figure in a hospital…the unattached consultant. It's even worse if you're a gynecologist."

"Yes, and I'm the little probationer," she laughs. "It just doesn't wash, does it?"

Ian rejects that notion, recalling their first meeting four years ago, upon his moving to the crescent, when Freda was retrieving a tennis ball that went awry as she was practicing her serves.

Freda remembers too—being eighteen and mad about Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1.

Ian says all he wants is to give her an occasional lift, talk a little, and see whether they have "anything in common, apart from physiology and anatomy…and an awful fear of matron."

Freda says her tennis partner that day, Peter Collins, refused to get the ball for her, and she adds that he was killed in one of the early raids.

Ian reminds Freda that he offered to let her use his tennis court, but she never came.

Freda says she will be twenty-five if the war ends in three more years, and she asks whether he ever worries about getting old.

Ian declares that he will only be thirty-three on his next birthday, so he is not sure whether that qualifies him to answer the question.

The Bryant Home, London   David is looking out the bedroom window and says it is a lovely day for the Derby, if only he had a few quid to wager on the race.

As they enjoy their omelettes and wine in bed, Grace requests that David go down the street and knock on number seven, after dark, paying the "old dear" five and six because they are completely out of coffee.

"Under the counter, you mean," says David suspiciously, beginning to think less and less of the elitist lifestyle.

David's and Sheila's Flat   Doris, Freda, and Sheila are discussing how necessary a man is for taking care of household chores.

Sheila explains that Colin has been doing some of hers, and then she adds that he was going to escort her to the pictures last night but never did.

She tells Freda that she just sat at home, feeling jealous of Colin's new girlfriend in Preston.

Sheila discloses that Colin wanted to marry her at one time, but he has not mentioned it lately—now that he has fully considered the two kids and her lengthy divorce proceedings.

Doris comes running downstairs, screaming that she saw a large rat under the bed when she was sweeping.

The RAF Base   The flight crew are heading for their bomber, but Frank pauses for a moment to speak with Chrissie.

He tells her, "I'll see you in the morning, then," she responds, "See you in the morning," and then they kiss each other goodbye.

The Bryant Home, London   Charles Gould lets himself in the front door, and Grace is surprised to see him.

He embraces his wife, who only says, "I'd forgotten you had your own key."

The RAF Base   The bomber is about to take off, and, over the intercom, Frank says he does not want any caffeine because he never felt more awake in his life.

The Bryant Home, London   Grace and Charles have a drink while discussing their respective parents.

She tells him to call before he returns from seeing his parents—rather than just popping in unannounced again—explaining that they had not expected him to arrive for another month.

Suddenly, he says, "Grace!" and takes her forcibly in his arms.

When she fails to respond to his advances, he confides that he has been thinking about her for two years.

Grace reminds him of their platonic arrangement, which he now considers to be nonsense, as he tried to express in his letters.

She says the letters were not at all like him, and his poetry did not scan well.

Charles tells his wife that he has changed in quite a few ways, and he asks her if she has missed him while he was in Cairo—whereupon she answers with an impersonal "of course."

That is when Grace chooses to inform her husband that they have a visitor, whom she has sent to obtain some coffee.

Grace asks Charles whether he has seen Ronnie Lewis in Cairo—that he came to see her before he was posted—and Charles replies that Ronnie told him about their meeting in some detail.

This annoys Grace, who says, "Wait till I see him again."

Charles tells her that will not be possible, as Ronnie Lewis died in hospital after losing both of his legs.

Ronnie was on his deathbed, explains Charles, and he seemed compelled to tell him all about the tryst.

He adds, "I got the impression he didn't like either himself or you for it."

This makes little impression on Grace, who asks her husband if he likes her.

"Grace," he answers, "you might not understand this, but while I was away, I fell in love with you."

Again he throws himself at her, and again she resists, telling him, "I'm perfectly willing to honour our contract, but—for God's sake—spare me your bloody poetry!"

The Ashton Home   Freda tells her father that Sheila finally is losing the feelings she once had for David, and she adds, "One of these days—and it's not so far off—she's going to fall head over heels for some other fellow."

When that happens, Freda says, she will be one-hundred-percent for it, which impels Edwin to remind her that David is her brother.

Undeterred, Freda goes on to say that Sheila's mind is pointing toward divorce, a revelation that takes her father by surprise.

The Bryant Home, London   David comes in and notices a man there, who identifies himself as "Gould, her husband."

He gives David the tennis racquet for Peter and pays him for the pack of coffee, while David, sensing the end of his relationship with Grace, lays his key on the table.

Charles asks the stranger his name, and he replies, "Ashton, David Ashton."

And then Charles explains that he took David's shaving gear out of the bathroom and put it in the case.

When David tries to apologise, Charles responds, "No explanations, Ashton," but David nonetheless says, "I'm sorry, mate."

As David begins to leave, Charles asks him to tell Peter that he did not exactly get a hero's welcome—but that he is not exactly a hero.

The Bomber   Frank has guided the plane to its target and dropped the load of bombs.

The Ashton Home   Ian arrives to give Freda and Doris a lift to work, so Edwin asks him to wait in the living room.

Edwin shouts upstairs, assuming that Freda has overslept, but actually she is in the kitchen, having breakfast with Doris.

The girls say hello to Ian through the hatch, and then the doorbell rings.

Sefton has arrived early, so Edwin urshers him to the living room and then goes upstairs to get ready for work.

Ian and Sefton have a stilted conversation, with the businessman asking Mr. Mackenzie if things are in short supply for him.

Smiling, Ian replies no—that he is a gynecologist—and Sefton is impressed, saying, "Oh, medical!"

Referring to the war news, Sefton declares, "Well, we haven't turned the corner yet, choose what people say."

David's and Sheila's Flat   Colin comes in, apologising for not taking Sheila to the pictures the other night.

He explains that he might be back in a week or two, and he wonders whether Sheila wants him to stop by, but she tells him, not unkindly, "I think perhaps not, don't you, Colin?"

Then she advises him to marry this girl in Preston, and his smile says more than words ever could.

The RAF Base   David is shaving in his quarters when Peter comes into the room.

After David shows his friend the tennis racquet, he explains that Charles Gould arrived early and caught him spending his 48-hour leave with Grace.

David informs Peter that he no longer thinks he is cut out for the so-called "decent society."

That is when he notices that Peter's arm is injured, an indirect result of the plane being hit in the tail while flying over its target last night.

Peter describes the harrowing trip back over the channel, constantly losing altitude but somehow limping home.

Eventually, the field was in sight, and Peter crash-landed, with pieces of the plane being torn off as they decelerated.

The impact knocked Peter unconscious momentarily, and he came to in the grass near the field—and there sat the crate, in one piece, more or less.

But then the plane went up in flames, with ammunition exploding, and it was impossible to rescue anybody.

"Nobody came out, Dave…nobody," he says, and David asks, "Frankie?"

"All gone," laments Peter. "The lot, had it," adding that he will hear Frank's voice forever.

The Ashton Home   Sefton asks Edwin if he will be needing George Askew's assistance with Jean's will, but Edwin states that it seems to be sorting itself out nicely.

Just as the brothers-in-law are ready to leave for work, the telephone rings, so Sefton goes to the garden to wait for Edwin.

It is David on the line, and he sounds despondent, so his father asks if he is all right.

David replies yes, and when Edwin wonders if he will be coming home on leave soon, David says he just got off one, which he spent in London.

"Very educational, Dad," he says sarcastically, and his father mistakenly assumes that he has been on a course.

Finally, David can conceal his grief no longer, and he explains that a mate of his…but he can go no further.

Changing the subject, David asks whether Sheila comes around much these days, to which Edwin replies no, and David claims that he is not surprised, in the circumstances.

When Edwin suggests that his son go see Sheila, David contends in a shaky voice that it is too late for saving his marriage.

Unable to control his tears, David begins crying more openly, and he stammers, "I miss Mum, Dad."

Edwin feels powerless, encouraging David to stop because he cannot help him at the end of a telephone.

"It's all too late, Dad," cries David. "It's all too bloody late."

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