A Perfect Hero (1991) 

 

 

 

Director:     James Cellan Jones.

Starring:     Georgia Allen (Nancy, 3 episodes, 1991),  Fiona Mollison (Susan,3 episodes, 1991),  Tacy Kneale (Sarah, 2 episodes, 1991),  Nigel Havers (Hugh Fleming, unknown episodes),  James Fox (Angus Meikle, unknown episodes),   Fiona Gillies (Bunty Morrell, episode 1,unknown episodes),  Amanda Elwes (Marjorie, (unknown episodes),  Bernard Hepton (Arthur Fleming, unknown episodes),  Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Iris Fleming),  Tim Barker (Farmer, unknown episodes),  Harry Burton (Peter Hemingford, unknown episodes),  Tony Collins (Taxi Driver, unknown episodes),  Beryl Cooke (Receptionist, unknown episodes),  Robert Cotton (Police Constable, unknown episodes),  Rachel Fielding (Jean, episode 1),  Margaret John (Farmer's Wife, unknown episodes),  Rosalind Knight (Sister Grice, unknown episodes),  Joanna Lumley (Loretta Stone, unknown episodes),  Brian Mitchell (Doctor Morris, unknown episodes),  Nicholas Palliser (Jimmy Macdonnel, unknown episodes),  Charles Pemberton (Ted, unknown episodes),  Nicholas Pritchard (Julian Masters, unknown episodes),  Jeff Rawle (Service Policeman, unknown episodes),  Patrick Ryecart (Tim Holland, unknown episodes),  Thomas Wheatley (Dickie Bird, unknown episodes).

mini-series; Cambridge fellows join the RAF and fights in the Battle of Britain

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire mini-series. 

Episode 1: Dogfight Over Kent.

September 1940.  England.  RAF pilots sit around relaxing.  Breakfast is served.  The feeling is that Jerry has gone home.  Won't hear from him the rest of the day.  But then the alarm sounds.  The pilots have to scramble into their aircraft.  "Beware the Hun in the sun" is heard; a warning to watch out for German planes coming from above with the sun behind them.  Dog fights take place in the sky above England.  Hugh Fleming downs one of the German planes.  But then a German plane hits Hugh's plane and the cockpit catches on fire.  Hugh is getting very burned and the other pilots shout to him to bail out.  He finally does.  His parachute gets hung up in a tree and he hangs there off the ground. 

Flashback.  Remembrances of life at Cambridge.  Hugh goes boating with his girlfriend Bunty Morrell.

Hugh's father, Arthur Fleming, calls the Ashford Cottage Hospital to find out how his son is faring.  Dad can come to visit tomorrow afternoon.  He tells his wife that Hugh has received extensive burns. 

Flashback.  Back at Cambridge Hugh thinks there will be a war.  He asks his three buddies, among them Peter and Julian, to join up together. 

Bunty receives the bad news about Hugh being in the hospital. 

Flashback.  Hugh sees a pretty girl at the pub.  Her name is Jean and they already know each other.  He talks with Jean for awhile.  He leaves his friend behind and in his car takes the girl home.  His buddies have to walk back to the airfield.  Jeans tells Hugh that she had given up on him. 

In the pub Julian is given the job of telling Jean about Hugh.  She runs home and cries in the barn.  In the hospital when Hugh sees his burned and swollen hands he freaks out. 

Julian comes to visit Hugh in the hospital.  Only family can visit at this time, but Julian sneaks past the reception desk.  He tells Hugh that he knocked down a German Messerschmitt.  Hugh tells him to tell Bunty that she can't visit him right now.  He doesn't want her to see him all bandaged up.  Hugh leaves.  Bunty waits for him in his very small sports car.  He tells her that Hugh sends his love. 

Flashback to flight training.  The four buddies wonder who is going to get to fly solo first.  The instructor tells Hugh to take the plane up by himself for one circuit  -- and no showing off.  The others are jealous.  When Hugh comes down he sees the film star Loretta Stone.  He goes over to say hello to her.  He tells her that he has seen all of her movies.  She will be singing one song at a concert.  Hugh gets her into bed. 

Hugh has a nightmare about being burned.  Mom and Dad visit him.  Mom tells him that they are so proud of him.  Dad wants a word with the doctor.   He visits with Dr. Morris and asks him to tell him the truth about his son.  Hugh will be transferred to a burn hospital.  Dr. Meikle will be the doctor and he is the best burn man in England.  Hugh is going to need plastic surgery, but as of now they can't know if he will be badly disfigured. 

Jean calls the hospital, but she is told that she can't visit yet.  Hugh keeps shouting for a mirror so he can see his face.  Dr. Meikle visits with him.  An air raid siren goes off and the staff rush off elsewhere.  Hugh gets out of bed and goes to a mirror, but he collapses before he can get a good look. 

 

Episode 2:  The Hospital.

The head nurse explains that Hugh is really rather difficult.  Dr. Meikle says well, at least the man got up and walked.  Hugh is still Hugh.  He flirts with his nurse.  He says:  "You could kiss me."  She will not.  Dr. Meikle comes in.  He tells Hugh that he will never lie to him.  The doctor tells Hugh that they will have to graft new skin onto his face. 

Flashback.  Dancing with Bunty.  They speak of not tying each other down.  Yes, there is lots of time.

Mother Fleming calls head nurse Sister Grice.  The nurse tries to buoy the woman's feelings of optimism.  After all Dr. Meikle is seeing her son.  The Fleming parents tell their daughter Susan that they will be going over to the hospital to see Hugh.  She can come along.  But the sister has her doubts saying:  "Hugh and I never got along, Mom."  But Mom wants her to go with them.  She tells her daughter that Hugh is much improved, but he is a bit down.  At least he's much better from when he went in to the hospital.  Dad tells his daughter that they haven't forgotten her husband James.  He tells her to buck up.  The Germans have thousands of British prisoners in France and maybe James is among them. 

Bunty sneaks in to see Hugh.  When she sees his red and swollen face, she is shocked, recoiling in fright.  She quickly turns around and leaves.  Hugh looks at himself in the mirror and sees why Bunty reacted with horror.

Peter went down.  They are still looking for him, so there is still a chance he has survived. Julian and the commanding officer visit Hugh.  Hugh is to get a DSO.  He still has Bunty's photo on his desk.  They tell him that Peter went down and was not picked up.  They found him too late.  Of the four buddies, it's one down, one burned and two left.  The commanding officer leaves.  Julian says to Hugh that Bunty gave him a letter to give to him.  He adds that she is pretty upset and feels awful.

Flashback.  Hugh thinks of the days of sculling for Cambridge.  He sees his painter friend Marge.  The guys tease him about paying attention to a rather plain looking woman.  Marge likes to paint from real life.  Hugh himself is a good drawer/sketcher.  Marge asks if she will see Hugh again.  Hugh is non-committal. 

Susan, Mom, and Dad visit Hugh at the hospital. Mom had some harsh words for Bunty.  Sister Susan asks how Hugh feels.  He says:  "Shattered really."  Susan says maybe it would give him some idea of how other people feel for her brother never had a sense of feeling ordinary.  He was a regular golden hair boy. 

Hugh gets a telephone call from Jean.  She tells him that she loves him.  Hugh sets up a meeting place and time.  They will meet at the Roxxy.  Hugh takes a cab but never makes it to the Roxxy.  The Blitz continues and there is a big bomb crater in the road.  Hugh learns that the Roxxy was hit and completely destroyed.  Jean no doubt was killed in the explosion.  Hugh says:  "It's so bloody unfair."  Jean was such a wonderful person, even though, he admits, he hardly knew her. 

Dr. Meikle tells Hugh that his face is looking much better.  He wants now to concentrate on his eyelids.  Hugh says he feels like hiding away in a corner somewhere.  Meikle says he will operate a week from today. 

Flashback.  Hugh remembers Jean.  She complains that he is never serious:  "You're not serious about us, are you?"  she asks.  It's a safe bet that he is not serious about "us". 

 

Episode 3:  Emotional Reunion.

Dogfights occur once again over England.  One of the four buddies, Jimmy, is having a rough time.  Another British pilot says:  "Jimmy!  Steady! I'm coming."  But then Jimmy's plane crashes into another plane and both planes disappear in a huge explosion. 

Julian visits Hugh again.  He tells Hugh that they lost a pilot today  --  Jimmy.  So now it's two gone, one badly burned and one left.  Hugh asks Julian if he has seen Bunty.  Julian says he had a drink with her.  Hugh asks him if he took her out to dinner.  No, just a drink, says Julian.  Julian leaves.  Bunty is waiting for him in his car.  She tells him that she is certainly glad it wasn't him (Julian) who got burned. 

Marge, a former girlfriend of Hugh's, comes to see Dr. Meikle.  Although she did come to see the doctor, she also came to see a certain pilot named Hugh Fleming.  Marge will be working on Hugh's hands.  They just recently finished an operation of Hugh's face.  His roommate tries to console Hugh when he starts panicking after the operation. But Hugh is so panicky that the fellow has to shout for help.  It turns out that his roommate is none other than his original  flight instructor Tim, who is also a burn patient at the hospital. 

Marge is given permission to see Hugh.  When Marge comes in she says hello to Tim first who is happy to see her.  Hugh suddenly realizes that the voice is that of Marge.  She is a physical therapist.  He tries to keep her a long time, but she only chats with him for a very brief time.

Flashback.  By a river Marge is painting a building and Hugh is making a sketch of her. 

Dr. Meikle tells Hugh that he better cheer up or he won't let him go home.  Hugh is excited to hear that he can go home for a visit.  When they sit in a restaurant Hugh is a little uncomfortable at the way people look at him.  The doctor tells him to get used to it.  He also says that very soon he will almost be normal.  Hugh needs to have more spirit, like Tim.  He also tells Hugh to stop and see Margery Fisher on his way home.  Tim and Hugh take a car ride to Marge's office.  On the way Tim introduces the driver, Nancy, to Hugh.  Nancy is Tim's girlfriend.  Tim also tells Hugh to call someone, anyone, when he gets back home. 

Hugh does make a telephone call to Bunty.  He asks her if he can see her.  She says that she will be away for the weekend and cannot see him.  The truth is that Bunty is with Julian, who happens to be still in her bed.  When Bunty hangs up the phone she tells Julian:  "You're going to have to tell him Julian."

Nancy drops her two passengers at Marge's office.  She will be back in just two hours so they can get out of London before the bombing starts.  Hugh gets to go in first to see Marge.  He tells her that he has been pretty miserable.  Hugh tries to have a long conversation with her, but she is not interested.  She says:  "You expect to pick up where you left off all those years ago.  My memory doesn't go back that far, Hugh."  As Hugh leaves he comments:  "I bet it does." 

Nancy drives her two passengers while they talk.  Hugh says that the meeting with Marge did not go well.  Tim always encourages him to look on the bright side.  He says that he has had the best time of his life since his wife left him.  Reaching the train station, Hugh gets out and gets on the train to head home.  Tim and Nancy say good-bye to him.  On the train a woman stares at his face.  He tells her:  "It isn't catching you know."  His father meets him at the train station.  Hugh has dinner at home with Dad, Mom and Susan.  He has to admit that he needs help with his fly buttons.  His father volunteers for the job. 

The next day Dad takes Hugh sailing.  While they sail, at home Susan talks with her mother.  She is scared, depressed and lonely.  If her husband does not return she wants to look for a job to help with her two boys.  When Dad and Hugh return home, Hugh thanks his father for a great day.  Susan asks Hugh to go up and see his two nephews in the bedroom.  In the darkened room and with a light to his rear, his face looks very strange.  The boys start shouting about a monster.  Susan arrives to calm the boys down. 

The next day Hugh gets into his boat.  A fisherman who has known Hugh since he was a young lad speaks with him.  The man remembers how Hugh loved to go out on the water in his boat.  Susan comes out and asks her brother if she can come for a ride in the boat.  Hugh talks to her saying that he shouldn't feel so sorry for himself.   Susan says:  "No more news of Bunty, I suppose."  Hugh responds:  "You suppose right."

Mom and Dad have asked Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs over to the house.  Hugh is uncomfortable about seeing them, but he puts on a brave face and cheerful demeanor.  Mom thinks that Hugh is being a little too cheerful.  Hugh drops his cup but before it can hit the ground Mr. Hobbs grabs it in mid-air.  Great catch, but his momentum takes him smashing into the coffee table, upsetting it and everything on it.  Mom is mortified and after her guests have gone home she lightly but firmly scolds him for his laughing at the whole incident.  Hugh goes for a walk. 

Julian arrives and asks about the whereabouts of Hugh.  The patient is walking along a country road.  Julian in his fancy car catches up with Hugh.  They lost another pilot.  Julian says that now he is the second oldest pilot after Dickie Bird.  He also says that they recently have lost a hell of a lot of people.  At a cafe, Hugh mentions Bunty.  Julian finally tells Hugh about Bunty.  He uses a total of five words to break the new to his close friend:  "I'm going to marry her."   

Back home Hugh goes out with his boat.  The old fisherman watches him with a quizzical look.  He hears a splash and looks at the boat going in circles.  Hugh must have thrown himself into the water.  The fisherman retrieves Hugh and brings him back to shore.  Susan is told about her brother and she runs down to the shore.  She asks the fisherman:  "Will he live?"  "If he wants to" says the fisherman. 

 

Episode 4:  Lost Soldier. 

Dr. Meikle asks Hugh if he meant to do it?  Hugh says he had a hell of a lot to drink and nothing more.  The doctor  says that his sister is very worried about him.  Hugh responds:  "It won't happen again. . . the water was too bloody cold." 

Hugh still has Bunty's photo on his night stand. 

Flashback.  Hugh remembers Bunty at the train station with him. 

Tim tells Hugh that he got off easy.  Hugh asks Tim if he wants to go back up again.  No, Tim does not want to return to flying.  Tim asks:  "Why does everyone think we have to be bloody heroes?"  "Because we are" says Hugh. 

Marge arrives at the burn hospital.  She sees Tim outside.  He tells Marge that Hugh is inside listening to jazz and says that's a good sign.  Marge visits with Hugh..  He says:  "Hello stranger."  Marge tells him that his face looks a lot better now.  As regards the disastrous leave, she tells Hugh that it was too soon for him to go out. 

Flashback.  Hugh chases after a mad Marge.  He tells her:  "Marge, I didn't want you to hear it from someone else."  Marge says that they sleep together, that she enjoys it, but she has no idea what he (Hugh) thinks about it.  She refers to all of Hugh's women.  Bunty for one.  Hugh says that they've been good friends for a long time.  Marge asks if Hugh is going to buy Bunty a ring.  Hugh says:  "Well, yes."  But he only wanted to tell her that he is taking Bunty to the May Ball.  He adds that it is not that big of a deal.  Marge tells Hugh that she does not want to see him ever again. 

Hugh is out running together with Marge. He races her back to his quarters and wins. 

The actress and singer Loretta Stone performs for the staff and patients of the burn unit, including Tim and Hugh.  Loretta remembers Hugh once she hears his name.  Hugh gets a trip to London and Tim and Nancy both want to know how he managed to get the trip.  Hugh won't say. He just says he has a leave pass as well. 

Marge tells Hugh to pick up a round object.  He says he can't do it, but does it when Marge demands that he pick it up.  He misses having sex and tells Marge that he would like to have sex with her.  He says he is tried of living like a monk.  Marge refuses.  She offers to drive him to the railway station, but Hugh has other plans.  He gets a taxi and goes to the Ritz Hotel.   He knocks on Loretta's door.  When he sees her he says she looks great.  She explains that she has been filming a ghastly war story.  What she wants to know is if Hugh would agree to be the technical adviser to the film about the Battle of Britain.  Loretta tells him that he is famous as well as modest.   Loretta is going to have sex with Hugh.  He says:  "It's just that the hands are a problem . . ."  She tells him not to worry:  "I'll do everything." 

Dr. Meikle speaks with Hugh about the movie job.  He tells Hugh to go easy.  There are emotional pitfalls as well as real ones in the film business.  But he agrees to let Hugh be technical adviser. 

Tim tells Hugh that he made a mistake by going with Loretta and dropping Marge.  Hugh says he has not dropped Marge.  Tim changes the subject saying that there are a couple of letter for him.  One is from his old grammar school.  They want him to give a speech to the boys about his adventures in the air.  The other letter contains a wedding invitation to the marriage of Julian and Bunty. 

Hugh arrives at the movie set.  He is told to take a seat and observe, then tells them what he thinks.  The actors rehearse a scene dealing with RAF pilots.  One reads a poem from Tennyson.  Loretta arrives on the set.  Hugh tells the director that nobody talks like that; with all that nobility stuff.  That was all rubbish.  For one thing, the pilots are not scared enough.  That's why they tell lots of  jokes.  Charles the director does not want to hear it.  He says:  "My pilots cannot be cowards."  Hugh tries to show the director, but ends up falling down.  Humiliated and disgusted he leaves the set.  Loretta comes after him and apologizes for Charles's behavior.  Hugh won't be stopped.  He tells/asks Loretta:  "You are sleeping with him aren't you?" 

Hugh takes more physical therapy with Marge.  She has him make a fist and helps him move his fingers one by one. 

Tim drives Hugh to the wedding of Julian and Bunty.  He asks:  "You sure this is a good idea?"  Tim adds that he wouldn't cross the road to see his old wife.  Julian and Bunty have pictures taken outside the church.  Hugh thinks about it and decides they should  leave.  They drive off.  Hugh gives Marge a telephone call.  She asks him where is he.  He tells her that Tim and he are on a jaunt.  Marge asks if Loretta Stone was there.  Hugh pretends that they have a bad connection and says good-bye to Marge.  Marge speaks with Dr. Meikle.  The doctor says that recent events for Hugh may have set him back in his emotional progress.  Then he asks Marge how things are going between the two of them. 

Hugh is driven to his old grammar school.  The head master sees him walking toward the building.  Hugh speaks with the matron who knew him as a boy at the school.  She says she would like to have tea with Hugh a little later.  Hugh is agreeable.  He goes to see the head master.  The headmaster now says that there was a mix-up with the speakers and they have another speaker for Hugh's appointed time.  Hugh knows the headmaster is lying, but he is gracious and only says:  "I completely understand."

Marge paints while Hugh tries to sketch.  He becomes very frustrated and says that he just can't do it.  She tells him it will come to him eventually.  He wants to exactly when.  Marge asks him if the problem frustrating him involves Bunty.  He says that he is not thinking about Bunty.  She and Julian are married now.  Hugh says his old airfield is only a half -hour drive away.  Marge drives him to the old airfield.  But the guard there won't let Hugh in.  Hugh does not have a military pass.  The decorated pilot becomes very irritated with the guard.  He tells the guard to call his unit, but the guard tells him that his old unit has moved from the place.  Hugh and Marge leave.  Sarcastically, Hugh says:  "I've had a lovely time."  There was the incident with the grammar school; the bad experience as technical adviser on the movie set; the wedding of Julian and Bunty; and now his old unit is no longer at the airfield.  He says the only place he is any good is up there in the sky flying.  Marge tries to set him straight.  Dr. Meikle will never let him fly.  This upsets Hugh and things start to get a bit nasty.  Marge says that if he wants to fly he will just have to do it himself..  Now Hugh loses it and calls Marge a bitch.  He screams:  "You bet I will." 

 

Episode 5:  Civilian Life.

Dr. Meikle speaks with Hugh again.  He understands that Hugh wants to fly.  But is he ready?  How are his fingers?  The doctor bends his fingers and asks Hugh if it hurts.  Hugh refuses to say it hurts, though it obviously does.  The doctor says he is 70% percent ready, but must be at 100% percent readiness before he will qualify Hugh for flying.  Hugh wants to know when he will reach 100% percent.  The doctor says in a couple of months.  On the way out of the doctor's office, Hugh passes Marge but refuses to say a word to her. 

Marge sees Dr. Meikle.  The doctor asks her if she saw Hugh.  She replies:  "He's gone to sulk in his tent like Achilles."  His hands are much better, but certainly not fit for action.  The doctor tells Marge that Tim is throwing a bash and that they should go.  She says no, but the doctor insists that she go.  They go together to the bash. 

At the bash Tim and Hugh seem to be in some type of drinking contest.  A somewhat drunk Tim talks to the assembled guests.  Nancy and Tim kiss.  Hugh seems to be having a good time or is trying to give the impression he is having a good time.  Marge wants to leave.  She says she can't stand it.  Dr. Meikle tells her:  "Don't do this.  He may not look it, but he needs you."  Marge stays.  Tim shouts that the last item on the agenda is a special word of thanks to Dr. Meikle.  He gives a toast and says thank you doctor for making him so bloody attractive to women.  Dr. Meikle gives a toast to Tim and Nancy:  "Here's to them."  Then Hugh gets into the act.  He thanks Dr. Meikle and then adds another thank you, but this one is for physiotherapist Marge.  "Where would we all be without them?  Up there in the sky dicing with death.  That's where we ought to be!  Either that or bloody dead!"  Hugh leaves.  He listens to music in his room. 

Flashback.  Marge is leaving on a train.  Hugh shows up just as the train pulls out.  He runs to give her flowers and champagne.  He says:  "Good luck, darling."

Dr. Meikle visits Hugh in his room.  Since Tim has left, Hugh is all alone in the room.  The doctor asks if he has heard from Marge. No.  He wants Hugh to start daily visits with Marge and then they will see about his progress.  Hugh says"  "no can do."  The doctor tells Hugh that suffering does not build a man's character.  Rather it destroys it. 

Hugh visits Marge.  They have to go down to the air raid shelter.  Marge tells Hugh that she has been so bloody miserable.  "So have I", says Hugh.  Later they go running together.  And on another day they go to visit Hugh's father and mother at their home.  Dad asks Hugh if he has thought of getting out of the service.  No is the answer.  Mom tells Marge  that she thinks Hugh should be let out of the air force.  She then asks Marge if she has any influence with Hugh.  Mom wants her to work on Hugh to get him to leave the air force.  Dad tells Hugh that he has done enough:  "Too much, if you ask me."  But Hugh is worried:  "What would I do in civilian street?"  Their relative Reggie can get him a job in advertising is what he can do. 

Marge and Hugh walk down by the beach.  He received a card from Julian who is at Woodfold. 

Flashback.  Bunty and Hugh are at a dance club.  Hugh wants to have sex with her, but she asks what if she gets pregnant. 

Hugh thinks about his parents and getting a regular job.  He says:  "Oh, bloody hell.  Maybe I owe it to them."  Mom and dad talk together.  Dad says that Susan has been so unlucky.  Mom replies that Susan has at least accepted things.  She's more worried about Hugh.  She wants him to get out of that military uniform.  Dad tries to cheer her up by saying that Hugh might just take that civilian job. 

Hugh goes in to see Reggie Barnes, who introduces Hugh to a few of the people working for him.  Reggie then turns Hugh over to copywriter and poet Eric.  He explains that they are currently working on an ad for porridge, since the British are having to give up their bacon and eggs for breakfast.  Hugh makes a drawing for a possible ad.  Reggie returns and says that the clients do not like the ad campaign they are offering.  Eric mentions Hugh's drawing.  Reggie decides to take Eric with him to explain Hugh's drawing to the clients.  Hugh tells Reggie:  "I don't think he wants me in there."  Because of his looks, of course.  Reggie tells the secretary good-by.  "Going already?" says the secretary.  Yes, says Reggie. 

Hugh in his uniform receives another military medal.  The press guys ask him if he is engaged to Marge.  Not at present is the answer.  Then the press asks him if he is ready for another go at it?  Hugh says:  ". . . probably."  At dinner Mom says that Hugh deserves everything he always wanted.  Marge somewhat rudely asks "Does that include Bunty?"  Mom is a bit shocked at the question.  She says that Bunty's behavior was quite reprehensible.  Dad tells Marge:  "We don't think any worse of you because you're not Bunty."  After saying good-bye to Mom and Dad, Hugh scolds Marge.  Marge says that his mother does not like her very much.  Hugh says:  "Rubbish!"

Hugh and Marge are in the air raid shelter once again.  Marge tells Hugh that his mother is upset about his not taking the advertising job offered by Reggie.  Later Hugh receives a call from his old buddy Julian.  He tells Hugh to come to to see him at the RAF Club.  He also says:  "Dickie's here!"  Hugh does go down to the club.   Dickie tells Hugh and Julian that they are the last of the Cambridge long-haired boys who became pilots.  Dickie then asks Hugh to come and see the guys at the squadron.  Hugh says he will. 

Hugh is at a dinner/dancing club with Julian and Bunty.  When Julian leaves them alone to talk, Bunty asks Hugh how is he.  She comments that his face is better.  She adds:  "I felt awful about that. . . . No hard feelings?"  Hugh says no.  Bunty follows up with:  "I cried a lot."  Hugh says he did too.  Julian comes back and asks Bunty to dance with him. 

Hugh and Julian walk along the river walk.  Hugh tells Julian that Bunty looked good.  He offers a toast to her.  Then Julian asks:  "What's this crap about you going after Jerry?"  He adds:  "Don't do it, Hugh."   Julian then says that if he dies in combat he wants Hugh to look after Bunty.   Bunty is three months pregnant.  Julian makes Hugh promise to look after Bunty.  Hugh promises. 

  

Episode 6:  Starting Over.

Hugh seems to be living with Marge now.  Hugh asks for a medical board.  Dr. Meikel warns him that some pilots react out of a sense of guilt for having survived; they want to join the others.  Despite the warning, the doctor will send Hugh to the medical board.  It will take two weeks to arrange.  Hugh will stay in London on leave. 

Mom, Dad and Susan have dinner together.  Susan now has a job in a local factory.  Mom says that children want their mother to be around them, but dad says that Susan can do what she thinks best.  Hugh goes to the old Woodfold airfield and pays a visit to Dickie.  He wants Dickie to write a note for him to the medical board.  Dickie is willing.  But now he takes Hugh down to meet the guys of the squadron.  While Hugh speaks with some of the pilots, Dickie receives a phone call.  Julian is dead.  It was a flamer into the drink.  Dickie asks Hugh if he could tell Bunty.  Hugh agrees to tell her.  Dickie then says that now Hugh is the last of the long-haired boys. 

Hugh visits Bunty.  With his arrival she knows that her husband is dead.  Hugh tells her that it will all work out, but Bunty doesn't agree.  She says:  "I'm bloody scared."  She adds that she never wanted a kid.  Julian was the one who wanted a child.  Hugh tells her to let it all out; cry.  Bunty responds:  "I don't want to cry.  I want to bloody scream!"  A little calmer, Bunty says:  "Poor old Hugh.  Best friend gets his girl."  She laughs and says that Hugh was the lucky one after all.  She also speculates that if she had stuck with him, she would have been all right.  At least she would still have a husband.  Hugh tells Bunty that he wants to help.  They lightly kiss.  Hugh then says that he probably will go back to flying.  This upsets Bunty:  "You still going to go through with it after Julian?"  Then she tells him not to come anywhere near her.  At least not until after the war, if he survives:  "You'll get bloody killed."

Hugh speaks with Dr. Meikle.  The doctor tells him that he has recommended that Hugh be given a medical discharge from the RAF.  His hands are too dicey.  Hugh is just not fit to fly.  It will take at least another year for him to get ready to fly.  Hugh changes the topic to cosmetic surgery.  He wants the doctor to work on his face some more so he will look better.  The doctor does so. 

Hugh goes to the meeting of the medical board.  The three judges ask if he wants to fly again.  "If I'm fit" says Hugh.  He suggests that perhaps he could train pilots in the meantime.  He feels that they send the new pilots up too soon.  The chief judge tells Hugh to give the judges a little time to think about his situation.  Hugh leaves.  One of the judges says:  "Obvious suicide case."  But the chief justice says:  "Or a hero!"  Hugh says good-bye to Dickie. 

Marge walks in on Hugh just as he is finishing speaking on the telephone with Bunty.  He calls her "darling".  This makes Marge very angry.  She gets even madder when Hugh says that he promised Julian to look after Bunty.  Marge declares:  "I've had enough.  When I come back I expect you to be gone."  Hugh protests that she has him all wrong, but Marge isn't listening.  Hugh starts staying at the RAF Club.  His mother and dad notice this and they figure that there has been trouble between their son and Marge.  Mom and dad go to London and mom goes in to see Marge.  She gets right to the point and says that she guesses that Hugh and she have had a falling out.  Then she tells Marge:  "I don't like Bunty Morrel."  She follows up by assuring Marge that she would be so right for her son. 

Hugh speaks with the chief justice of the medical board.  He tells Hugh that the training people want him, but they wonder what affect would Hugh's face have on the new pilots.  So the chief justice offers an experiment -- a try out, as you will, to see how it goes.

Marge puts on a beautiful gown that Hugh's mother purchased for her. 

Hugh sees his father at the RAF Club.  Dad tells him that mom went to see Marge.  She's trying to arrange a marriage.  He advises Hugh:  "You could do a damn sight worse" than to be with Marge.  But if Hugh doesn't want her, he must let her go.  Mom and dad are at the dinner and dance club.  Hugh and Marge are on the floor dancing.  During a dance, Hugh asks Marge to marry him. 

The marriage of Hugh and Marge takes place.  Dr. Meikle is there to congratulate them.  Dad tells the good doctor that he does not want Hugh to fly again. 

Hugh drives to the old Woodfold airfield.  The guard there tells another guard that Hugh is one of the Battle of Britain heroes.  Hugh reports to the squadron to begin teaching.  He mentions his face right off.  He then tells the new pilots that he should have worn his goggles and his gloves.  If he had, he would not be looking as bad as he does not.  So, always wear your goggles and gloves.  Another piece of advice is that the pilot has got to see his enemy first.  He has got to look and look again.  "I didn't and look at me."  September 11, 1942.   Hugh is cleared for flying.  He just has to go for training at RAF Woodfold. 

Hugh takes off in a plane.  Dickie accompanies him in another plane.  Up there Dickie asks him how it feels and Hugh answers:  "It feels bloody wonderful, Dickie."  At the end of the movie are sounds of aerial combat.  So we can assume one would think that Hugh actually got back into the fray. 

 

 Good movie.  I enjoyed it more than my wife.  She complained about the hospital scenes being too long and drawn out.  Maybe so, but the story picked up.  I would look forward to watching another episode of the mini-series.  There is not a lot of history in the movie.  It deals with the Battle of Britain with its many dogfights between British and German pilots and aircraft.  Our Hero Hugh Fleming gets hurt fairly quickly into the action.  He is terribly burned on his face and hands.  Then starts the long series of skin grafts and physical therapy.  The emphasis is more on the healing and recuperation of a veteran pilot.  And the terrible adjustments Fleming has to make to the upsetting incidents that happen to him.  Many people stare at his face, which upsets him.  He actually gets depressed, with good reason.  And then our gold haired boy has trouble with women.  Being that badly burned affects how women react to him and he doesn't much care for that.  But the fellow is persevering.  We have to give him that.  He fights as hard as he can to try to get back to flying and back into the war.  Nigel Havers was very good as Hugh Fleming.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

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