Troutbridge is made the designated shelling target for a NATO fleet exercise.
'High level conferences are always a worry to those awaiting the results. Like the ones between your bus driver and conductor outside the garage: will they carry on; or shall we all have to get on the one that - never is - right behind. But at Admiralty there's a NATO exercise meeting on right now, and its Captain Povey who awaits the results of that one.....'
Captain Povey is asked to suggest a ship that is of no use to the navy and that can be used in shelling practice for a NATO fleet exercise.
Not wanting to see their beloved Troutbridge ('I know every bump, scratch and warped plate') at the bottom of the ocean, the crew decide to 'accidentally' get lost on the way to the island, knowing they won't get in trouble for a navigational error ('A navigational error like Mr Phillips, for instance').
Of course, tell SL Phillips to purposefuly get lost and what happens - the crew arrive at Mount Rumpus Atoll, well run aground on it, slightly before the shelling is due to commence.
NATO bombers see the crew are still on the island, after bombing them, before the shelling starts, and the Frigate Popadom is sent to tow Troutbridge off the island and to a safe place at the orders of Captain Povey.
Meanwhile, the NATO fleet has been given new orders by Nato Command and told to conduct shelling practice at a different point - which just happens to be? - the 'safe' point Troutbridge has been towed to.
Povey goes out in the destroyer Makepeace to 'sort this mess out once and for all'.
Back on Troutbridge, the shelling starts and the Popadom scarpers ('They didn'y half go did they'). When the shelling stops to allow the Makepeace safe passage to Troutbridge, the crew think that the fleet doesn't know there are people on Troutbridge still and are coming 'in for the kill'.
To let the fleet know they are still there Number One orders a warning shot to be fired across Makepeace's bow. 'a direct hit' the shot disables Makepeace, and Povey orders Troutbridge back to Portsmouth for a Court Martial.
The shelling recommences and Number One uses this to blackmail Povey into dropping the Court Martial in exchange for Troutbridge towing Makepeace to safety.
- Captain Povey - Richard Caldicot
- WREN Chasen - Heather Chasen
- Lt Cmdr Stanton - Ronnie Barker
- Commander Murray - Stephen Murray
- CPO Pertwee - Jon Pertwee
- Sub Lt Phillips - Leslie Phillips
- Ableseaman Goldstein - Tenniel Evans
- Lieutenant Bates - Michael Bates
- Written By: Laurie Wyman
- Produced By: Alastair Scott Johnson