Everybody Down - The Navy Lark Wiki

Plot summary[]

Troutbridge is sent to retrieve an anti satellite warhead before it self destructs.

Opening remarks[]

  • Michael: Marriage is an old institution and like most old institutions should have been condemned years ago as structurally unsafe. Of course, it works perfectly well sometimes, when you're at the office and she's out shopping. It's when you're at home together in the evening that it seems to go for the chop, especially at bed time.
  • Phillips: Ha, ha, ha, ha. By the time she's taken all her make up off, slapped pounds of anti-wrinkle cream on her face and put her hair in curlers, you've forgotten what you were hoping for in the first place.
  • Michael: If you've quite finished reminiscing, I was about to say the situation's no different for Lieutenant Commander Murray and his wife Rita when they go to bed.


Murray is bemoaning Rita's choice, and smell, of face cream, Bouncing Betty's horse linament, 'And you know her coat shines!' Murray is further peterbed when Rita refuses a 'nighty nighty plonker!' due to the loudness of their bed springs and the fact that her mother and father are next door. Sulking, Murray starts bouncing up and down on the bed,

  • Rita: 'Crumbs, what are you doing bouncing up and down like that?'
    Boing, boi-boing!
    Cmdr Murray: 'I'm trying to wake up Mummy and Daddy and give us a hell of a reputation!'

Murray tries to use the horse liniment to oil the offending spring. Rita holds up the bed but he ends up stuck under it when Rita drops it to scratch her nose. The Admiral comes in to check on the noise,

  • The Admiral: 'Good grief, whatever are you doing Murray! You don't have to hide under the bed when I come in now, you're married!'

He tells Murray that he is to be aboard Troutbridge at 6 a.m. to meet Povey and someone from the M.O.D. to be told about Operation Recovery.

Aboard Troutbridge, the Padre, Phillips and Pertwee are in the ward room. Pertwee is none too happy about the hour, and is even less happy when Mr Phillips mentions one of his films, 'Oh please, please, not one of your films before breakfast!' But Mr Phillips continues anyway. Luckily the phone interrupts him, calling Pertwee and Phillips to Murray's office.

In Murray's office, Povey and Vice Admiral Burwasher are there to tell them of their mission. Vice Admiral Burwasher, after much discussion amongst himself, tells them their orders but mumbles so much they have no idea what is going on,

  • Cmdr Murray: 'What was all that old guff about and what're we supposed to be doing?'
    Vice Admiral Burwasher: 'You should know better than to ask silly questions like that lad, I did warn you it was top secret, you can't be to careful! Goodmorning!'

Before he leaves they manage to persuade Burwasher to give them the sealed envelope containing their orders.

At sea in a thick fog, through which Mr Phillips managed to exit the harbour perfectly, the crew open their orders. They are to pick up an anti-satellite rocket, with armed warhead, before it self-destructs and take it back to NASA Control Portsmouth. Pertwee is as unenthusiastic as normal but despite his suggestions No.1 decides they will try to find the warhead as ordered.

At Nasa control at Portsmouth, the American liaison finally describes Troutbridge's mission to the Admiral and Povey, who are naturally concerned,

  • Captain Povey: 'If the crew of Troutbridge picked up a beachball they'd burst the blasted thing!'

They are just about to send orders for Troutbridge to return to Portsmouth, when the news comes in that Troutbridge has picked up the warhead and are on their way back.

Back on Troutbridge, the crew realise they have in fact picked up a marker bouy,

  • Cmdr Murray: 'No Mr Phillips, the large painted letters on the side of it saying North-Goodwinds are not the name of the American firm that made it!'

Murray agrees with Pertwee that they should not reveal their mistake to Portsmouth. Nasa control calls the ship and tells them the method for disarming the warhead, struggling to keep up with the instructions Murray becomes ever more panicky,

  • NASA Liaison: 'Now the final and most important instruction of all. What ever you do, don't disturb the aerials on the top, because they motivate the self-destruct mechanism.'
    Cmdr Murray: 'The aerials? But there arn't any aerials on top!'
    NASA Liasion: 'What? Captain, now don't panic - but get that warhead over the side quick. Without the aerials that warhead could go up at any moment! Dump it overboard and sail like jumbo jet out of here!'
    Cmdr Murray: 'Aye, aye Colonel'
    CPO Pertwee: 'What did he...'
    Cmdr Murray: 'No time to tell you, get that thing overboard at once. It’s primed and it could blow us all to kingdom come! Come on chief! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!'

Reminded by Pertwee that the marker buoy is not likely to explode anytime soon, Murray decides to throw the buoy overboard and carry on looking for the real warhead.

Hours later, they still havn't found the warhead. They carry on looking when they bump into the marker bouy again, or what they thought was the marker bouy. As they examine it closer they see there isn't any writing on the side of it, and they've knocked the aerials off it.

  • Cmdr Murray: 'May I suggest, Gentlemen, in light of our present knowledge... Full Ahead Both! Belt the hell out of here before that damn thing goes off!'

Pertwee, under Mr Phillips "guidance" guides the ship away from the warhead and manages to get far enough away before it explodes. They signal Portsmouth and tell them the warhead has been exploded.

At Portsmouth, a band plays and a crowd cheers on the dockside at the return of Troutbridge, the only ship in the Home Fleet still afloat due to the strange disappearance of the North-Goodwinds marker bouy. Mr Phillips is distracted more than usual but makes it through the harbour entrance with only minimal damage.

And the band plays... on as Toutbridge comes in to dock!

Cast and Crew[]

  • Written By: Laurie Wyman and George Evans
  • Produced By: Alastair Scott Johnson


Operation Recovery

Season 12
The Put-A-Horse-Out-To-Graze Fund I Impressions For Survival I The Beard-Growing Race I The Mysterious Radio Signals I Operation Recovery I The Slogan Contest I Sir Willoughby at Shanghai I Operation Cowes Barge I Number One's Anniversary I The Loch Ness Monster