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Monocled Mutineer, The (1986)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Part 3: 'When the Hurlyburly's done', originally transmitted on BBC1, 14 September 1986

Hiding their faces behind their gas masks, the mutineers hold Captain Strachan and Brigadier General Thomson at gunpoint in their quarters to make them agree to their demands. When the officers refuse, the men take them out to the bridge and throw them into the river. Thomson asks for help from headquarters while trying to conceal the full extent of the mutiny. Percy Toplis, masquerading as an officer, passes the night in the local bordello with a prostitute. The next day, Percy and the other deserters in the woods agree to come back to the camp to make Thomson agree to the demands. Gilzean and the other men are broken out of their detention cells and much of the camp is raised to the ground. When Thomson drives through the camp, Percy sits next to him, without disguising his features, and repeats the demands. Thomson tells them that the cavalry will arrive that night.

When Thomson's reinforcements fail to appear, Percy and his stammering friend Charles Strange pass the night with prostitutes. Strachan warns Thomson that their careers will be over even though the mutiny itself is bound to be hushed up for the sake of morale. The next day, General Allister tells Lady Angela that she must leave the camp immediately as conditions are bound to deteriorate when reinforcements eventually do arrive. Percy encourages the men, now facing defeat, to attempt one last bluff by attacking the munitions store. Thomson capitulates and signs, discovering only later that all his requests for reinforcements have belatedly been met.

Reprisals against the deserters begin under the leadership of Edwin Woodhall, a diminutive secret service agent. Percy, Charles and Franny manage to hide out in the woods, but many others, including Gilzean, are arrested. Woodhall quickly focuses on trying to capture the man who sat next to Thomson in his car to make the demands. In a futile attempt to save himself from the firing squad, Gilzean tells Woodhall that the man he is looking for is Percy Toplis. Strange and Franny opt to try and return to England, but Percy remains in France. Woodhall, disguised as a priest, finds Percy, who is disguised as an officer, and takes him back to the camp. Percy manages to escape and returns to England. He meets the beautiful Dorothy by a roadside. In his officer's disguise he romances her and eventually they become lovers.