Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Last of the Summer Wine (1973-2010)


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!

'Full Steam Behind' (originally transmitted on BBC1, 18/9/1979)

Clegg and Compo's ruminations on the joys of ironing are rudely interrupted when Foggy bursts in, brandishing a whistle and flag. Foggy is keen for the others to join him for a commemoration of steam at the local branch line, and cannot understand their lack of enthusiasm at being forced to walk for miles to look at an old engine. However, even Foggy's passion is dampened when, having secured a prime location on an overhead bridge to observe the train's passing, the trio are caught in a blast of steam.

Looking for somewhere to clean themselves up they come across an old sidings shed, and before long Foggy is once more waxing lyrical on the age of steam. Compo takes little interest, but Clegg reluctantly joins Foggy at the open window to observe another train in motion - only to be caught in a second blast of steam.

Outside, Foggy takes advantage of the opportunity to examine a stationary train at close quarters, but is less then impressed when Compo climbs aboard and lets off yet another blast of steam. While playing at the controls, Compo accidentally sets the train in motion, and immediately abandons the engine.

Reasoning that someone has to bring the train back to the station before the commemorative ceremony, Foggy gives chase, accompanied by his reluctant associates. The trio's various attempts to regain control of the runaway train - which include including dropping Compo onto it from a bridge - are unsuccessful, until it slows enough for them to board. Foggy manages to put it into reverse, assuming that all he will need to do is apply the brakes when they arrive at the station. However, his attempts to do so only cause the train to accelerate, scattering terrified rail enthusiasts in its wake.

The three men eventually manage to get the engine to the ceremony, waving to the local dignitaries as they arrive, but overshoot the platform by a hundred metres. Their subsequent efforts to return the train to the platform simply cause it to speed away again.

The train finally comes to a halt in open countryside, and the trio gratefully disembark, with even Foggy admitting that it will be a long time before he wants to see another steam engine. No sooner are the words out of his mouth than they hear a familiar puffing sound, and turn to see the driverless engine bearing down upon them...