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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/oh_doctor_beeching.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Left to right: Jack, Ethel, Parkin.]]


In 1963, the rural train station of Hatley is being operated by a ragtag team of British Rail employees, including porter/acting stationmaster Jack Skinner (Paul Shane), his wife and station buffet manager May (Julia Deakin), and their teenaged daughter Gloria (Lindsay Grimshaw); flustered booking clerk Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard) and her dozy son Wilfred (Paul Aspen); grumpy signalman/entrepreneur Harry Lambert (Stephen Lewis); odd job woman Vera Plumtree (Barbara New), elderly engine driver Arnold Thomas (Ivor Roberts) and his novice fireman Ralph (Perry Benson); and skirt-chasing guard Percy (Terry John). The arrival of the new station master, Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland), coupled with Doctor Beeching's announcement of a railway axe, forces the staff to pull up their socks.

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In 1963, the rural train station of Hatley is being operated by a ragtag team of British Rail employees, including porter/acting stationmaster Jack Skinner (Paul Shane), his wife and station buffet manager May (Julia Deakin), and their teenaged daughter Gloria (Lindsay Grimshaw); flustered booking clerk Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard) and her dozy son Wilfred (Paul Aspen); Aspden[[note]] Misspelled as "Paul Aspen" in the credits.[[/note]]); grumpy signalman/entrepreneur Harry Lambert (Stephen Lewis); odd job woman Vera Plumtree (Barbara New), New); elderly engine driver Arnold Thomas (Ivor Roberts) and his novice fireman Ralph (Perry Benson); and skirt-chasing guard Percy (Terry John). The arrival of the new station master, Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland), coupled with Doctor Beeching's announcement of a railway axe, axe - 2,000 stations to close, 67,000 jobs to be lost - forces the staff to pull up their socks.socks.

Unbeknownst to Jack, he has more to worry about than Dr Beeching and his axe - Parkin is an old boyfriend of May's from seventeen years earlier, and not only is he still passionately in love with May after all these years, but she was seeing both men at the same time when Gloria was conceived...



* BigShutUp: Wilfred is frequently on the receiving end of these - most often from Jack or Ethel - when he makes an obvious or inappropriate remark when the other characters' patience is already strained.



* HoistByHisOwnPetard: In "A Bowl in the Hand", Parkin has put Jack on duty on the day of the station's Bowls Club outing and put himself on the team in his place. Jack tries to ask him to let May stay behind while Vera handles the catering for the outing on compassionate grounds; as Parkin had put Jack on duty and slated May to handle the catering precisely so he could steal some time alone with her away from Jack, he refuses. Mr Orkindale arrives in the middle of this conversation, and Parkin declares that while Beeching is wielding his axe, railway employees must put duty first and pleasure a distant second. Orkindale agrees, then asks why Parkin is not in uniform but Jack is; Jack, he explains, is the star of the bowls team and cannot be left behind. He orders Parkin to stay behind while Jack joins the bowls outing - after all, duty first, pleasure a distant second.

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* HoistByHisOwnPetard: In "A Bowl in the Hand", Parkin has put Jack on duty on the day of the station's Bowls Club outing and put himself on the team in his place. Jack tries to ask him to let May stay behind while Vera handles the catering for the outing on compassionate grounds; as Parkin had put Jack on duty and slated May to handle the catering precisely so he could steal some time alone with her away from Jack, he refuses. Mr Orkindale arrives in the middle of this conversation, and Parkin declares that while Beeching is wielding his axe, railway employees must put duty first and personal pleasure a distant long way second. Orkindale agrees, then asks why Parkin is not in uniform but Jack is; Jack, he explains, is the star of the bowls team and cannot be left behind. He orders Parkin to stay behind while Jack joins the bowls outing - after all, duty first, personal pleasure a distant long way second.



* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Gloria is supposedly Jack and May's daughter, but when Parkin arrives at Hatley and May introduces him to Gloria, he does the maths and realises she was conceived when he and May were seeing each other. (It is revealed in the second series episode "Father's Day" that her father is probably [[spoiler:Jack after all]].)

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* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Gloria is supposedly Jack and May's daughter, but when Parkin arrives at Hatley and May introduces him to Gloria, he does the maths and realises she was conceived when he and May were seeing each other. (It is revealed in the second series episode "Father's Day" that her father is probably [[spoiler:Jack [[spoiler:probably Jack after all]].all, but definitely not Parkin]].)



* NotWhatItLooksLike: In "Past Love", Parkin returns from his lunchtime meeting on the same train as Gloria, and they are both standing by the door as the train pulls into Hatley. However, Ralph misjudges the stopping distance yet again, and Parkin and Gloria are thrown against each other as the train lurches to a halt. Parkin's fiancée, Edna, opens the door to find what looks like Parkin trying to seduce Gloria. (Parkin is particularly horrified by this conclusion as he thinks Gloria might be his daughter, but Edna is the last person he wants to find out he might have an illegitimate child, so he cannot clear up the misunderstanding so easily.)

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* NotWhatItLooksLike: In "Past Love", Parkin returns from his lunchtime meeting on the same train as Gloria, and they are both standing by the door as the train pulls into Hatley. However, Ralph misjudges the stopping distance yet again, and Parkin and Gloria are thrown against each other as the train lurches to a halt. Parkin's fiancée, Edna, opens the door to find what looks like Parkin trying to seduce Gloria. (Parkin Parkin is particularly horrified by this conclusion as he thinks Gloria might be his daughter, but Edna is the last person he wants to find out he might have an illegitimate child, so he cannot clear up the misunderstanding so easily.)



* ReallyGetsAround: May, in her younger days. Not only was she seeing Jack and Parkin at the same time when Gloria was conceived, but there are several episodes where May or Gloria reference other male admirers whom she was seeing on a regular basis.

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* ReallyGetsAround: May, in her younger days. Not only was she seeing Jack and Parkin at the same time when Gloria was conceived, but there are several episodes where May or Gloria reference other male admirers whom she was seeing on a regular basis.basis behind Jack's back, while Mr Orkindale frequently flirts with her in a way that suggests they have a history together.


* GrumpyOldMan: Harry Lambert is close to retirement, and much as he hates his job (hence his many side enterprises), he hates the changes being made on the railways even more. He also gets easily angered when he hears Wilfred playing the electric guitar, partly because Wilfred isn't very good but more because he hates rock and roll for being too loud. (Not that this stops him from recruiting Wilfred to play guitar in his band, Harry Lambert and the Rhythm Rascals.)

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* GrumpyOldMan: Harry Lambert Lambert, true to most roles played by Stephen Lewis, is almost never seen smiling. He is close to retirement, and much as he hates his job (hence his many side enterprises), he hates the changes being made on the railways even more. He also gets easily angered when he hears Wilfred playing the electric guitar, partly because Wilfred isn't very good but more because he hates rock and roll for being too loud. (Not that this stops him from recruiting Wilfred to play guitar in his band, Harry Lambert and the Rhythm Rascals.)



* LastSecondWordSwap: Parkin does this if someone (usually Vera) barges in while opening his heart to May Skinner. For example, "A Bowl in the Hand" features this exchange:

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* LastSecondWordSwap: Parkin does this if someone (usually Vera) barges in while he is opening his heart to May Skinner. For example, "A Bowl in the Hand" features this exchange:


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* MomentKiller: In many episodes when Parkin thinks he and May are alone and he is in the middle of an AnguishedDeclarationOfLove for her, Vera will choose the worst possible moment to walk in on some errand or another, forcing Parkin to either make a LastSecondWordSwap to convince Vera that what she sees is NotWhatItLooksLike or forcing both Parkin and May to stand apart and go into an ActingUnnatural routine.

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* ThatsWhatSheSaid: The "actress and the bishop" version shows up in "The Van" when Jack, May, Ethel, and Wilfred are sliding the station's fridge into the back of Parkin's van to drive to Gaskin's, the local appliance repair shop:
-->''[as the fridge finishes sliding into the back of the van and all four lifters breathe a sigh of relief]''\\
'''Jack:''' There. It's gone in beautifully!\\
'''Wilfred:''' That's what the bishop said to the actress-\\
'''Ethel:''' WILFRED! ''[gives him a DeathGlare]'' I shall stop you going to that youth club!


* BookDumb: Ralph tries to avert this by reading books about Ancient Greece, as he has aspirations beyond being an engine driver. He tells Ethel he is working through the great figures of Ancient Greece alphabetically, and that he is currently on Creator/{{Aristophanes}} and Creator/{{Aristotle}}. Ethel says her favourite ancient historical figure when she was at school was [[Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar Caesar]]. Ralph then reveals himself as a straight example of Book Dumb by saying he won't get up to "S" for a long time.

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* BookDumb: Ralph tries to avert this by reading books about Ancient Greece, as he has aspirations beyond being an engine driver. He tells Ethel he is working through the great figures of Ancient Greece alphabetically, and that he is currently on Creator/{{Aristophanes}} and Creator/{{Aristotle}}. Ethel says her favourite ancient historical figure when she was at school was [[Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar [[UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar Caesar]]. Ralph then reveals himself as a straight example of Book Dumb by saying he won't get up to "S" for a long time.


** Ralph (and sometimes Arnold) routinely envelopes someone standing on the platform at Hatley (usually Parkin) in a cloud of steam by getting careless with the release valve.

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** Ralph (and sometimes Arnold) routinely envelopes someone standing on the platform at Hatley (usually Parkin) in a cloud of steam by getting careless with the release valve.[[note]] In Real Life the crew of a steam train would receive a fine if they allowed this to happen.[[/note]]


->''"Oh, Doctor Beeching, what a naughty man you are!"''

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->''"Oh, ->''"I'll have to buy a bike 'cause I can't afford a car! Oh, Doctor Beeching, what a naughty man you are!"''


* TheFunInFuneral: In one episode the station takes an unexpected delivery of a Mr Buckly (deceased). When the local funeral director says he is not expecting anyone by that name, the staff scramble to hide the coffin from both Mr Parkin and the passengers. (It turns out Mr Buckly was sent to Hatley by mistake; his funeral is in Ha''g''ley. Mr Orkindale shows up to sort out the mistake and send Mr Buckly on his way.)

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* TheFunInFuneral: In one episode "The Late Mr Buckly", the station takes an unexpected staff are surprised by the delivery of a Mr Buckly (deceased).the title character. When the local funeral director says he is not expecting anyone by that name, the staff scramble to hide the coffin from both Mr Parkin and the passengers. (It turns out Mr Buckly was sent to Hatley by mistake; his funeral is in Ha''g''ley. Mr Orkindale shows up to sort out the mistake and send Mr Buckly on his way.)


* DatePeepers: Jack, May, Gloria, Wilfred, Vera, and Harry all sneak after Ethel on her date with her USAF boyfriend Joe in "Love is a Very Splendid Thing" out of concern that she might get taken advantage of; they spend the afternoon hiding behind the Cadillac Joe has borrowed from a friend for the occasion.



* OutOfContextEavesdropping: When Ethel and her American airman beau Joe are having a picnic in "Love is a Very Splendid Thing", Jack, May, Gloria, Wilfred, Harry, and Vera are eavesdropping from behind Joe's friend's Cadillac. When Ethel picks up two pieces of chicken and asks Joe if he wants a leg or breast, the six eavesdroppers stand up with horrified looks.

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* OutOfContextEavesdropping: When Ethel and her American airman beau Joe are having a picnic in "Love is a Very Splendid Thing", Jack, May, Gloria, Wilfred, Harry, and Vera are [[DatePeepers eavesdropping from behind Joe's friend's Cadillac.Cadillac]]. When Ethel picks up two pieces of chicken and asks Joe if he wants a leg or breast, the six eavesdroppers stand up with horrified looks.


In 1963, the rural train station of Hatley is being operated by a ragtag team of British Rail employees, including porter/acting stationmaster Jack Skinner (Paul Shane), his wife and station buffet manager May (Julia Deakin), flustered booking clerk Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard) and her dozy son Wilfred (Paul Aspen), grumpy signalman/entrepreneur Harry Lambert (Stephen Lewis), odd job woman Vera Plumtree (Barbara New), elderly engine driver Arnold Thomas (Ivor Roberts) and his novice fireman Ralph (Perry Benson), and skirt-chasing guard Percy (Terry John). The arrival of the new station master, Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland), coupled with Doctor Beeching's announcement of a railway axe, forces the staff to pull up their socks.

to:

In 1963, the rural train station of Hatley is being operated by a ragtag team of British Rail employees, including porter/acting stationmaster Jack Skinner (Paul Shane), his wife and station buffet manager May (Julia Deakin), and their teenaged daughter Gloria (Lindsay Grimshaw); flustered booking clerk Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard) and her dozy son Wilfred (Paul Aspen), Aspen); grumpy signalman/entrepreneur Harry Lambert (Stephen Lewis), Lewis); odd job woman Vera Plumtree (Barbara New), elderly engine driver Arnold Thomas (Ivor Roberts) and his novice fireman Ralph (Perry Benson), Benson); and skirt-chasing guard Percy (Terry John). The arrival of the new station master, Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland), coupled with Doctor Beeching's announcement of a railway axe, forces the staff to pull up their socks.


** For Vera Plumtree we get, "My late husband - he was an engine driver, you know."

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** For Whenever Vera Plumtree we get, "My mentions "my late husband - he husband," she will invariably add, "He was an engine driver, you know."" Subverted in "Lucky Strike" when Ethel anticipates "He was an engine driver, you know" and says it herself... only for Vera to say that at the time of the anecdote she is telling, he worked for the Gas and Coal Board.


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* ComicallyMissingThePoint: In several episodes, characters try unsuccessfully to set Wilfred straight where [[RunningGag knocking on doors and saying "Come in" himself]] is concerned.
** Percy suggests that "Come in" should come from the other side of the door; Wilfred laughs this off, saying there's no point his saying "Come in" after he's already entered.
** Parkin tries to explain that ''he'' should be the one to say "Come in" when Wilfred knocks on the door; Wilfred interprets this to mean they should ''both'' say it.

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* HappilyMarried: Jack and May Skinner are an unusual match, and May is sometimes implied not to have been entirely faithful even after Parkin was out of the picture, but they are devoted to each other (to Parkin's frustration) and, in several episodes, are stated to still be sexually active (to Parkin's horror).


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* ReallyGetsAround: May, in her younger days. Not only was she seeing Jack and Parkin at the same time when Gloria was conceived, but there are several episodes where May or Gloria reference other male admirers whom she was seeing on a regular basis.

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* BritishBrevity: Two series with a total of 19 episodes plus one pilot episode.


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* DopeSlap: Wilfred ends up on the receiving end of quite a few from either Ethel or Jack for being slow on the uptake. For example, in "Action Stations", the staff are rehearsing for a visit from Dr Beeching, with Harry "playing" Dr Beeching for rehearsal purposes. Wilfred looks at the picture they have hung of the man himself and says "he" looks nothing like his photo. At the end of the episode, [[spoiler:Dr Beeching turns out to be Lady Lawrence's gynaecologist]], and a triumphant Wilfred says he told them the doctor looked nothing like his picture. Jack grabs Wilfred's cap and hits him with it; Parkin stops him, takes the cap, and promptly picks up where Jack left off.


* UniversalAdaptorCast: Paul Shane, Jeffrey Holland, and Su Pollard play the same sort of characters they played in David Croft's previous series ''Series/HiDeHi'' and ''Series/YouRangMLord'', with Shane as the working-class LovableRogue, Holland as the morally upright StraightMan, and Pollard as TheDitz. Barbara New and Perry Benson play similar roles to those they played in ''Series/YouRangMLord'' as well, with New as the slightly dotty outsider and Benson as a half-wit (with hints of HiddenDepths) at the bottom of the career ladder.



* UniversalAdaptorCast: Paul Shane, Jeffrey Holland, and Su Pollard play the same sort of characters they played in David Croft's previous series ''Series/HiDeHi'' and ''Series/YouRangMLord'', with Shane as the working-class LovableRogue, Holland as the morally upright StraightMan, and Pollard as TheDitz. Barbara New and Perry Benson play similar roles to those they played in ''Series/YouRangMLord'' as well, with New as the slightly dotty outsider and Benson as a half-wit (with hints of HiddenDepths) at the bottom of the career ladder.


* FirstNameBasis: Most of the Hatley station staff, including Jack, May, Ethel, Vera, and Harry, have worked with each other for long enough that they address each other by their first names. When Parkin shows up, he uses their more formal titles (although he makes an exception for May when no-one else is listening; she is also the only one to routinely address him as Cecil).



* GrumpyOldMan: Harry Lambert is close to retirement, and much as he hates his job (hence his many side enterprises), he hates the changes being made on the railways even more. He also gets easily angered when he hears Wilfred playing the electric guitar, partly because Wilfred isn't very good but more because he hates rock and roll for being too loud.

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* GrumpyOldMan: Harry Lambert is close to retirement, and much as he hates his job (hence his many side enterprises), he hates the changes being made on the railways even more. He also gets easily angered when he hears Wilfred playing the electric guitar, partly because Wilfred isn't very good but more because he hates rock and roll for being too loud. (Not that this stops him from recruiting Wilfred to play guitar in his band, Harry Lambert and the Rhythm Rascals.)

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