Flying The Flag

Cold War-era sitcom set in a British embassy

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Favours1987042020180903 (BBC7)
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In which the repair of the Embassy typewriter plays a part in the mating of seals, the extermination of bugs, and the silencing of little birds.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mr Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Milton Johns as Brown, Stuart Organ as Bryant and Christopher Benjamin as the Colonel

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1987.

A broken typewriter causes chaos. Eastern bloc embassy sitcom starring Dinsdale Landen.

0102Weather Problems1987042720180910 (BBC7)
20180911 (BBC7)
In which a promising retirement is threatened by a freak hailstorm - and Ambassador Mackenzie discovers something worse than a frank exchange of views in an atmosphere of cordiality.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Michael Bilton as Yakov Korovin, Jonathan Kidd as Mikael Korovin and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1987.

Eastern Bloc dissidents seeking refuge descend on the British Embassy.

0103Notes From The Underground1987050420180917 (BBC7)
20180918 (BBC7)
In which mushrooms are picked, the right questions are not asked, and a sign of civilisation is revealed.

Confusion reigns as the British Embassy prepares a report on the local political outlook.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as Spiro, Michael Bilton as Yakov and Sue Broomfield as Eugenia.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 1987.

0104Compromising Positions1987051120180924 (BBC7)
20180925 (BBC7)
Why does William sleep with his windscreen wipers? And will the tabloid press settle for a diplomatic answer?

The British Ambassador gets suspicious...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson,Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Milton Johns as Brown and Margaret Ward as Mrs Poonskey.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 1987.

The British ambassador is suspicious over an embarrassing photo of William. From May 1987.

0105Here In The Western World1987051920181001 (BBC7)
20181002 (BBC7)
Why is the Ambassador's whiskey like an American submarine? And is the noble art of moaning really under threat?

Arms limitation negotiations at the Embassy call for some verbal gymnastics...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Jonathan Kydd as Mikhail Korovin, Michael Bilton as Yakov Korovin and Stephen Greif as the United States Ambassador.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 1987.

The British ambassador tackles arms limitation negotiations with some verbal gymnastics.

0106Spy Story1987052520181008 (BBC7)
20181009 (BBC7)
Why does the bear suck his paw in winter? And what does the answer have to do with the First Secretary's dinner suit?

The British Ambassador and his team plan their campaign for a diplomatic dinner.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as the United States Ambassador, Susie Brann as Mrs Newton and Peter Howell as George Sommers.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 1987.

The British ambassador and his team plan their campaign for a diplomatic dinner.

0201The Bread And Butter1988031020160112 (BBC7)
20160113 (BBC7)
20181126 (BBC7)
20181127 (BBC7)
20181201 (BBC7)
A mystery body strains the Republic's spirit of glasnost at the British Embassy – where many more British tourists are finding their way here than in the past...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as the United States Ambassador, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Rashbrook as Harris.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 1988.

A mystery body strains the Republic's spirit of glasnost at the British Embassy.

0202The Space Race1988031720160119 (BBC7)
20160120 (BBC7)
20181203 (BBC7)
20181204 (BBC7)
What goes up in the era of glasnost must come down, but exactly where is still a matter for negotiation...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as the United States Ambassador, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and David Goodland as Olav.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 1988.

What goes up in the glasnost era must come down, but where is subject to negotiation.

0203A Tooth For A Tooth1988032420160126 (BBC7)
20160127 (BBC7)
20181210 (BBC7)
20181211 (BBC7)
There’s no extradition agreement yet between the UK and the People's Republic - but some accusations can’t be lightly brushed aside...

Alex Shearer's Eastern Bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as the United States Ambassador and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 1988.

Extradition agreements are on the agenda, and some accusations can't be brushed aside.

0204The Opium Of The People1988033120160202 (BBC7)
20160203 (BBC7)
20181217 (BBC7)
20181218 (BBC7)
It's Glorious Reindeer Day in the People's Republic.

Seasonal goodwill abounds, even if light bulbs and religious tolerance don't...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, John Baddeley as Morris and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 1988.

It may be Glorious Reindeer Day, but light bulbs and tolerance are in short supply.

0205No Sudden Moves1988040720160209 (BBC7)
20160210 (BBC7)
20181224 (BBC7)
20181225 (BBC7)
20181229 (BBC7)
“It's hard enough coping with adult life as it is, without having children going about being cleverer than you are.”

East meets West in an epic chess game where politics, pride and chicken nuggets are at stake...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Richard Pearce as Keith Branley.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1988.

East meets West in an epic chess game with politics, pride and chicken nuggets at stake.

0206Political Flu1988041420160216 (BBC7)
20160217 (BBC7)
20181231 (BBC7)
20190101 (BBC7)
The political climate in the People's Republic is milder than it used to be, but political sickness can still strike unexpectedly, and earthworm tables are not always the answer...

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Peter Craze as Nesterov, Paul Gregory as Brodsky and Stephen Greif as the US Ambassador.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1988.

The embassy chief must cope when political sickness strikes in the People's Republic.

0207A Taste Of Democracy1988042120160223 (BBC7)
20190107 (BBC7)
20190108 (BBC7)
It’s British week in the People's Republic – showcasing a double-decker bus and a demonstration of clog dancing.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Alan Dudley as Frank Burton, MP and Richard Tate as Gerald Calder-Brown, MP.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1988.

British week in the People's Republic showcases a double-decker bus and clog dancing.

0208Submarine Diplomacy1988042820160301 (BBC7)
20160302 (BBC7)
20190114 (BBC7)
20190115 (BBC7)
Telexes are arriving from London; awkward questions are being asked in the House; the spirit of the Armada is in dire peril of reasserting itself.

All in a day's overwork for the British Ambassador and his staff.

Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, David Goodland as Captain Warner and Stephen Greif as the US Ambassador.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1988.

The embassy faces tough questions back home, with the spirit of the Armada bubbling up.

0301Whose Rubbish Is It Anyway?1990112220160419 (BBC7)
20160420 (BBC7)
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20190305 (BBC7)
"Lights going up, walls coming down - the West is starting to look a bit lost without someone to blame for all its troubles".

Her Majesty's Ambassador Mackenzie continues to dispense his own blend of British Foreign Policy, despite the arrival of Glasnost, Perestroika - and a container ship of toxic waste...

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as Spiro and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Pete Atkin

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 1990.

Toxic waste is a challenge for Ambassador Mackenzie on his Eastern Bloc posting.

0302Our Own Correspondent1990112920160426 (BBC7)
20160427 (BBC7)
20190311 (BBC7)
20190312 (BBC7)
Press freedom reaches the People's Republic, closely followed by Henry Treebling, Investigative Reporter.

"Surely diplomatic moves are under foot to slow the pace of reform, Mr Mackenzie?"

"Of course not. But how did Treebling find out about them?"

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and John Grieve as Treebling.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 1990.

With the press on the prowl, Ambassador Mackenzie's memoirs spark Embassy havoc.

0303A Loss Of Marbles1990120420160503 (BBC7)
20160504 (BBC7)
20190318 (BBC7)
20190319 (BBC7)
Gathering dust in the British Museum are great lumps of the Republic's heritage - and now it wants them back.

"But we did give them lots of things in return, William..."

"Like beads, sir?"

"Like standards William..."

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 1990.

Britain's ambassador faces demands from the Republic for the return of its heritage.

0304Drugs, Mr Ambassador?1990121120160510 (BBC7)
20160511 (BBC7)
20190325 (BBC7)
20190326 (BBC7)
"Drugs, Mr Ambassador?"

"We didn't need drugs in my day, William. We had something else to sustain us - we called them standards."

Fortified by caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, the diplomats tackle the drug barons.

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 1990.

0305Cool Heads1990121820160517 (BBC7)
20160518 (BBC7)
20190401 (BBC7)
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The diplomats consider their action as a hijack hits their wives' fact-finding shopping trip.

“In my view, Colonel, the best course of action would be a swift and speedy implementation of time-honoured diplomatic principles.”

“Wait and see?”

“Precisely.

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg and Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Norman Bird as Dr Hutchings.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 1990.

The diplomats take action as a hijack hits their wives' fact-finding shopping trip.

0306Cultural Exchange1990122520160524 (BBC7)
20160525 (BBC7)
20190408 (BBC7)
20190409 (BBC7)
"Someone else's culture is like someone else's toothbrush, William. You wouldn't want to use it yourself, but you're reassured to know they've got one."

With Heavy Metal and Dancing Detectors, Mackenzie and Surikov mix the oil and water of artistic detente.

Series 3 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Julian Dutton as Grub.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 1990.

A diplomatic visit sees the Ambassador mix the oil and water of artistic detente.

0401Spiritual Values1992061620161115 (BBC7)
20161116 (BBC7)
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Her Majesty's Ambassador Mackenzie and his staff battle on bravely, coming to terms with the changing order in Colonel Surikov's fledgling Eastern-bloc democracy.

The new order brings new problems, not least keeping the diplomatic upper hand in a country discovering the ills of the West.

So when equal rights for women appears on the agenda, closely followed by the emergence of militant feminists, the embassies echo to the sound of men closing ranks.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as Spiro.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 1992.

Cash is scarce, as the ambassador hopes capitalism and democracy will conquer communism.

0402In Custody1992062320161122 (BBC7)
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‘We are representatives of Democracy in this benighted place, William. We enshrine the values of liberty, tolerance and free speech. By the way, why is that woman chained to the embassy railings..?'

Ambassador Mackenzie must tackle the delicate issue of a Briton being held hostage.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as Spiro.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 1992.

0403As Unequal As Others1992063020161129 (BBC7)
20161130 (BBC7)
20190527 (BBC7)
20190528 (BBC7)
When equal rights for women appears on the agenda, closely followed by the emergence of militant feminists, the ambassador is stuck by the echo of men closing ranks.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 1992.

The ambassador faces a revolt by men over rights for women in the Eastern Bloc republic.

0404Little Extras1992070720161206 (BBC7)
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The novelty of artistic freedom in the People's Democracy attracts a swarm of film location managers, hungry for new backdrops, authentic faces - and cheap labour.

The movie moguls hadn't bargained for one thing, however: a little diplomatic scene stealing.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg and Peter Whitman as Duncan Bridges.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 1992.

Ambassador Mackenzie witnesses the movie-making prowess of the People's Republic up close.

0405Endangered Species1992071420161213 (BBC7)
20161214 (BBC7)
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Desperate to be seen to be Green, the Ambassadors from both East and West try to reconcile materialism with ecological common sense.

Agreement on policies proves impossible and time is running out: diplomacy may soon be extinct.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 1992.

Ambassador Mackenzie turns his attention to the ecology of the People's Republic's.

0406No Special Treatment1992072120161220 (BBC7)
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Official condemnation of the privatisation of the People's Health Service is tempered slightly when the diplomats study the proposals more closely.

Cheap facelifts and hair transplants for embassy staff... isn't there something to be said for the concept after all?

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 1992.

After the Health Care service is privatised, the embassy staff spot some advantages.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.

0407The Pretenders1992072820161227 (BBC7)
20161228 (BBC7)
20190624 (BBC7)
20190625 (BBC7)
Revolution in the People's Democratic Republic is in the air when a claimant to the newly restored throne arrives from Britain.

Enter political stage right, Princess Sharon Eckersley.

Series 4 of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov, Elaine Lordan as Sharon and Simon Schatzberger as Dave.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 1992.

Ambassador Mackenzie faces an aristocratic revival in the Federated People's Republic.

0408End Of Term1992080420170103 (BBC7)
20170104 (BBC7)
20190701 (BBC7)
20190702 (BBC7)
Ambassador Mackenzie packs his diplomatic bags, and faces a bleak future back in Britain with no servants - and no knighthood.

Before he heads for the Cotswolds, he faces one final crisis in the People's Democracy. But what are the skills of diplomacy for, if not to salvage some personal profit from another's disaster?

The final episode of Alex Shearer's Eastern bloc embassy sitcom.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.

Producer: Neil Cargill

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in August 1992.

Ambassador Mackenzie packs his diplomatic bags for good, but faces one final crisis.

Starring Dinsdale Landen as HM Ambassador Mackenzie, Peter Acre as William Frost, Moir Leslie as Helen Waterson, Christopher Benjamin as Colonel Surikov and Stephen Greif as US Ambassador Spiro Weinberg.