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Posted Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 5:38pm Post subject: The Dambusters script
Hi, I have recently seen on wikipedia that Steven Fry has written a new script for the remake of the Dambusters. I was also viewing some comments on an (unofficial) RAF web The Egoat a certain amount of consternation over the name of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson's dog.

The dog, a black lab, had a name which is, by to days standards, very contentious The rumours are that the movie studios want this removed or changed. I am not looking to start any racial issues, I’m just after the fact

Has any one any information or maybe Seven himself would like to comment on what is happening over the script of the film.

Wikipedia URL:

E-Goat URL:

Regards N-n-B

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Posted Fri Oct 10th, 2008 8:32pm Post subject: The Dambusters script
Hi, this subject has caused a bit of a stir in my home town of Grantham. Richard Todd has voiced some strong opinions about the remake! Guy Gibson was stationed locally at Scampton during the dambuster raids and it was organised in Grantham at St Vincent's, which still stands. I work in a library so 'historical fact' is something I firmly believe in - and it should not be changed. The dog's name should not be changed as it was not aimed at being racial at that time. The racial undertones came much later when society would no longer tolerate these terms used to hurt and offend. I very much doubt the name meant anything other than an endearment in its day. The remake is unacceptable if it messes with fact and personally it will never be as good as the original. If they omit the dog's true name I will boycott the film!!!

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Posted Mon Dec 20th, 2010 2:19pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

Hi - Having grown up with seeing the Richard Todd version. I think not changing the dogs name would be more honest, revealing and provoking, and probably goad more viewers to take a closer look at our histories, be them either interested or appalled by it.
But away from that Labrador. Dear Mr Fry, Can you pass these URLs along to Mr Jackson.. I hope he has not committed all of his CGI budget yet, If he could look at the work from Poland on rendering a 3d Lancaster in fantastic detail and atmosphere. please view:,262146,21.html?449804
or the CGI forum ( showing the model build progress at:
Many regards from the Antipodes

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Posted Fri Feb 25th, 2011 8:24am Post subject: The Dambusters script

Is there any news about The Dambusters? Some reports suggested that it would start filming in 2009, then 2010 and then 2011.

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Posted Tue Jun 7th, 2011 12:23pm Post subject: The Dambusters script


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Posted Fri Jun 10th, 2011 5:59pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

If you are going to change the dog's name where will you stop? Might as well make Guy Gibson and American with a B-17 with an All American crew.

Dog's name is the dogs name. Its on his grave. Now you'll get people visiting Scampton asking for to see Diggers grave and it doesn't exist.

Where does it stop? What if people don't like the name Attila the Hun are we going to change it to Attila the gentleman from Eastern Europe and beyond.

History is fact it's happened and just because we don't like the dog's name does not give us the right to alter history just to be PC.

I believe that "Nigger" was one of the code words for a dam breach so in changing the dog's name you are altering historical fact or are we now having scripts written and approved by the Ministry of Truth?

Don't do it. History is history and altering bits of it to be PC is a downward slippery slope.

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Posted Fri Jun 10th, 2011 8:10pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

Hunterda said:
If you are going to change the dog's name where will you stop? Might as well make Guy Gibson and American with a B-17 with an All American crew.

Of course, for the original film to be acceptable in America they had to splice extra scenes in with B17s.

It is *political correctness gone mad*. If you have any integrity, you will stick to history and stick *two* fingers up to anyone who complains.

Long live Nigger. Long live 617 Squadron.

Keith [first post, since compelled to sign up because of this issue]

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Posted Fri Jun 10th, 2011 11:26pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

I'm a Sqn Ldr in the RAF, have been to war twice and am very sad that our history is considered so shameful that Mr Fry feels he must rewrite it. I once spent an afternoon in the company of David Shannon, one of the raid's pilots; a humbling afternoon likely beyond the understanding of those so feeble of mind that they are offended by the word nigger when used *in context*. It isn't a trivial part of the story, it's not just a dog's name'; 'nigger' was also the code word for the breaching of the mohne. It is **the** climax of the story. I am sorry that some people are offended by the language of 70 years ago. Now dry 'em, princess and watch the film - you might learn something. Unless the idea that hundreds were killed offends someone and SF decides it will be more politically correct to deliberately miss the target altogether and just fly home for breakfast. Better not make the film at all than discredit one of my Service's finest hours.

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Phillip Rhodes


Posted Sat Jun 11th, 2011 1:25pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

Oh let's not upset the Americans and at the same time let's do give the BNP and other racist nutters ammunition and/or something to moan about. I would rather they omit the dog's name than change it.

The problem is that the dog and his name was a prominent feature of the original film, and the producers of the remake feel they have to follow suit. The dog was a pet and nothing else. He was in the background. What's wrong with "Here boy!" Instead of "Hello N*****". And the codeword used to signify the breaching of the dam was sent in morse-code.

And wasn't it Stephen Fry who kept going on about restrictive practices while pandering to the bland - having to "comply" to the mediocre in broadcasting. Well done Mr Fry - YOU'VE SOLD OUT...

And what's worse than selling out? Perhaps profiting from negative publicity that will be generated from this idiotic decision. Fry, you Numpty!!!

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Posted Sat Jun 11th, 2011 11:41pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

I'm all for telling history like it was - warts & all, besides we all know what the dog's name was by now, surely?

But since we obviously have to walk on eggshells these days for fear of causing irreparable psychological damage to namby-pamby tree-hugging PC shrinking violets, how about this as a workaround?


(Through all the build-up, the dog is referred to as 'Niggsy' - allegedly Guy Gibson's nickname for the dog - or not called by name at all; "Here Boy" or "Hello You" would probably suffice.)

Station Commander:

'The Code-word for the Möhne Dam being breached will be "Trigger", and "Dinghy" for the Eder Dam'


'What about using my dog's name Sir?'

S. Com:

'Hmmmm.... Yes, Why not?'

(Some Time Later...)

Scene: Ops room, everybody v. quiet & tense, pall of fag smoke, tea cups everywhere. Close-up of W/T officer. His expression suggests too many dried eggs, that or intense concentration)

Audio: Faint Morse code for N - I - G - G

W/T: (tears off headphones & leaps out of chair)

'It's GONE Sir!!! Look!!' (holds up transcription pad)

Cue general jubilation.



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Posted Sun Jun 12th, 2011 7:42pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

Good writing can preserve the meaning and context while modernizing, of course. When people get worried about editing it's the lazy and nonsensical type of bowdlerizing they fear, when no one on earth can make any judgment whatsoever who hasn't read the current script. Preserving the name of the dog is missing the point. What was the relevance? A code word can be changed. The argument gets weaker by the post.

If your impression of the military services are that they cannot be represented without prominently displaying racism as an overt part of the job, then you are perhaps glorifying the wrong aspect.

The modern military isn't what you remember. It has its own problems but trying to hijack the whole narrative of the military to represent some distasteful aspect of the past is a little out of touch with the real service who will be effected by the portrayal. Perpetuating the old stereotypes isn't likely to be the intended result of a modern script for this reason.

I am still surprised at the effort people will go to to accuse random famous people of things on message boards, when a boatload of other people could otherwise be having glorious conversation on topics of the present. Who flocks jubilantly out of a whole topic list of conversations to the one post about perpetuating racism - and then post there in support of bigotry? Worse, who cannot separate their own glory and identity from that racism? That's a huge burden to bare now that the world has moved on.

That's all the time I have to devote. I'm sure there's an interesting post somewhere on philosophy or life hacking. Sadly, I've used up my break time on this one. A waste of time, now that I look back.

On a related note, the only old military jokes more scathing than the bigot-laden ones are typically leveled at the bottom barrel personnel most likely to make bigoted jokes. I don't think that's a coincidence. Probably best to refrain from both kinds of accusation. In class war there is always someone higher up.

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Posted Mon Jun 13th, 2011 1:34am Post subject: The Dambusters script

I have lead such a sheltered existence that M is my first experience of a Troll: a waste of my time.
I have two thoughts: one is that any change of historical or technical fact makes me wonder what else is changed for narative joy. Appollo 13 had the whole #Swaggart has to prove himself: "Well done Jack"# and the #harse words in the LEM# which never happened, as Swaggart was an outstanding pilot who had written most of the emergency procedures for the command module. Sigh. I know: lets allow Elrond to teleport around middle earth to deliver a sword but not to distroy the ring. big SIGH.
My second point is the major: today the idea of deliberately killing factory workers is not PC, and yet Bomber Command made that decision with its saturation bombing. Barnes Wallis offered the 6 and 10 ton bombs and 617 and her sister squadrons showed sufficient accuracy could be achieved to destroy the foundations of a factory. Command's response was that they could not train sufficient crews to such accuracy and that killing workers was more effective than destroying factories. Hmm, this might be taken, wrongly, as an attack on the aircrews. This ability to target just the factory was used in France and since WW2 leading to smart munitions etc.
I would have thought this may, if the positives are displayed in the movie, show the link to modern concerns about collateral damage inaugurated by Barnes Wallis and demonstrated by 617 et al and prove a good reason to refilm an excellent story that does not need a modern version. The SEGWAY would also include the point that 617 were called the 'one mission squadron' until they started flying large bombs. Maybe this would allow for a two part movie that Jackson seems to love.
Third, last minute, point (sorry): a prayer that we dont have 'boy makes good' sub-scripts, Gibson's fiancee is dying etc. Lets hope it is just 'wow these guys are good!'

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Posted Mon Jun 13th, 2011 3:07am Post subject: The Dambusters script

The great thing about wondering the answer to something - typically there is an answer. And right now, we don't have a script, so we don't have an answer, only speculation. Speculation is all well and good, but something that goes against personal opinion should not automatically be rejected, and that is ironically what the broader concern over the use of that word, a rejecting social label, is about. Slurs and labels, especially quick ones that occur out of context, are damaging, they are an easy shock and attention value, and a good writer can portray all the subtlety and nuance and joy of a narrative in context so that exclusion language is not glorified.

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Phillip Rhodes


Posted Mon Jun 13th, 2011 11:09pm Post subject: The Dambusters script

The problem is that the original film made such a deal with the dog. People comment on the film rather than on the events at RAF Scampton in 1943. Another concern is will the producers rely on this name-change to promote the film and will it overshadow the true heroics of No.617 Squadron. I fear they will. I would suggest is that instead of changing the dog's name - they simply omit it. I'm happy with that and so will the 1% of the population who might be offended by a dog who died in 1943.

Regarding "speculation", Mr Fry has already stated that there will be a name change. Hopefully he and the producers will see sense. Don't give the dog a name, give him a bone instead.

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Posted Tue Jun 14th, 2011 4:45am Post subject: The Dambusters script

Omitting the name sounds like a reasonable compromise and of course I respect that people have strong reactions. As for production politics, sure, and it all depends on how the final credits roll.

Oh, dearest Ian, darling, I'm honored to have been your first time. That's so sweet. And of course I still respect you. Always. xo

Phillip, you sound incredibly reasonable and spot on. Excellent and dashing way to introduce a civil dialog on a girl in trouble. Gosh. It's almost like the entire tiff was a gale force practically engineered for a proper rescuing.

So did I rescue you, or did you rescue me?

More importantly, did I get a new pony?

We could share.

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