Connect with us

Features

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum – The boys to entertain you!

Published

on


What was it all about?
A Jimmy Perry and DavidCroft sit-com charting the escapades of a Royal Artillery Concert Party based in India during the Second World War. Unfortunately these days the whole concept is sadly considered a bit un-pc and reruns are increasingly rare.

How long was it on?
It ran for 8 seasons from 1974-1981

Who was it about?
Although it was very much an ensemble piece, the undoubted star was Battery Sergeant Major Williams, a Welsh disciplinarian who, moustache bristling, barked orders at the bunch of misfits under his command. He saw himself as a leader of men, unfortunately it wasn’t always immediately obvious that it was men under his command – after all Gunner Beaumont took an unhealthy pleasure in dressing up on stage as a Hollywood starlet called Gloria and the refined pianist Gunner Graham (or ‘lah di dah Gunner Graham’ as Williams referred to him) was better suited to a tea dance than jungle warfare.

Nor did Williams find much support from his superior officers — the permanently perplexed Colonel Reynolds and his jackass second-in-command Captain Ashwood.

The only one to escape Williams’ scorn was the intellectually challenged Gunner Parkins whom the BSM believed to be his illegitimate son. Whereas the rest were vilified, Parkins was always his ‘lovely boy’.

Other characters were the anglophile Indian servant Rangi Ram, Wallahs Muhammed and Rumzan, Gunners Evans, Clark and Mackintosh, Bombardier Solomons (for series one and two) and the cook Ah Syn.

Who were the star turns?
Windsor Davies played BSM Williams with Melvyn Hayes as Gunner Beaumont, John Clegg as Gunner Graham, Don Estelle as Gunner Sugden, Donald Hewlett as Colonel Reynolds, Michael Knowles as Captain Ashwood, Christopher Mitchell as Gunner Parkins, Michael Bates as Rangi Ram (until Bates’ death in 1978), Dino Shafeek as Char-Wallah Muhammed and Babar Bhatti as Punka-Wallah Rumzan.

Mike Kinsey played Gunner Evans with Kenneth MacDonald as Gunner Clark, Stuart McGugan as Gunner Mackintosh, George Layton as Bombardier Solomons and Andy Ho as Ah Syn.

How did it come about?
Having utilised his experiences in the Home Guard for ‘Dad’s Army’, Jimmy Perry turned to another area of his war effort for ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’. In 1945 Perry had been a member of a Royal Artillery Concert Party in Deolali, India. Many of the troupe were represented on screen although Perry was at pains to point out that his real Battery Sergeant Major was twice as mean as BSM Williams.

it-aint-half-hot-mum-3

Who watched it?
Nearly 14 million in its prime.

Any complaints?
The decision to get a white actor, Michael Bates, to black up as Rangi Ram provoked mutterings of discontent from those who thought the part should have been given to an Indian actor.

Bates replied that he was born in Janshi, India, spoke Hindustani before he learned English and that the two genuinely brown faces in the cast actually belonged to a Pakistani and a Bangladeshi. Therefore, he reasoned, he was the only true Indian in the production.

Whilst the fuss eventually died down, the politically incorrect nature of ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ has been cited as one of the reasons why it has not been repeated as frequently as other Croft originals like ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ”Allo ‘Allo!’

Was it really filmed in the jungle?
Not unless you count Norfolk as the heart of the tropics. Fake palm trees and a polystyrene crocodile were imported to East Anglia to create that ‘authentic jungle look’. Far from being hot, the actors shivered with glycerine ‘sweat’ on their foreheads. And it got even colder when vast quantities of dry ice were dipped in tubs of mud and stirred vigorously to conjure up the mist of the swamps.

Desert scenes were shot at a sandpit on the Sussex coast.

Any catchphrases?
‘Lovely boy’.

Don Estelle and Windsor Davies on Top of the Pops 1975

“Sing, Lofty, sing.”

Any spin-offs?
Windsor Davies and Don Estelle (an accomplished singer) formed an unlikely double act and hit number one in June 1975 with their version of ‘Whispering Grass’. But their follow-up single, ‘Paper Doll’, only reached number 41 in the autumn. A nation mourned.

Any distant cousins? 
‘The Army Game’, ‘Dad’s Army’.

and this just in

Walter Presents Helsinki Crimes Premieres 17 February on All 4 Walter Presents Helsinki Crimes Premieres 17 February on All 4
News2 hours ago

Walter Presents: “Helsinki Crimes” Premieres 17 February on All 4

In upcoming Walter Presents series “Helsinki Crimes” a pair of cops, Timo Harjunpää (Ollie Rahkonen) and Onerva Nykanen (Olga Temonen),...

News2 hours ago

February 2023 Highlights for US Streamer “Acorn TV”

A tough Irish crime thriller, a romantic comedy drama from New Zealand and more from Madame Blanc are amongst the...

Channel 5 Send Alexander Armstrong to Sri Lanka For New Travelogue Series Channel 5 Send Alexander Armstrong to Sri Lanka For New Travelogue Series
News2 hours ago

Channel 5 Send Alexander Armstrong to “Sri Lanka” For New Travelogue Series

After last year’s series, “Alexander Armstrong in South Korea,” Channel 5 are sending the actor/author/game show host back on the road, this...

Joel Dommett ITV Game Show In With A Show Given Full Series Joel Dommett ITV Game Show In With A Show Given Full Series
News3 hours ago

Joel Dommett ITV Game Show “In With A Shout” Given Full Series Order

After a successful pilot was recorded late last year ITV have given the go ahead to a full series for...

SAS Who Dares Wins – Jungle Hell – Interview with Hilary (Hils) SAS Who Dares Wins – Jungle Hell – Interview with Hilary (Hils)
Interviews3 hours ago

SAS: Who Dares Wins – Jungle Hell – Interview with Hilary (Hils)

SAS: Who Dares Wins returned to Channel 4 on Monday 23 January and this time the recruits are going to...

Sam Neill's Australian Drama The Twelve Premieres on ITVX on 16 February Sam Neill's Australian Drama The Twelve Premieres on ITVX on 16 February
News3 hours ago

Sam Neill’s Australian Drama “The Twelve” Premieres on ITVX on 16 February

ITVX has announced that Sam Neill starring drama The Twelve, an original series from FOXTEL, will premiere exclusively on the...

News3 hours ago

Ross Kemp Drama “Blindspot” Now Filming For Channel 5

After a sustained spell away from acting Ross Kemp has signed on for the lead role in four part Channel...

Australian Drama Bali 2002 Premieres on ITVX This March Australian Drama Bali 2002 Premieres on ITVX This March
News4 hours ago

Australian Drama “Bali 2002” Premieres on ITVX This March

ITVX have confirmed that four part Australian drama “Bali 2002” will have an exclusive streaming home on ITVX. The drama...

EPISODES

Sunshine Cruising with Jane McDonald Sunshine Cruising with Jane McDonald
Episodes5 hours ago

Sunshine Cruising with Jane McDonald “MSC Divina” (Channel 5 Sunday 29 January 2023)

Sunshine Cruising with Jane McDonald airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on Channel 5. “MSC Divina” The...

Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy
Episodes5 hours ago

Inside The McVitie’s Biscuit Factory (Channel 5 Sunday 29 January 2023)

Inside The McVitie’s Biscuit Factory airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on Channel 5. The McVitie’s factory...

Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy
Episodes5 hours ago

Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy (Channel 5 Sunday 29 January 2023)

Jeremy Clarkson: King of Controversy airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on Channel 5. For 30 years,...

Spector Spector
Episodes5 hours ago

Spector “How Will You Remember Me” (Sky Documentaries Sunday 29 January 2023)

Spector airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on Sky Documentaries. “How Will You Remember Me” The trial...

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh
Episodes5 hours ago

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh “Anita Dobson, Ainsley Harriott, David Domoney” (ITV Sunday 29 January 2023)

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on ITV. “Anita Dobson, Ainsley...

His Dark Materials His Dark Materials
Episodes5 hours ago

His Dark Materials “The Clouded Mountain” (BBC One Sunday 29 January 2023)

His Dark Materials airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on BBC One. “The Clouded Mountain” Mrs. Coulter,...

Digging for Britain Digging for Britain
Episodes5 hours ago

Digging for Britain “Mystery Shipwreck and a Roman Army Camp” (BBC Two Sunday 29 January 2023)

Digging for Britain airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on BBC Two. “Mystery Shipwreck and a Roman...

Ryan Tricks on the Streets Ryan Tricks on the Streets
Episodes5 hours ago

Ryan Tricks on the Streets “Gift for Helping the Homeless” (BBC Three Sunday 29 January 2023)

Ryan Tricks on the Streets airs a new episode tonight Sunday 29 January 2023 on BBC Three. “Gift for Helping...