Dad’s Army (BBC Sitcom, Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier)



Seemingly more popular than ever thanks to frequent re-runs Dad’s Army is a period sitcom about the exploits of an ageing home guard platoon during the second world war. In the town of Walmington-On-Sea, a South Coast seaside town, bank manager Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) finds himself in charge of a less than able bunch. His second in command was the very upper class Sgt Wilson (John Le Mesurier) (Mainwaring’s number 2 at the bank), Wilson was having some kind of affair with the mum of Private Frank Pike (Ian Lavender) (decidedly innocent he called Wilson Uncle Arthur).

Also in the platoon was gung-ho butcher Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn), dour Scots undertaker Private Frazer (John Laurie), retired Godfrey (Arnold Ridley) who was always having trouble with his waterworks and black market spiv Private Walker (James Beck). Other non-army regulars included air raid warden Hodges (Frank Pertwee), the put upon Vicar (Frank Williams) and his jobsworth Verger (the Platoon used the Church Hall as its headquarters), Frank’s Mum Mrs Pike (Janet Davies) and the amorous Mrs Fox (Pamnela Cundell) (who later ended up marrying Jonesy). Often heard of but never seen (except once as a shapeless form in an air raid shelter bed) was Mainwaring’s wife.

Boasting a fantastic original but period style theme tune sung by Bud Flanagan the show also had a number of catchphrases including “don’t panic”, “they don’t like it up em” (both by Jones), “stupid boy Pike” by Mainwaring and “put that light out” by Hodges.

The cast made three appearance in character as part of Christmas Night With the Stars-1968, 1970 & 1972. There was a feature film version released in 1971. There was also a radio sequel called It Sticks Out a Mile on Radio 2 in 1983, this followed Wilson, Pike and Hodges as they ran a pier. Probably British Televisions most loved sitcom. Two episodes from the second season that were missing believed lost were re-discovered (following the BBC’s Treasure Hunt appeal campaign for the return of missing archive material) and shown on BBC2 on 28/12/2001 for the first time in over 30 years as part of a Dad’s Army night. “Operation Kilt” and “The Battle For Godfrey’s Cottage”. They had been in someone’s shed all this time after they were randomly rescued from a skip in the 1970s when the BBC was disposing of its “unwanted” material.

Cast: ARTHUR LOWE as Capt George Mainwaring; JOHN LE MESURIER as Sgt Arthur Wilson; CLIVE DUNN as L/Cpl Jack Jones; JOHN LAURIE as Pte James Frazer; JAMES BECK as Pte Joe Walker; IAN LAVENDER as Pte Frank Pike; ARNOLD RIDLEY as Pte Charles Godfrey; BILL PERTWEE as Chief ARP Warden Hodges; FRANK WILLIAMS as The Vicar; JANET DAVIES as Mrs Mavis Pike; TALFRYN THOMAS as Mr Cheeseman; PAMELA CUNDELL as Mrs Mildred Fox; COLIN BEAN as Pte Sponge

Writers: Jimmy Perry, David Croft / Theme Music sung by Bud Flanagan / Producer: David Croft

UK / BBC One / 77×30 minute episodes 1×35 minute episodes 1×40 minute episodes 1×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 31 July 1968 13 November 1977 (Seasons one and two were made in black and white)

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