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Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

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Dad's Army - BBC sitcom

mheredgemheredge TeacherHere and therePosts: 31,101 mod
Dad's Army is a funny BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War that was first aired between 1968 and 1977 but had been repeated the world over ever since.

In 2004, was voted fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom, in was 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000.

Some critics condemned it for its artistic license but at the same time, it recognised an otherwise forgotten era and aspect of Britain during the Second World War.

The show's theme tune, "Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?"

Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think We're On The Run?
We Are The Boys Who Will Stop Your Little Game
We Are The Boys Who Will Make You Think Again
'Cause Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think Old England's Done?

Mr Brown Goes Off To Town
On The Eight Twenty-One
But He Comes Home Each Evening
And He's Ready With His Gun

(So Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think Old England's Done?)

So Watch Out Mr Hitler
You Have Met Your Match In Us
If You Think You Can Crush Us
We're Afraid You've Missed The Bus
'Cause Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think Old England's Done?

Left to right (top): Walker, Godfrey, Pike
Left to right (bottom): Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson, Corporal Jones, Fraser


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    edited June 2017
    Dad's Army is a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977. The sitcom ran for 9 series and 80 episodes in total, plus a radio version based on the television scripts, a feature film and a stage show. The series regularly gained audiences of 18 million viewers and is still repeated worldwide.

    The Home Guard consisted of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, either because of age (hence the nickname "Dad's Army") or by being in professions exempt from conscription. Dad's Army deals almost exclusively with over age men and featured older British actors, including Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Arnold Ridley and John Laurie. Younger members in the cast included Ian Lavender, Clive Dunn (who played the oldest guardsman, Lance Corporal Jones, despite Dunn being one of the youngest cast members), Frank Williams, James Beck, (who died suddenly during production of the programme's sixth series in 1973) and Bill Pertwee.

    In 2004, Dad's Army was voted fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. It had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals. The series influenced British popular culture with catchphrases and characters being well known. It highlighted a forgotten aspect of defence during the Second World War, although it greatly distorted the true history and function of the Home Guard. The Radio Times magazine listed Captain Mainwaring's "You stupid boy!" among the 25 greatest put-downs on TV. A new feature film of Dad's Army with a different cast was released in 2016.

    Originally intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad's Army was based partly on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry's experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV, later known as the Home Guard). Perry was only 17 years old when he joined the 10th Hertfordshire Battalion. His mother did not like him being out at night and feared he might catch cold; he partly resembled the character of Private Pike. An elderly lance corporal in the outfit often referred to fighting under Kitchener against the "Fuzzy Wuzzies" (Hadendoa) and was the model for Corporal Jones. Other influences included the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter! featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike. Another influence was the Lancastrian comedian Robb Wilton, who portrayed a work-shy husband who joined the Home Guard in numerous comic sketches during WW2.

    Perry wrote the first script and gave it to David Croft while working as a minor actor in the Croft-produced sitcom ‘Hugh and I’, originally intending the role of the spiv, later called Walker, to be his own. Croft was impressed and sent the script to Michael Mills, the BBC's Head of Comedy and the series was commissioned. In his book ‘Dad's Army’, Graham McCann explained that the show owes much to Michael Mills. It was he who renamed the show Dad's Army. He did not like Brightsea-on-Sea so the location was changed to Walmington-on-Sea. He was happy with the names for the characters Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike but not with other names and he made suggestions: Private Jim Duck became Frazer, Joe Fish became Joe Walker and Jim Jones became Jack Jones. He also suggested adding a Scot. Jimmy Perry had produced the original idea but needed an experienced man to see it through. Mills suggested David Croft and so their partnership began.

    When an episode was shown to members of the public, to gauge audience reaction prior to broadcast of the first series, the majority of the audience thought it was very poor. The production team put the report containing the negative comments at the bottom of David Croft's in-tray. He only saw it several months later, after the series had been broadcast and had received great acclamation.

    The show is set in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, on the south coast of England. The exterior scenes were mostly filmed in and around the Stanford Training Area [STANTA], near Thetford, Norfolk. The local Home Guard platoon would be on the front line in the event of an invasion across the English Channel. The first series has a loose narrative thread, with Captain Mainwaring's platoon being formed and equipped—initially with wooden guns and LDV armbands and later on with full army uniforms; the platoon is part of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.

    The first episode, "The Man and the Hour", begins with a scene set in the "present day" of 1968, in which Mainwaring addresses his old platoon as part of the contemporary 'I'm Backing Britain' campaign. The prologue opening was a condition imposed after initial concerns of Paul Fox, the controller of BBC 1, that it was belittling the efforts of the Home Guard. After Mainwaring relates how he had backed Britain in 1940, the episode proper begins; Dad’s Army is thus told in flashback, although the final episode does not return to 1968. Later episodes are largely self-contained, albeit referring to previous events and with additional character development.

    As the comedy in many ways relies on the platoon's lack of participation in the Second World War, opposition to their activities has to come from another quarter and this is generally provided by Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden Hodges and sometimes by the verger of the local church (St Aldhelm's) or by Captain Square and the neighbouring Eastgate Home Guard platoon. The group does have some encounters related to the enemy, such as downed German planes, a U-boat crew, parachutes that may have been German and German mines; an IRA suspect appears in "Absent Friends".

    The humour ranges from the subtle (especially in the class-reversed relationship between Mainwaring, the local bank manager and Wilson, his deputy at the bank) to the slapstick (the antics of the elderly Jones being a prime example). Jones had several catchphrases, including "Don't panic!", "They don't like it up 'em", "Permission to speak, sir" and talk about the "Fuzzy-Wuzzies". Mainwaring says "You stupid boy" to Pike in many episodes.

    The first series occasionally includes darker humour, reflecting that, especially early in the war, the Home Guard was woefully under-equipped but was still willing to have a crack at the Wehrmacht. For instance, in the episode "The Battle of Godfrey’s Cottage", the platoon believes an enemy invasion is under way. Mainwaring, Godfrey, Frazer and Jones (along with Godfrey's sisters, who are completely unaware of the invasion) decide to stay at the cottage to delay any German advance, to allow the regular army time to arrive with reinforcements; "It'll probably be the end of us, but we're ready for that, aren't we, men?", says Mainwaring. "Of course", replies Frazer.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    edited June 2017

    The show's main characters were: Captain Mainwaring (/ˈmænərɪŋ/) (Arthur Lowe), the pompous, if essentially brave and unerringly patriotic local bank manager, Mainwaring appointed himself leader of his town's contingent of Local Defence Volunteers. He had been a lieutenant in the First World War, but is embarrassed by the fact that he never saw combat, being sent to France after the Armistice and then part of the Army of Occupation in Germany.

    Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier), a diffident, upper-class Chief Bank Clerk who would quietly question Mainwaring's judgement ("Do you think that's wise, Sir?"). Wilson actually had served as a Captain in the First World War, but he does not admit that until the end of the series. He lodges with the Pike family and is implied to be in a relationship with the widowed Mrs Pike (and sometimes hinted to be Private Pike's biological father) although this is never explicitly stated.

    Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn), the local butcher, born in 1870. Jones was an old campaigner who had enlisted as a drummer boy at age 14 and participated, as a boy soldier, in the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884–85 and, as a man soldier, in Kitchener's campaign in the Sudan in 1896–98. Dunn was considerably younger than his character, being only 48 at the start of filming. This allowed him to take part in some of the more physical comedy of the show.

    Private Frazer (John Laurie), a dour Scottish undertaker and a former Chief Petty Officer on HMS Defiant in the Royal Navy. He served at the Battle of Jutland as a ship's cook and also has a medal for having served on Shackleton's Antarctic expedition.

    Private Walker (James Beck), a black market Cockney spiv, Walker was the only fit, able-bodied man of military age in Walmington-on-Sea's Home Guard. He was discharged from the regular armed forces because of an allergy to corned beef.

    Private Godfrey (Arnold Ridley), a retired shop assistant, who had worked at the Army & Navy Store in London. He lives in Walmington with his elderly sisters and serves as the platoon's medical orderly. He often gets "caught short" and needs to "be excused". A conscientious objector during the First World War, he was nevertheless awarded the Military Medal for heroic actions as a combat medic. He also demonstrated bravery during his Home Guard service particularly during an episode where Mainwaring, seemingly unconscious in a smoke filled room, is rescued by Godfrey.

    Private Pike (Ian Lavender), the youngest of the platoon, a cosseted mother's boy, constantly wearing a thick scarf with his uniform to prevent illness and often the target of Mainwaring's derision ("You stupid boy!"). He works for Mainwaring in his day job as an assistant bank clerk.
    Supporting characters included:

    ARP Chief Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee), the platoon's major rival and nemesis. Mainwaring looks down on him as the local greengrocer. As an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden, he is always demanding that people "put that light out".

    The Reverend Timothy Farthing (Frank Williams), the effete, huffy vicar of St. Aldhelm's Church. He reluctantly shares his church hall and office with Mainwaring's platoon.

    Maurice Yeatman (Edward Sinclair), the verger at St Aldhelm's Church and Scoutmaster of the local Sea Scout troop. He is often hostile to the platoon while frequently sycophantic to the vicar, who often struggles to tolerate him.

    Mrs Pike (Janet Davies), Pike's overbearing widowed mother and Sergeant Wilson's lover. She and Wilson have been in a relationship for more than seventeen years and Walmington is rife with gossip about them. Wilson actually asks her to marry him in one episode, but that is conveniently forgotten for the rest of the series.

    Mrs Fox (Pamela Cundell), a glamorous widow. Having lost her husband early in the war, there is a mutual attraction with Corporal Jones and the couple marry in the last episode. Illicit little 'extras' are passed across the counter on her regular visits to Jones' butchers shop and she helps the platoon with official functions. In the episode "Mum's Army", she gives her Christian name as Marcia, but by the final episode she has become Mildred.

    Private Sponge (Colin Bean), a sheep farmer. He led the members of the platoon's second section (as opposed to Corporal Jones' first section) and thus had only occasional speaking parts, although his character became more prominent in later series. He appeared in 76 of the 80 episodes.[12]

    Private Cheeseman (Talfryn Thomas), a Welshman who works for the town newspaper. He joined the Walmington-on-Sea platoon during the seventh series after the sudden death of James Beck, who played Private Walker.

    Captain Square (Geoffrey Lumsden), the pompous commanding officer of the rival Eastgate Platoon. He is frequently at loggerheads with Mainwaring (whose name he persists in mispronouncing as spelt, "Mane-wearing", instead of the correct "Mannering") and has the catchphrase, "You blithering idiot!"

    Elizabeth Mainwaring (Unseen character), Mainwaring's reclusive, paranoid and domineering wife who is never seen on-screen. Her marriage with Mainwaring is not a happy one and Mainwaring does his best to avoid her at any given opportunity. The marriage is childless.

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    @markov, @nidhii, @dope, @Nippur, (@mohit_singh) you might want to read on about the characters.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 6,729 mod
    This is a very funny show, and despite the age of it, I know that a lot of people still enjoy it today. My father likes watching repeats of this show all the time and although I don't like to watch it as often as he does, I definitely enjoy it!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    I'm wondering if I should try to watch the earliest series as I can't remember whether I have seen these @GemmaRowlands (or at least not when they came out).
  • jackelliotjackelliot Posts: 822 OTT
    Clive Dunn

    when I watched this program as a child

    I realised that he was not as old as what he pretended to be

    I did not like his character and thought it treated me as a fool


    still find it difficult to watch despite all the other brilliant actors
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    That's part of his character but I agree, I used to find him annoying @jackelliot and not likeable. I used to like Wilson best.
  • jackelliotjackelliot Posts: 822 OTT
    Wilson was one of mine and the dour Scottishman .... brilliant

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    Fraserburgh was great too wasn't he @jackelliot? Godfrey too, with his old maid sisters.
  • jackelliotjackelliot Posts: 822 OTT
    If only they would have killed clive off then I would have happily watched them again and again

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    He was there to irritate @jackelliot. I found him a very credible character.
  • jackelliotjackelliot Posts: 822 OTT
    @mheredge you are right

    I hated the song that he had

    everbody loved it and got To one
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 6,729 mod
    mheredge said:

    I'm wondering if I should try to watch the earliest series as I can't remember whether I have seen these @GemmaRowlands (or at least not when they came out).

    I think it is always good to watch right from the beginning, as it lets you learn much more about all of the characters, and gives you a better idea of the story.
  • jackelliotjackelliot Posts: 822 OTT
    @GemmaRowlands yes but during childhood it was seen in bursts
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,101 mod
    Sometimes the characters change too. Hopefully watching a series and not having seen previous series should not not be crucial to the understanding of the following series. However nowadays it is very easy to catch up on almost everything. Long gone are the days when whole series of TV programmes were lost, like in the 1960s and 70s.
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