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I was a youngster during WW II living in America but I was made well
aware of the courage and resolve of the British people. Dad's Army, in
addition to being the best comedy show ever, shows us this courage.
Unlike so many sit coms, it is not mean or vicious but is gentle yet
over the top funny. Despite their bumbling and odd approach to things,
their love of country, their braveness, and their willingness to die
for England if they have to, always shows through.
I own over 50 episodes on either VHS or DVD and am constantly searching for the ones I do not have. In addition I have both volumes of the complete scripts. I never get tired of watching or reading them. I can't watch the final episode (Never Too Old wherein Jonesy gets married and they drink a toast to the Home Guard every where)without feeling some tears welling up in my eyes. In fact, I'm starting to choke up a bit right now just thinking about it.
I have acquaintances (notice I don't say friends) who have watched it with me and just don't get it. They prefer the smart Alex stuff which passes for humor today. I do feel sorry for them.
Dad's Army is the best comedy ever written. It follows the Walmington-On-Sea
Home Guard (part time soldiers) during the course of WW2. The platoon is led
by the pompous Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), and the public school
educated Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier). Third in command is the
decorated veteran Lance-Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn). Also in the platoon are
a Cockney black-market dealing Private Walker (James Beck), a Scottish
ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer turned Undertaker named Fraser (John
Laurie), a medic with bladder trouble named Godfrey (Arnold Ridley) and a
mummy's boy named Pike (Ian Lavender).
The platoon frequently gets into various types of trouble, and this usually
leads to a clash with the Chief ARP Warden Hodges (Bill
The plots and scripts for all of the episodes are superb, and like a fine wine, the series gets better with age!.
An especially funny exchange was in the episode 'The Deadly Attachment' where the platoon are ordered to look after a U-Boat crew for the night. This exchange was recently voted the funniest moment ever in a comedy series!
If you don't watch this brilliant series, make sure you see it soon, and if you don't find it funny, you will never laugh at anything!
To say that I love this show is an understatement. Comedies may come and go
and have their moment, such as Royle Family or One Foot in the Grave, but
there are precious few thats allure and appeal are timeless. Dad's Army is
one such comedy.
A mix of subtle scripting, with gentle humour and a cast that is unsurpassed in sitcom history makes even the odd mediocre episode a pure joy to watch.
The casting is a joy with the characters so broadly defined and so well rounded the episodes almost write themselves around the situation that the individual episode is based on.
Also ponder for a moment the irony of the fact that Dads Army became hugely popular after the death of the majority of the cast.
An all time classic.
Capt. Mainwaring would frequently utter the above phrase, and then
immediately do something much more stupid than young Private Pike could
accomplish. This is one of the reasons why this colorful program is one
my favorites (pardon my American English spelling).
The scripts are good, but what really make this show brilliant are the great characters and the wonderful actors. It must have been very difficult to get elderly actors to do zany slapstick comedy, but the directors managed to do it beautifully.
The contrast of young and old, and middle class and working class people in perpetual conflict is really great fun to watch. More egos are deflated in this series than ever before, and with hilarious results.
Instead of watching the horrible news accounts of the Iraq War, watch a video tape of Dad's Army. This a very funny remembrance of a much better era.
When I first saw "Dad's Army" on BBC Prime I thought that this is
really corny one and since it was going on and on with only few laughs
I gave up. Then after few weeks when I put BBC Prime again it was
"Dad's Army" again, same episodes and again it wasn't as funny as other
British comedy series, so again I gave up.
But lately I've seen the whole series from the beginning (since black & white episodes) and this time it all finally began to make sense. Finally I've seen the light and what kind of approach you need to like this series - usually it isn't LOL-funny, but with more subtle kind of humor. After seeing the whole series even the episodes I've seen before and didn't like make sense and I know what was funny about it.
Now I can say that "Dad's Army" is really great series with wonderful ideas, great cast and leaves something within you - now when I watch some films with people in uniforms I usually expect to hear "do you think it's wise", "stupid boy", "they don't like up them" or "permission to worry you, sir".
A really "must see" kind of TV history!
Dad's Army is my favourite TV programme of all time. It is just a work of genius. Jimmy Perry & David Croft really knew how to write a good script. Like Perry said the cast was right, the time was right, the script was right, the tunes were right and the whole situation was right which was what made Dad's Army a miracle. All the gags, jokes, tunes and atmosphere's are all hilarious, jolly and wonderful. It's why Dad's Army has always and will be one of the most popular programmes in TV history. Set in World War II of course it shows you the hilarities of pompous kind-hearted bank manager Captain Mainweering (Arthur Lowe), charming upper-class twit cheif bank clerk Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier), kind old fool and long time soldier now butcher Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) and many other hilarious characters. With these men of course operating the Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard disasters can of course happen even if at the end of the day it turns out the the platoon is needed to pick up the pieces. The men themselves give the war a brighter atmosphere. With the platoon having the most bizarre members like Private Frazer (John Laurie) being an undertakes, Private Walker (James Beck) being a spinster, Private Godfrey (Arnold Ridley) being a retired old aged pensioner and Private Pike (Ian Lavender) being a complete pansy and mummy's boy. Also with the gay and meaning well Rev. Timothy Farthing, the sneaky Verger and the platoons arch enemy Warden & Greencrocer & common git Bill Hodges (Bill Pertwee). Even though situations that the men get into may be a bit bizarre they always come out the other end feeling victorius. And why shouldn't they having proved to the whole town that they are not just a bunch of pomous, twitish, foolish, dirty and some other stuff. My favourite episode of Dads Army has "The Deadly Attachment". Reason is that it has the men coming face to face with the Germans and seeing the hilarities of getting out of it. Also other episodes like "Time On My Hands", "Keep Young And Beautiful" and "No Spring For Frazer" I still find really hilarious and stimulating. The show will undoubtedly go on forever being known as the programme that changed the face of television forever.
Dad's Army has been repeated on the BBC many many times over the last 30 odd
years, and its easy to understand why.
The scripts were rich, simple, entertaining, inoffensive, gentle & above all, very very funny. Veteran writers, David Croft & Jimmy Perry, excelled themselves with this show, that lasted nearly 10 years from 1968 to 1977.
Of course, having a good script is all very well, but you need quality actors to make those scripts come to life. Step forward, then, a host of relative unknowns, thespians and bit-part actors.
Arthur Lowe (blunderbus,Captain Mainwaring), probably takes most plaudits and was certainly a very good versatile actor. It was felt back in the early days of Dad's Army (DA), that the sitcom was perhaps a little below his considerable acting talents. But like all good actors, he stuck with it through the first hesitant series and was rewarded with major audience ratings which would invariably lead to more and more episodes coupled with an appreciative following and critical acclaim that would bring its own rich rewards.
John Le Mesurier (the softly spoken Sgt Wilson), another experienced film and theatre actor with almost 100 films in his CV prior to taking on the part of kindly Sgt Wilson - very much everyone's favourite "uncle" figure.
Clive Dunn (Corporal Jones), surprised us all by looking considerably older for his part as local butcher, veteran WW1 soldier, Jones. He was only in his late 50s when he took on the part of a soldier who looked well into his 70s. But for all that he was perhaps the funniest and most endearing character of them off, especially when he went off on one his "Don't Panic" attacks, telling everyone to calm down, when in actual fact there was nothing at all to worry about!
John Laurie (the Scottish undertaker, Fraizer), had a very distinguished theatre career coupled with some major films parts during the early part of his career in the 30s and 40s. Again, like Lowe, it was felt Laurie had too much quality to be seeing doing something as apparently "lowly" as a sitcom. It was even rumoured that during the first couple of series he criticised the scripts and some of the actors around him for being "amateur". Although by Series 3, and a consistant 16 million TV fanbase, coupled with a better salary, Laurie soon changed his mind and genuinely began to immerse himself in the part.
Ian Lavender ("Stupid Boy", Private Pike). It was a very shrewd idea by Croft & Perry, to include a very young soldier into the mostly elderly Home Guard. Pike was very much the "Mother's Boy", a soldier equiped with a rifle, a bannet and a wooly scarf knitted by his mom and wrapped tightly round his neck to keep out the cold. Lavender, was perfect for the part. It wouldn't be far from the truth if the majority of the female TV audience of DA were mothers, grannies and aunts simply begging to look after this young, innocent young man fighting to protect his home and country alongside a bunch of pensioners. Of course his Captain, Manwaring, wasn't quite so sympathetic, and would often call him a "Stupid Boy" for behaving like a reckless teenager weened on too many comics.
Then of course there are the support actors such as the Cockney spiv, Private Walker (James Beck), the soppy vicar (Frank Williams) and the antagonistic ARP Warden (Bill Pertwee), who clashed with Manwaring and his rabble of pensioners throughout the lifetime of DA, often resorting to calling the Captain, Napoleon for his arrogant and amateurish behaviour.
There were many excellent episodes throughout the history of DA and many many more "very good" ones. Only rarely was there a poor episode, and these seemed to crop up during the last couple of years of the show, when one or two of the actors such as James Beck had died, leaving huge gaps that were never really successfully filled.
By today's standard the sfx and stunts, such as they were, were often very poor & obvious, but this was downside never really handicapped the show. Today's audience is far more sophisticated in its viewing habits than those of 20 or 30 years ago. But what is consistent through the decades is the quality of the stories and its endearing appeal that can only mean Dad's Army will be continually repeated throughout the decades as a piece of warm & friendly humour during the dark months and years of WW2.
WARNING: This review contains spoliers
"Dad's Army" has got to be my favourite comedy series of all time.
It is about the adventures of a Home Guard platoon on the South Coast of England during World War II. Pompous bank manager Mr Mainwaring [Arthur Lowe] is Captain of the platoon. He is assited by his chief clerk Arthur Wilson [John Le Mesurier] who is the Home Guard sergeant.
The other main characters who formed the platoon were 70 year old devoted solidier Lance-Corporal Jack Jones [Clive Dunn] who fought in the Sudan under the command of General Kitchener during the 1880s, James Frazer [John Laurie], a doom-and-gloomy old Scotsman who runs an undertakers in Walmington-on-Sea [the town where the series is situated], who was formerly a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy [my favourite character], retired Menswear salesman Charles Godfrey [Arnold Ridley], the platoon's medical orderly who lived in a country cottage with his sisters [Dolly and Cissy], Cockney "spiv" Joe Walker [James Beck] who was usually seen with various lady friends and was well-known for being able to obtain rationed goods for people [if they paid him for them] and finally, Frank Pike [Ian Lavender], the youngest member of the platoon who was very much a "mummy's boy" and usually made a mess of things, Mainwaring was often heard to describe him as a "stupid boy".
Another regular character was the Chief Air Raid Warden, Mr Hodges [Bill Pertwee], who expressed a severe dislike for Mainwaring and his men, due to the fact that they often curtailed his plans. He referred to Mainwaring as "Napoleon" and the two soon developed an instant dislike for each other, doing more fighting among themselves rather than with the Germans [!]. There was also other regulars including Mrs Pike [Janet Davies], Pike's mother and Wilson's girlfriend, Wilson being Pike's Uncle Arthur. Mrs Fox [Pamela Cundell], a resident of the town who had a long-running relationship with Jones, before the two eventually married in the final episode and OAP Mr Blewitt [Harold Bennett] was also seen many times.
Many guest stars were also seen in the programme including Barbara Windsor ["EastEnders" as a theatre star], Nigel Hawthorne ["Yes Minister" as a man on a bike], Wendy Richard ["EastEnders" as Walker's girlfriend], Carmen Silvera ["Allo Allo" as Mainwaring's lady friend], Geoffrey Hughes ["Coronation Street" as a bridge controller], Phillip Madoc [a German Captain], Peter Butterworth ["Carry On" films as a printer] and Fulton MacKay ["Porridge" as a doctor].
This has to be the best British comedy series of all time and if it doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will.
10 out of 10!
Dad's Army is still played again and again, and it's easy to see why.
Dad's Army created some of the most memorable characters on British
television. The hilarity is still there. Even after seeing a lot of
episodes 7 or 8 times over, I still laugh. That is a hard thing to
achieve in comedy. Jimmy Perry and David Croft came up with something
that surpassed anything created before and after. The central core
actors executed their parts PERFECTLY. I still can't picture anyone
than Arthur Lowe being the pompous captain, or Le Mesurier as the
polite Sgt. This is the type of series where, when asked to pick your
favorite character, you just can't. And that's because every character
is very different from its fellow characters. There's Corporal Jones,
the hilariously "wooly minded" butcher. And Private Walker, the spiv
who would sell his own grandmother. Sadly James Beck died, and no
matter how hard the writers tried, they couldn't replace him. There's
Private Pike, the mommy's boy, who is constantly having the famous "You
stupid Boy!" line directed his way. Then there's Frazer, the frugal
Scottish mortician. And Godfrey, the gentleman, and the one who always
needs to be excused. Then the afore mentioned Capt. Mainwaring, and
Srgt. Wilson. The ARP Warden Hodges, the uncouth green grocer, who has
a fierce feud with Capt. Mainwaring. The Vicar and the Verger, the
troublemaker, and Mrs. Pike.
Even the more minor characters in this epic comedy are just so well done. It is a comic story set in the small seaside town of Walmington-On-Sea which is doing its bit to fight off the boche.
Dad's Army highlights a golden age for British Comedy. It's famous lines such as "Don't Panic!", have pervaded other areas of T.V. and culture. Dad's Army will keep marching on and on....
I've seen lots of episodes of Dad's Army and it has to be the best
comedy series of all time, even though I wasn't born when it started
and too young to remember it when it finished.
It is about the Home Guard of the fictional Southern coastal town of Walmington-on-Sea and what they got up to, often falling out with Warden Hodges.
The cast: Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring, John Le Mesurier as Seargent Wilson, Clive Dunn as Corperal Jones ("Don't Panic"), Ian Lavender as Pike (Stupid Boy), John Laurie as Frasor ("Doomed"), Arnold Ridley as Godfrey, James Beck as Walker, Bill Pertwee as Warden Hodges ("You ruddy hooligans"), Frank Williams as the Vicar (Timothy Farthing) and Edward Sinclair as the Verger, Mr Yateman.
Only a few of the cast are still alive today: Ian Lavender who is currently in EastEnders but is about to leave, Bill Pertwee, Clive Dunn and Frank Williams. James Beck died young of a heart attack before Dad's Army finished completely.
My favourite episode has to be The Deadly Attachment.
Dad's Army is still occasionally repeated on BBC1 and BBC2 and is always a pleasure to see it again. They certainly don't make 'em like this anymore.
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