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Dad's Army (TV Series 1968–1977) Poster

(1968–1977)

Trivia

An episode is kept on standby by the BBC for use as an emergency backup program, to be broadcast if a major technical problem prevents normal programs being shown. This came to light on June 20, 2000 when the Six O'Clock News (1984) was interrupted by a power failure at the BBC, and an episode of Dad's Army was transmitted in its place.
Despite always referring to Sgt Wilson as Uncle Arthur, it has been confirmed by the writers that Pvte Pike is the biological son of Sgt Wilson.
During the final series Arthur Lowe was ill with narcolepsy, John Le Mesurier had cirrhosis of the liver, and John Laurie was ill with emphysema and memory problems.
John Laurie was the only cast member to have served in the Home Guard. But Clive Dunn, Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier had all served in the regular army during World War Two. Clive Dunn, served with the British regiment 4th Queen's Own Hussars and was Prisoner of War during WWII captured in Greece. John Laurie and Arnold Ridley had also served in the regular Army, in World War One. Of the writers, during World War Two Jimmy Perry served in the Home Guard (he based the show on his experiences), and David Croft served in the ARP (and later served in the regular Army as a Major).
When an episode of the show was shown to members of the public to gauge audience reaction prior to broadcast of the first series, the majority 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 to great acclaim.
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Following the death of Edward Sinclair, Arthur Lowe said there would be no more "Dad's Army". However the final episode was clearly intended to be the last anyway.
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In reality Adolf Hitler had no intention of ever attempting an invasion of the UK, as he admitted to the General Staff on 14 August 1940. Operation Sea Lion was likely a bluff to put pressure on the UK to come to terms with the Axis Powers following the Fall of France. The German High Command began planning the invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940 under the code name Operation Otto, which was later changed to Operation Barbarossa.
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On 19th June 2010 a life-size bronze statue of Captain Mainwaring, seated on a bench by the Bell and Old Anchor Hotels in Thetford, Norfolk (the market town having doubled as Walmington-on-Sea throughout the series, with many of the cast and crew based at the hotels during filming) was unveiled by David Croft, with Bill Pertwee and Pamela Cundell in attendance. The statue was the work of sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, and funded by the local Friends of Dad's Army Museum.
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Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring) had a clause in his contract that stated that he was never to be seen on camera without his trousers
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It only took an hour and a half to tape each episode of Dad's Army, though there was a week's rehearsal prior to the actual recording of each episode. In addition, the cast did six weeks location filming in Norfolk and Suffolk for each series, to record exterior scenes; only the scenes in the studio interior sets were taped at TV Centre in London. Sometimes the episodes would be filmed then transmitted a week later.
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A pilot for a sequel to Dad's Army, "It Sticks Out Half a Mile", was recorded for BBC Radio in 1981 with Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier. In it, Mainwaring moves to another seaside resort in 1948. He wants a loan with the local bank manager and discovers that this is Wilson. He wants to buy the local pier, closed since the war, and attempts (with Wilson's help) to buy it off the council. It was not transmitted (Lowe was very ill during the recording and died soon after) but the pilot is sometimes repeated on the digital radio channel BBC7. With some reworking "It Sticks Out Half a Mile" did become a radio series. In it Hodges and Pike decide to restore the pier at Frambourne-on-Sea and approach Wilson for the loan. Le Mesurier, Bill Pertwee and Ian Lavender reprised their rôles. The series aired on Radio 2 in 1983-4 and is often rerun on BBC7; it was also reworked for television in the form of ITV's High and Dry (1985).
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It was intended that the theme tune be sung by the veteran duo Flanagan and Allen, famous during the war. However Chesney Allen was too ill to record, so Bud Flanagan sang on his own. In the event it was Flanagan who died shortly after the recording and Allen lived another 14 years.
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Arthur Lowe refused to take scripts home with him, as he believed in keeping his personal and professional lives seperate.
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Three episodes of this series (Dad's Army: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker (1969), Dad's Army: A Stripe for Frazer (1969) and Dad's Army: Under Fire (1969)) are no longer thought to exist (although the off-air soundtrack to one, Dad's Army: A Stripe for Frazer (1969), was recovered in 2008), after an archive purge at the BBC in the 1970s saw the destruction of the only known copies. Until recently, there were five missing episodes (all from the second season) before an appeal by the BBC called "Treasure Hunt" saw the return of two 16mm film recordings (Dad's Army: Operation Kilt (1969) and Dad's Army: The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage (1969)) taken from the original video tapes. These recordings had been dumped in a skip outside the Elstree Studios when they were found and taken home by one of the studio staff, 30 years before. After seeing the 'Treasure Hunt' appeal on TV in 2001, the prints were returned by a friend of the staff member, to whom the prints had been entrusted.
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Pvte Pike also has a half-sister, the daughter of Sgt Wilson by an earlier relationship. She is only referred to once when she makes a quick visit to see Sgt Wilson. He laments that her mother left him many years ago and he has seen very little of his daughter, who is not named and only referred to in the credits as The Wren, being as she is in uniform when seen.
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John Laurie and Arnold Ridley both fought in World War One and both were wounded and invalided out of the army.
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Walmington's local pub is The Anchor.
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The cast (as Dad's Army) filmed a road safety advertisement for UK television at Woodley near Reading on 23rd December 1976. The public information film saw them using a "Pelican Crossing".
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Although the cast generally got on well with each other there were problems between some actors. John Laurie intensely disliked Arnold Ridley, while Arthur Lowe and Clive Dunn didn't get on due to the two men's personal politics (Lowe was a loyal High Conservative and Dunn an enthusiastic committed Socialist).
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There were two different versions of the closing credits for the show. The first version, used in Series 1 and 2, simply showed footage of the main cast superimposed over a still photograph, with the crew credits rolling over a black background. The more familiar closing credits, introduced in Series 3, were a homage to the end credits of The Way Ahead (1944), which had covered the training of a platoon during the war. In both instances, each character is shown as they walk across a smoke-filled battlefield. John Laurie also appeared in that film, and his performance in the end credits of the film appears to be copied in the sitcom. Coincidentally, the film's lead character (played by David Niven) is named Lt. Jim Perry.
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John Le Mesurier was initially unsure of how to portray his character, and was advised by Jimmy Perry to make the part his own. Le Mesurier decided to base the character on himself, later writing that "I thought, why not just be myself, use an extension of my own personality and behave rather as I had done in the army? So I always left a button or two undone, and had the sleeve of my battle dress slightly turned up. I spoke softly, issued commands as if they were invitations (the sort not likely to be accepted) and generally assumed a benign air of helplessness". Perry later observed that "we wanted Wilson to be the voice of sanity; he has become John".
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Clive Dunn was initially reluctant to take on the part of Corporal Jones, as he was typecast in old-man roles. He accepted when his old friend John Le Mesurier was cast.
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BBC Head of Comedy Michael Mills was initially against the casting of Arthur Lowe in the lead role of Captain Mainwaring because of his previous role in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street (1960). Thorley Walters was first offered the role of Captain Mainwaring but declined it as he disliked performing in front of an audience. Jon Pertwee (cousin of Bill Pertwee) was considered for Mainwaring less than two years before he took the starring role of Doctor Who (1963). David Jason was David Croft's choice for Corporal Jones but - as Jason has recalled - the head of BBC Light Entertainment Bill Cotton wanted Clive Dunn and hired him. Jack Haig turned down Corporal Jones.
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With the death of Clive Dunn (Corporal Jones) on November 6, 2012, Ian Lavender (Private Pike) is the last surviving main cast member to have played a member of the Home Guard platoon.
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  • On the 19th of June 2010 a life size statue of Captain Mainwaring was erected in Thetford, He can be found seated near the Old Anchor Hotel where the minor cast members stayed during the filming of the series which is today sadly derelict.


  • The Bell Inn in Thetford, the hotel where the main cast and crew stayed during the filming of the series, has several pictures of the cast and crew in the hotel. Most of the rooms are named after the characters e.g. Sergeant Wilson's Lounge.


  • The Bell Inn is also where the Dads Army tour around the town starts and finishes. The Dads Army Museum is also found near the end of the trail which features a reconstruction of Captain Mainwaring's office.


  • The Local Pub called The Red Lion is mentioned a number of times. There was a real pub called The Red Lion in Thetford where the exterior shots were filmed. The Pub is still there today but sadly is now derelict.


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Walmington-on-Sea's church is St Aldhelm's, patron saint of song-writers and musicians.
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Although supposed to be set in Kent (as indicated by the platoon's cap badges) Walmington-on-Sea is believed to have been modeled on Bexhill-on-Sea, over the county border in Sussex. In fact the outdoor scenes were filmed in Thetford, Norfolk which is not on the sea.
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David Croft wanted the series titles to include newsreel footage from the Second World War, including scenes of bombing raids, refugees, Nazi troops and Nuremberg rallies. Although he was supported by Head of Comedy Michael Mills, BBC One Controller Paul Fox objected to this, deeming it inappropriate for a comedy series.
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Arthur Lowe's wife, Joan Cooper, took over the role of Godfrey's sister Dolly towards the end of the show's run and played other guest roles during the course of the series.
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Jimmy Perry's favourite episode was Dad's Army: Branded (1969), while David Croft's favourite was Dad's Army: Mum's Army (1970).
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John Le Mesurier was unsure about taking the part as he was finishing the final series of George and the Dragon (1966) and did not want another long-term television role. He was persuaded both by an increase in his fee-to £262 10s (£262.50) per episode-and by the casting of his old friend Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones.
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There was a pub in Shoeburyness, Essex named after Captain Mainwaring. However, the name was spelt as Captain Mannering's to avoid copyright. The pub has since changed it's name.
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Bill Pertwee used to warm up the audience before each recording. He was the only one of the main cast with experience as a stand-up, and had also been warm-up man before other BBC shows.
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Leonard Rossiter turned down the role of Captain Mainwaring.
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Private Cheeseman was intended to fill in for Private Walker after the death of James Beck. However, the character was unpopular. David Croft wrote that the character "irritating without being funny", and as an exotic Celt he was too similar to Private Frazer. John Laurie also disliked the character, and requested that he not return for the next series.
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Other Home Guard platoons in the series include nearby Eastgate (commanded by Captain Square), Southgate, Dymwych (led by Captain Ashley-Jones) and Littlebourne-on-Sea.
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Jimmy Perry based the character of Private Pike on his own background and his experiences during the war. He originally wrote the part of Private Walker, the spiv, for himself to play, but David Croft vetoed this on the grounds that other cast members would think Perry had taken the best part for himself.
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In Dad's Army: The Lion Has Phones (1969), there is a scene in a cinema. Behind the two women in the ticket office is a poster for The Edge of the World (1937). This is a real film which starred John Laurie, who plays Private Frazer.
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Pike's occasional girlfriend Ivy was played by Ian Lavender's wife in one of her appearances, Dad's Army: My British Buddy (1973).
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Ian Lavender was invited to choose Pike's scarf from the BBC costume department. As a supporter of Aston Villa, he chose the team's colours.
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Pike's name is a reference to the spear-like weapons issued to the Home Guard in 1942, generating "an almost universal feeling of anger and disgust from the ranks".
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Robert Dorning was the first choice for Sergeant. Wilson.
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Bill Pertwee was president of the Dad's Army Appreciation Society and the author of the book Dad's Army - The Making of a Television Legend.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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