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Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tony Benn ...
Himself (as Rt Hon Tony Benn)
Allen Clifford ...
Himself - RAF Navigator
...
Himself (archive footage) (as Noel Coward)
Dabber Davis ...
Himself
Stephen Dean ...
Himself - Grandson of Basil Dean
Winton Dean ...
Himself - Son of Basil Dean
Joy Denney ...
Herself
...
Herself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Alan Grace ...
Himself
Betty Hockey ...
Herself
Audrey Landreth ...
Herself
Henry Lewis ...
Himself
Brenda Logie ...
Herself
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20 September 2011 (UK)  »

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| (archive footage)
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Call of duty
23 August 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the 1990s as we headed towards the 50th anniversary of D-Day, there was a time when companies released a number of popular videos with titles such as 'Songs that won the war' or 'Jokes that won the war.'

I actually saw a clip with Tommy Trinder doing an alleged comedy act. Maybe the video should had been called 'Jokes that nearly lost the war!'

Tommy Trinder was a performer for ENSA (Entertainment National Services Association) set up by impresario Basil Dean at the outbreak of war and sent out concert parties to entertain the troops at home and abroad. There were thousands of shows put on of varying quality. Some had stars such as Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn, George Formby and Noel Coward. Others had more inept performers and it was a breeding ground for a lot of post war entertainers such as Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd for example.

As far as the troops were concerned it was the chance of seeing the young nubile women that interested them and the chance to talk to them afterwards and share a drink. We see one performer who went to see injured troops, some who were severely disfigured.

Dean was vilified in some quarters although his elderly son and grandson are in the programme to set the record straight. As the programme was made in 2011, some of the contributors such as Tony Benn, Eric Sykes have subsequently died. Because of the passage of time it is left to the lesser known performers to take centre stage and talk candidly about their time entertaining the troops which involved putting themselves in danger at times.


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