John le Mesurier was a leading character in British movies for over twenty years before he hit stardom in DAD'S ARMY. Often cast as bureaucrats, lawyers, judges or similar authority-figures, he made a habit of playing slightly bamboozled personalities. When cast as Sergeant Wilson in the BBC comedy, le Mesurier at last found his niche, where he could reinforce his screen persona of an incredibly polite, rather vague yet pleasant person. Although this BBC documentary includes contributions from many who knew him, including his last wife Joan, Ian Lavender, and the late Bill Pertwee and Clive Dunn, it doesn't really get behind this persona. Le Mesurier entitled his autobiography A JOBBING ACTOR, and always made it seem as if what he was doing was simply a job rather than a vocation. However there was more to him than met the eye: several biographical accounts of his one-time best friend Tony Hancock (who had an affair with Joan) suggest that Le Mesurier struggled to sustain his outward sang-froid. Even in DAD'S ARMY, there are occasional sequences where his character reveals an aggressive nature, especially if he feels that someone has insulted either himself or the platoon he so adores. Perhaps the documentary might have conducted a more in-depth analysis of such sequences rather than relying so much on platitudinous tributes.
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