In his early days as a cabaret artist, the actor Bill Pertwee, who has died aged 86, did a manic cricket revue sketch at a fashionable club in central London. A haughty and inebriated diner kicked over his stumps and shouted: "How's that?" Pertwee punched him in the stomach and was escorted out by the head waiter, who informed him that the customer was always right. "As far as I'm concerned, he isn't!" retorted Pertwee.
This bubbling belligerence was successfully incorporated into the bossy character that made Pertwee famous: Arp Warden William Hodges in the celebrated BBC television series Dad's Army (1968-77), written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. As Hodges, he perpetually clashed with Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) of the Home Guard.
The inspiration for the way Pertwee played the warden came from his boyhood during the second world war,