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We're Doomed! The Dad's Army Story (2015)

In 1967 actor Jimmy Perry shows his friend David Croft the script of a sitcom he has written based on his time in the Home Guard, entitled 'Fighting Tigers'. Head of BBC TV comedy Michael ... See full summary »

Director:

Steve Bendelack (as Stephen Bendelack)

Writer:

Stephen Russell
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Ritter ... Jimmy Perry
Richard Dormer ... David Croft
Stuart McQuarrie ... Tom Sloan
Sarah Alexander ... Gilda Perry
Sally Phillips ... Ann Croft
Charlotte McDougall Charlotte McDougall ... Pat Coombs
Harry Peacock ... Michael Mills
Keith Allen ... Paul Fox
Amy Hughes ... Sylvia
John Sessions ... Arthur Lowe
Amy O'Dwyer Amy O'Dwyer ... Waitress
Ralph Riach Ralph Riach ... John Laurie
Michael Cochrane ... Arnold Ridley
Mark Heap ... Clive Dunn
Julian Sands ... John Le Mesurier
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Storyline

In 1967 actor Jimmy Perry shows his friend David Croft the script of a sitcom he has written based on his time in the Home Guard, entitled 'Fighting Tigers'. Head of BBC TV comedy Michael Mills likes it, changing its title to 'Dad's Army' though, to Jimmy 's dismay, he refuses to let him act in it. He commissions Jimmy and David to write a whole series, despite TV controller Paul Fox's misgivings that the Second World War is too fresh in people's mind to be comedic. The pilot goes ahead with an ensemble cast keen to perform despite a low wage and some with problems of their own, notably star Arthur Lowe's tendency to forget his lines, and Jimmy is thrilled that wartime favourite Bud Flanagan is performing its theme song. In April 1968 the first show is recorded in front of an enthusiastic test audience. Fox is less generous in his opinion but the viewing figures ensure the show's future, running for nine series and becoming one of the best-loved of all British television sitcoms. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Making of Dad's Army See more »

Filming Locations:

Northern Ireland, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to budget cuts at the BBC, it was shot in just two weeks. See more »

Goofs

When Perry and Croft have to change the opening titles, the familiar map and arrows are shown where the German troop movements form a capital H. However, this is just a black & white version of the title sequence used in the later colour episodes of series 3 onwards. The original animation used in series 1 and 2 had the arrows forming a different shape. See more »

Quotes

[David Croft and Jimmy Perry have invited Arthur Lowe to lunch to discuss offering him the role of Captain Mainwaring]
Arthur Lowe: I wouldn't want to be in something silly. Something like that dreadful "Hugh and I".
David Croft: I directed and produced every episode of "Hugh and I", and I'm very proud of it.
[stunned silence, during which Arthur Lowe looks uneasy and David Croft smiles]
Arthur Lowe: Of course, a lesser man could be embarrassed in a situation like this.
[all three of them laugh - the ice has been broken]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing titles showed a "You have been watching" caption followed by each principal cast member marching on the spot holding an improvised "weapon", in the style of the credits sequence for Dad's Army (1968). See more »

Connections

References Dad's Army (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Affecionate Retelling of the Origins of One of Britain's Best-Loved Sitcoms
26 December 2015 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

In the pantheon of dramas based on well-loved television programs, such as THE ROAD TO CORONATION STREET (2010), WE'RE DOOMED was unexpectedly affecting.

Based on the origins of DAD'S ARMY, it had Jimmy Perry (Paul Ritter) trying to make the best of a career as a jobbing actor, being unexpectedly asked to join the cast of BEGGAR MY NEIGHBOUR, a BBC sitcom starring Reg Varney and Hattie Jacques, produced by David Croft (Richard Dormer). Perry showed Croft a draft script of a comedy based on the Home Guard, and the idea for DAD'S ARMY was born.

Steve Bendelack's production showed the difficulties the duo had in trying to get the sitcom off the ground in the face of opposition from BBC One controller Paul Fox (Keith Allen) and a skeptical head of Light Entertainment Tom Sloan (Stuart McQuarrie). Casting also proved problematic, with the part of Mainwaring being turned down by Thorley Walters and Jon Pertwee among others, before Arthur Lowe (John Sessions) accepted the role. Eventually the cast was assembled, and episodes recorded, but the show's teething troubles were not finished yet, as Lowe in particular found it difficult to remember his lines. Nonetheless, a first series of six was recorded, the first of which went out in July 1968. The rest, as they say, is history.

WE'RE DOOMED made a lot of the often difficult relationship between Perry and Croft, with Perry forced to give ground on several issues, including playing the part of Private Walker. In the end the decision proved the right one, and Perry gave up his career as an actor to become a full-time - and highly successful - writer. Sessions's Lowe also came across as difficult, with many of his basic insecurities as an actor concealed beneath a veil of bluster. He was certainly one of the ensemble that made the sitcom such a hit, but it was difficult for him to accept the company ethic.

Some of the impersonations of real-life actors were better than others, but one of the highlights of this production was Roy Hudd's turn as Bud Flanagan, recording the much-loved theme tune. The veteran actor-comedian is one of the few left these days who actually grew up in the music-hall era; and had played Bud Flanagan many years ago in the stage show UNDERNEATH THE ARCHES. His rendering of the theme song was both poignant yet funny, a reminder of what the sitcom as a whole represented for millions of viewers.


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