Dad's Army - In The Press
As the film version of Dad's Army is released at cinemas across the country, BBC News looks at the life of Arnold Ridley, the only actor in the original television series to serve in both World War One and Two.
BBC News, 5th February 2016
News footage of the original cast of Dad's Army being interviewed has been unearthed.
BBC News, 5th February 2016
A 91-year-old World War II veteran has called both the Dad's Army TV series and films a "total injustice" to the almost 1.5 million men who served in the UK's real-life Home Guard.
Written by Sarah Doran. The Radio Times, 3rd February 2016
In his 1974 book The Real Dad's Army, the historian Norman Longmate used the memories of ordinary people to document the impact of extraordinary events.
Written by Norman Longmate. The Guardian, 2nd February 2016
This nigh-on perfect episode is The Arthur Lowe Show in all but name. A training weekend for the platoon enables Lowe to run through his sublime Mainwarisms: the "throat-clutching choke", the "skewed cap and glasses", and the rare but wonderful "trying desperately not to appear drunk". (Almost as funny is Sergeant Wilson's teddy-bear hiding - an Embarrassment Masterclass from John Le Mesurier.)
Documents have revealed the heroics of the 'real-life Dad's Army' in stark contrast to the television comedy's hapless soldiers.
Written by Joseph Curtis. Daily Mail, 1st February 2016
It has an antiquated look and Arthur Lowe may occasionally fluff his lines, but the historical setting of Dad's Army has helped it endure, and rank as some of the finest British farce.
Written by Mark Lawson. The Guardian, 29th January 2016
Self-important Mainwaring and bull-in-a-china-shop Hodges have never shied away from airing their differences. But in this episode the boundary lines are drawn - in chalk. A bombed ARP HQ forces the wardens and Home Guard to share the village hall - the expected jostlings ensue.
While conscientious objector Pte Godfrey could not hurt a fly, Arnold Ridley endured horrific hand to hand combat in the trenches at the Somme in 1916.
Written by Warren Manger. The Radio Times, 25th January 2016
If you've ever wondered why there's such percolating ill feeling between Mainwaring and Wilson, it's all here in an eye-opening first act. The captain turns puce and looks set to explode ("Judas!") when he learns that his supercilious subordinate is going up in the world, as both bank manager and second lieutenant in neighbouring Eastgate. All the petty jealousy and class resentment come pouring out, and Mainwaring's knee-jerk response is an office/platoon reshuffle.
A popular 1970 episode. The captain's doughty dependables rally round when the ARP wardens challenge the platoon to a game of cricket. Jones offers to keep wicket, Walker the spiv provides reconditioned balls and even Frazer will have a go "if someone will explain the principle of the thing".
BBC sensitivity was such that for years we were deprived of this triumphant episode. It was off our screens for 42 years until 2012, its IRA subplot deemed too controversial. But the Irish question is very much an aside to an instalment so packed with gags, misunderstandings and drama that it fairly takes the breath away.
This untypical episode about guarding prisoners of war suffers from limp gags and too much stereotyping. A little urgency is instilled with the suggestion that Walker may be a fifth columnist, and it does feature Mainwaring stuck down a hole "like Winnie the Pooh".
The hugely popular TV series is being transformed into a film but the stories of those who inspired it are even more amazing.
Written by Boudicaa Fox-Leonard. The Sunday Mirror, 15th November 2015
This lesser entry to the Army canon, about toughening up the platoon's feet, is a curious beast. The podiatric pranks are a little hit-and-miss, but there's much for fans to savour. For instance, after all the chip-on-his-shoulder speeches to Wilson about privilege, Mainwaring gives him a surprisingly generous - and accurate - character analysis.
Walmington's spats with the rival platoon in Eastgate are always great, pratfalling fun, and a training exercise in which Mainwaring's marauders have to plant a bomb in a windmill is certainly played full tilt. But we open in the pub, where that tedious old walrus Captain Square - all beer and bluster - is holding court. And, in his first appearance in Dad's Army, Robert Raglan (as a sergeant, but he'll later become "the Colonel") throws a priceless glance at the barman as Square bores for Britain.
The first episode of the 1970s is a jovial knockabout in which the platoon prepares for a parade of all civil defence units. In one of those lovely, evocative scenes in the local cinema, a Gaumont newsreel gives Mainwaring the idea for a regimental mascot. And Pike is piqued by having to leave early ("I haven't seen the Donald Duck yet").
The last surviving platoon member of Dad's Army says the BBC would not make the classic comedy today because the corporation ignores older viewers in favour of the young.
Written by Stephen McGinty and Jason Allardyce. The Sunday Times, 2nd August 2015
Stephen Lowe reveals his father's battle with narcolepsy and why the wife of the Dad's Army actor missed his funeral.
Written by Richard Webber. The Daily Telegraph, 18th July 2015
The Dad's Army actor Ian Lavender who played Private Pike in the hit TV series, has been recognised on Birmingham's Walk of Stars. Birmingham-born Mr Lavender said he was "very proud" of hi home city when he received the honour. He joins the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and ELO's Jeff Lynne, who have also been honoured on the Broad Street trail. As Private Pike, he famously wore an Aston Villa scarf. The actor said when he attended his first game at Villa Park last year, he took the scarf with him.
BBC News, 22nd June 2015
Few sitcoms have aged as well as Dad's Army.
Written by Chris Hallam. Chris Hallam's World View, 8th June 2015
Walmington-on-Sea's Home Guard wasn't in the habit of grappling with the enemy - barrage balloons and ARP wardens, yes, but not the Nazis. People only remember Philip Madoc's surly U-boat captain in The Deadly Attachment. There were other occasions, however, and tonight's was the first. There are even subtitles, the dialogue for which was written by actor Nigel Rideout (here playing a German) - reportedly for an extra £10 in his pay packet!
Captain Mainwaring is clearly enjoying being in charge of his Local Defence Volunteers, but pressure is mounting on him at their lack of weapons. Then Colonel Square (Geoffrey Lumsden) pays a first visit, offering rifles on the condition that he takes over command. It's a well-scripted dilemma introducing a nice note of drama, and leads to an untypically emotional outcome.
The appropriately titled Museum Piece, from August 1968, sees Walmington-on-Sea LDV - still without uniform or any sense of cohesion - trying to take arms against the sea of troubles. Typically, however, the volunteers are outwitted by an 88-year-old man (the father of Lance Corporal Jones, no less!). What's needed is a dash of cunning, not to mention a few slugs from a bottle of whisky - and that's just by Private Frazer.
He is the man whose face probably first comes to mind if one is asked to think of a fictional television vicar. Actor Frank Williams first put on his dog collar to play the part of the Reverend Timothy Farthing in Dad's Army 46 years ago. Now 83, he's still going strong, appearing in the new film of Dad's Army, released early next year and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. He is touring the UK in a show in which he recalls his long career. Along with Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike, Frank is the only surviving regular cast member from the original series.
Written by Neil Clark. The Daily Express, 5th May 2015