Dad's Army - In The Press
"Tonight you may call me George." How often does Wilson receive such an invitation from his commanding officer? The captain throws open the doors of Mainwaring manor for a "civilian" shindig, and the prospect of actually seeing his spouse - she of bunkbed-bulging proportions and ear-splitting telephone manner - tantalises us like never before...
"A total of 80 episodes of Dad's Army were made by the corporation - and which one does it choose to show on the Saturday ahead of the vote?" a Yes campaigner [for Scottish Independence] wails. "The one in which Frazer - played by John Laurie - tells Mainwaring that he can run the platoon better than him, is put in charge and then makes a total mess of things. Thank you very much, Auntie Beeb."
Written by Tim Walker. The Telegraph, 16th September 2014
A schism in the platoon makes for a slightly uncomfortable watch in this 1972 story. Well, as uncomfortable as this bear hug of a sitcom gets. But the heightened drama - introduced by Mainwaring temporarily allowing Frazer to try to improve on his captaincy - gives If the Cap Fits some teeth.
An all-action extravaganza features Jones on a child's scooter, a grenade exploding in the Vicar's office and Mainwaring trying on a smart, 18-guinea greatcoat that you just know is as doomed as Frazer's catchphrase. (Look out for Larry Martyn -- the caretaker in Are You Being Served? -- as the signalman scoffing buns.)
There are two distinct camps of thought in this famous 1972 episode. As bombs rain down outside their bunker, Mainwaring and Jones rather impractically want to get to grips with the enemy; Frazer and cynics anonymous are quite content to stay safe. But when there's a direct hit on the pumping station where Walker and Godfrey are patrolling, direct action is needed.
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.)
Did you watch Dad's Army and if so how much can you remember from the timeless classic?
The Mirror, 19th July 2014
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.
Dad's Army's ironising approach to national identity made me fall for Britain in a way that only Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony has done since.
Written by Stuart Jeffries. The Guardian, 13th May 2014
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.
Did you watch Dad's Army and if so how much can you remember from the timeless classic...
Written by Danny Walker. The Mirror, 23rd March 2014
This episode, about guarding PoWs, isn't top-drawer Dad's but does feature Mainwaring stuck down a hole "like Winnie the Pooh", Godfrey delivering the unimaginable line "Your tiny hand is frozen" to an Italian soldier, and more heroic sentence-mangling from Jones. Plus another of those typically sunny location shoots. As Jimmy Perry recently recalled for Radio Times, "Usually the weather was very good. We called it David Croft Weather."
The sitcom writer talks about his life in showbiz, his Dad's Army heroes and the one that got away...
Written by Mark Braxton. The Radio Times, 22nd March 2014
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.
Captain Mainwaring is like a pig in mud when the platoon takes delivery of a 13-pounder QF mark V (a big gun). This being a naval weapon, the men look to Private Frazer for operational tips. But it turns out the self-aggrandising Scot was only ever a cook, though he insists: "When the shells are flying it takes a man to stay below and make shepherd's pie."
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 9th November 2013
It's rare that Mainwaring is so shocked he loses the power of both speech and motion, but that's what happens in Room at the Bottom. It's the one where he loses his commission - twice. Wilson, of course, relishes delivering the news to him, and practises in front of a mirror.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 2nd November 2013
The assault-course scrapes and don't-like-it-up-'ems were all very well, but there was nothing like a bit of life-or-death to vary the pace and bring out the best in the cast. When an air raid leaves Mainwaring and Wilson cradling an unexploded bomb in the bank vault, the rest of the platoon run about like headless chickens. Walmington's well-oiled machine soon cranks up a gear, however: Frazer's fishing skills come to the fore, Pike keeps away the riff-raff; Godfrey rustles up some coffee.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 26th October 2013
The contrast between line-toeing optimist Mainwaring and corner-cutting realist Wilson is neatly scripted at the top of this 1969 episode. Needless to say, when the platoon uses up all its ammo on a low-flying German plane, their approaches to the problem are very different.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 12th October 2013
"Godfrey, would you take your arm from my throat?" is the unlikely request from Captain Mainwaring in tonight's slice of superannuated square-bashing. Not quite the deadly scenario it sounds, however. In fact, it's the consequence of a lesson in public telephone usage. In a packed episode, boasting an abnormally large guest cast, the men get to put their newly acquired skills to the test when a German plane crashes in the reservoir.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 5th October 2013
Some cute rarities in tonight's old boys' parade, among them a train trip, the sight of Frazer knitting and the self-referential gag of the platoon whistling the show's theme tune. But to begin with, spirits plummet after Mainwaring's map-reading deficiencies cause the men to miss supper at a weekend camp. A surly Spanish captain (Alan Tilvern) who's determined to catch them out just compounds the misery.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 28th September 2013
A justly lauded 1969 episode, full of well worked gags and delicious confusion. For many years it was missing presumed lost, but returned to the archives in 2001. It follows the platoon's separation when church bells signal an invasion, but what's fun is seeing Godfrey's oft-mentioned sisters Dolly and Cissy, and hearing Wilson deny he's Pike's father (the writers always insisted he was).
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 7th September 2013
James Beck, aka Dad's Army's Private Walker, died 40 years ago today.
Written by Neil Clark. The Telegraph, 7th August 2013
Prepare for a blast of monochrome nostalgia with the first ever episode, The Man and the Hour. It opens in the "present day" (1968) as the aged members of Walmington on Sea's defunct Home Guard gather to support the economy-boosting I'm Backing Britain campaign.
Alison Graham, Radio Times, 27th July 2013
To support Walmington-on-Sea's Wings for Victory week, Captain Mainwaring has decided the Home Guard are going to restage the battle of St George and the Dragon as a grand finale. He's not letting on his plan to the rest of the parish council, though, which is unfortunate as the wardens are doing something similar.
Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 15th June 2013