Dad's Army - In The Press

Anyone who enjoys the class collisions of Mainwaring and Wilson will be in heaven with this episode. In "The Honourable Man", Wilson becomes entitled following the death of his uncle. The news induces pride in Pike and his beaming mother, but brings out an assortment of colours in the Captain, including red for apoplexy and green for jealousy.

The welcoming preparations for a visiting Russian worker cause further explosions of pomposity. But the many other weapons in Dad's arsenal are discharged with equal efficacy, from Walker's leavening cockiness to Jones's "cobblers". It's a beauty.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 29th November 2014

Original Dad's Army star Ian Lavender is making a cameo appearance in the new film.

Written by Ellie Walker-Arnott. The Radio Times, 22nd November 2014

If you're wondering why almost none of this episode was recorded on video - even the interior scenes - a studio strike in 1973 meant it had to be shot on location with 16mm film. It's a needs-must approach that's appropriate to both the series and the episode. Because when the Home Guard takes an efficiency test, they need all their wits (ahem!) to overcome the bullying supervisor (Fulton Mackay in the same year he'd made his Porridge debut).

Anyone who's endured the nonsense of role-playing seminars at work will cheer Wilson's dismissive air, while the way Godfrey turns an anti-tank artillery piece into a chintzy armchair is a sight to behold.

Mark Braxton, The Radio Times, 22nd November 2014

Dad's Army goes a bit Mack Sennett in this episode when a sealed-order mission turns into a frantic choo-choo chase. King George VI is due to pass through the station, but a mix-up between sleeping pills and saccharine puts a spanner - or a defective brake wheel - in the works.

One false alarm sees Captain Mainwaring moving along a stopped train while sheepishly inquiring, "Your Majesty, are you there?" But the sight of the Vicar, Verger and Hodges on a pump trolley takes some beating.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 15th November 2014

A chaotic whirl of flirtation and skirmish accompanies America's entrance into the war, as a deputation arrives in Walmington. A darts match in the Red Lion is arranged and a "Hi Buddy!" banner hung over the bar. But with the platoon's other halves donning gladrags for the occasion, noses are soon put out of joint.

An utterly untypical instalment gives fans plenty of incident and casting oddities to talk about. They include Pike's girlfriend Ivy, played here by Ian Lavender's then wife Suzanne Kerchiss, but in an earlier episode by Rosemary Faith. And Alan Tilvern plays the US colonel even though he had previously been a Spanish captain, Rodrigues.

Like Yanks in 30 minutes, the story is almost too eventful for its own good. I mean to say, Godfrey hitting a man over the head with a chair? That's just not on.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 8th November 2014

She was best known for playing the sexy school girl all of The Inbetweeners' boys wanted to stare it. But on Thursday, Emily Atack was cutting a pin up image of a whole new calibre when she donned full costume on the set of the Hollywood adaptation of iconic BBC sitcom Dad's Army.

Written by Kate Thomas & Becky Freeth. The Daily Mail, 24th October 2014

Speaking as Captain Mainwaring's long-standing (and much-sitting) double, I must protest at the Hollywoodisation of this great English classic.

Written by Paul Routledge. The Daily Mirror, 16th October 2014

Dad's Army turns into Trumpton in a late-1972 episode that drew more viewers (18.5 million) than any other. When challenged to outwit the Home Guard commando unit by planting a dummy bomb in their fuel depot, the platoon dress as firemen for their "secret" mission.

As you might expect from the outlandish premise, the humour is Norfolk broad - Pike getting squirted at regular intervals, Jones deafening everyone with the fire bell, and so on. That said, there are some lovely moments with Mainwaring getting snubbed at the Rotary dinner (writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft never failed to prick his pomposity). There's also a formative role for Geoffrey Hughes (two years later he had become Corrie's bin man Eddie Yeats) and, from Godfrey, the line "I wouldn't mind dressing up as a nun."

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 4th October 2014

"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...

Less of a party and more of a wake, the bash is put out of its misery by an air raid - and a direct hit on the bank. So what to do with the money? It's an interesting, curiously mean-spirited outing, full of muttered put-downs and surly suspicion. Also some 18-carat lines, and a beautifully filmed finale.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 20th September 2014

"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.

Mainwaring initially regrets giving the grumbling Scot free rein, especially when he promotes Pike and Walker over Jones and Wilson. But the twist in the tale, however unlikely, is to die for. Wilson's monocle-wearing theatrics and the least educational lecture you'll ever hear add to the fun.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 13th September 2014

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.)

When a misread map reference sends the platoon to a barn destined for artillery target practice, it's left to two senior members to try and save the day, via manic motoring and an insane bit of stop-motion animation. Before the Dick Barton finale, the squinting, gout-afflicted Godfrey explains his dislike of spectacles: "I didn't get on with them; they made me look rather old."

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 6th September 2014

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.

There's plenty of jeopardy from falling masonry and possible drowning, plus an ingenious set and water tank all in one - in fact, you can see the edge of the tank, accidentally, when Hodges falls out of his one-man boat. And whatever else you might think of him, don't ever question Mainwaring's heroism; one moving little aside is proof of that...

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 9th August 2014

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.)

It all comes about as a result of Captain "What! What!" Square and a bunch of whisky-swilling officers leading Mainwaring astray, to the scowling disenchantment of Frazer and co. And it takes a genuine crisis to restore him in the eyes of his men...

'Fallen Idol' is delicious to the last drop, when an "Iris Out" homage to the silent era provides the show's best-ever sign-off.

Mark Braxton, The Radio Times, 2nd August 2014

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.

It's a resolutely low-fi outing - the painted backdrop to the Verger's hedge-clipping scenes are as amateur- hour as some of the slapstick - but, as ever, there's great fun to be had. Clive Dunn looks like he's trying not to laugh at making a chicken noise from a tin and some string (well, who wouldn't?), there's a stunt that will be familiar to Porridge fans, and Frazer gets almost too carried away with one of his shaggy dog stories.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 12th July 2014

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.

Contrasting phone manner offers a lot of initial fun: Wilson's hilariously fey "Hullo?"; a submissive Mainwaring deafened by his wife's receiver slamming. Soon the platoon teeters on the brink of mutiny (over a pub darts match, but there is real acrimony), Jones comes to regret his under-the-counter offer to the captain and Hodges muscles in on Mavis Pike. Is Wilson too much the gentleman to intervene?

You'll laugh, you'll be tense, you'll worry about 74-year-old Arnold Ridley getting roughed up by a burly henchman.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 29th March 2014

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."

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 22nd March 2014

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.

So if all the shoe-shop tomfoolery fails to hit the spot, just enjoy Pike at his mollycoddled worst, a guest turn from the wonderful Erik (Mr Smith in Please Sir!) Chitty and an epic fail at the seaside for Mainwaring.

And those who pooh-pooh the idea that Pike is Wilson's son will be dumbfounded by one scene that all but shouts out the connection.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 8th March 2014

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.

Arthur Lowe trumps that look with one that was to become a trademark (glasses removed, cheeks puffed out with exasperation), after Frazer gives a typically windy speech.

It's the story where Jones branches out, Frazer has an overinflated opinion of himself, sheep wear helmets and the Verger finds a novel use for a cemetery urn. Utterly, beautifully bonkers.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 1st March 2014

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."

One failed firing-rehearsal later, the squad crowd into the office to plan strategy with a model of Walmington, using tins of Spam and toy soldiers ("Don't lean on the gasworks, boy!").

It's actually an unusually sloppy episode, which would have benefited from some better line-learning or a few retakes. But it's still an endearing snapshot of Little England dithering in a crisis.

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.

Writers Perry and Croft are on top form here. A letter-writing sequence allows us to hear what the men are thinking - and it's all beautifully in character. But this is Arthur Lowe's episode through and through; after some initial embarrassment, Mainwaring's nobler qualities come to the fore. One speech even draws an emotional nose-blow from Godfrey. Fantastic pay-off, too.

Incidentally, we rarely learn in Dad's Army what point the war has reached, but one announcement by the Verger anchors the action precisely.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 2nd November 2013

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