Dad's Army - In The Press
"Over the years that I've come to know the members of this platoon, I've grown quite fond of them, but I can't help feeling sometimes that I'm in charge of a bunch of idiots." It's not often that Captain Mainwaring is quite so scathing about his platoon, but he's prompted by a classic piece of long-windedness from leering loon Private Frazer. It's a towering moment in the midst of some lightweight field-exercise shenanigans, but you'll enjoy the effete expression from Wilson tanning his face while his captain blethers on, and another brief but heavenly example of under-the-influence acting from Arthur Lowe.
The sight of the Vicar and Verger in battledress is just one of many rarities in this extraordinary affair. Among the others are Mainwaring laid up in a hospital bed (with ingrowing toenails), Frazer brandishing a live white mouse on parade and Godfrey having a big speech to remember. Also, poignantly, a note on the floor where James Beck should be standing. This was the first story not to feature Walker; thereafter, bizarrely, he was never mentioned again.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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.