Dad's Army - In The Press
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
Bill Pertwee, who died recently, always cited Dad's Army as his best work. He knew it would endure, he said. And how it has. Always voted in the top two or three of the nation's favourite shows, endlessly repeated, a DVD best-seller.
Written by James Ruddick. The Huffington Post, 28th May 2013
Even Dad's Army had off days. This 1977 episode, "Wake Up, Walmington" has its fair share of duff character notes (Mainwaring calling his nemesis Mister Hodges; the ARP warden himself bursting into tears after being ridiculed). It also contains comedy broader than Norfolk, as the platoon dress as fifth-columnists to wake up the town from its apathy.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 25th May 2013
Written by Jimmy Perry. The Guardian, 16th April 2013
Mainwaring has allowed Welsh journalist Mr Cheeseman (Talfryn Thomas) to join the Home Guard in order to help him write an article entitled Captain Mainwaring: Man of Action. "There's no question mark," Mainwaring quickly points out to his troops. And when Pike gets his head stuck in the park railings and a bomb explodes near Walmington, the captain's forced to live up to the headline.
Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 2nd March 2013
Some say the same joke isn't funny the 100th time. I beg to differ. Exhibit A: Mainwaring's skewed cap and glasses. But I'm not the only one who thinks so. Despite being 40 years old Dad's Army is still doing solid business for BBC2 - nudging 2 million viewers most weeks. And all that's great about it shines out of this episode, which is the ideal mix of pranks and prattle.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 24th February 2013
Michael Gove may have been compared to Young Master Grace, but there's another 70s sitcom that resembles the current government more closely.
Written by John Crace. The Guardian, 17th January 2013
The infamous clock tower caper demonstrates the series' flair for both subtle character comedy and broad-as-a-barn-door physical high jinks. Mainwaring has his tea and (rationed) biscuits interrupted when a German parachutist gets tangled at the top of the Town Hall - an obvious but ingenious set.
Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 8th December 2012
Plans to make the legendary TV comedy into a new film are doomed to disappoint. The show was the perfect blend of great acting and writing.
Written by Harry Mount. The Daily Telegraph, 14th November 2012
Clive Dunn, who died last week, was just one of the reasons Dad's Army is still as loved today as ever.
Written by Brian Viner. The Sunday Telegraph, 11th November 2012
10 secrets of how Clive Dunn, who died this week, and his fellow Home Guards made Dad's Army our finest sitcom.
Written by Neil Norman. The Daily Express, 9th November 2012
Photo gallery from the sitcom Dad's Army.
The Daily Telegraph, 7th November 2012
As Corporal Jones, Dunn was Meursault with a dash of Mr Magoo and one of the sweetest characters ever to grace a sitcom.
Written by Stuart Jeffries. The Guardian, 7th November 2012
The classic butcher's van ready to foil a Nazi invasion of Britain by Dad's Army is up for sale.
The Telegraph, 20th September 2012