Arnold Ridley

Dad's Army at 50: sitcom celebrates half-century

BBC's classic Second World War comedy centred around pompous Captain Mainwaring's attempts to instil strict discipline into ageing band of brothers.

Joe Sommerlad, The Independent, 30th July 2018

The real-life wars of Dad's Army actor Arnold Ridley

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

The real war horrors Arnold Ridley endured

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.

Warren Manger, Radio Times, 25th January 2016

Radio Times review

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, 30th November 2015

Jeffrey Holland interview

Jeffrey Holland became known to millions when he played the role of Spike in Hi-de-Hi!. His new role is as the station master in Arnold Ridley's comic thriller The Ghost Train.

Basingstoke Gazette, 22nd January 2015

Radio Times review

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

Nostalgia at the End of the Pier

Yes, I think we all felt this was the last - the end of the raod for Dad's Army," says Bill Pertwee of It Sticks Out Half a Mile, the radio sequel to TV's enduring Home Guard comedy success. The series - which begins a repeat run on Tuesday and includes a bonus of four previously unheard episodes - was recorded early last year (1983) abd was to be the last ever completed by John Le Mesurier.

Bill - who of course, played that dirty-fingernailed greengrocer and one-time Air Raid Warden Bert Hodges - believes the whole cast knew that it would probably was the last time they would all work together, though such feelings went unspoken. "The series had originally been mainly written around Arthur Lowe and John, and when Arthur died it had to be re-jigged. John had not been well, though he was feeling better when we recorded the series, but I think we all realised that we'd had a great run - the programmes started on TV in 1968 - and we were coming to the end of it. We'd lost so many of the original cast- Arhtur, John, Laurie, Arnold Ridley, Edward Sinclair, James Beck and a few months later, John was dead too."

I asked Bill to assess the show's enduring appeal. "When it started there was a lot fo kitchen sink drama around and people were pleased to sit back and laugh at this rather gentle company of people," he says, "The younger viewers enjoyed the Mack Sennet routines - the chases and so on - while the older viewers found it extremely nostalgic."

Bill himself had come from a variety background, including playing at the Windmill, and has recently returned to farce with two big hits for the Theatre of Comedy Company in London. "The rest of the Dad's Army cast were all actors, really, so I'd never worked with any of them beofre. We were all terribly different but there was a tremendous camaraderie between us. It was very hard work, but we had wonderfully happy times. You can't help but be sad when you look back now, can you?"

David Gillard, Radio Times, 14th July 1984