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

A selection of 12 comedians with blue plaques in London

Here's our guide to the 12 comics with blue plaques in London.

Chortle, 12th May 2016

We're Doomed: The Dad's Army Story dramatises the tale of jobbing actor Jimmy Perry (Paul Ritter) who together with his agent's husband David Croft (Richard Dormer) wrote one of the nation's favourite sitcoms. When I first started watching We're Doomed I thought that writer Stephen Russell's work would be up there with other making of dramas such as The Road to Coronation Street and An Adventure in Space and Time. However I gradually realised that We're Doomed lacked the bite of both of those shows and it was a little bit too light for its own good. One of the main problems with We're Doomed was that Dad's Army wasn't beset with many problems aside from a sceptical BBC Boss and an audience who may not have been ready for a comedy about a recently fought war. But what We're Doomed lacked in edge it made up for in two sympathetic lead characters who were played by a couple of fine performers. Paul Ritter perfectly portrayed Perry as the wannabe star who became an accidental sitcom writer after trying to net himself the role of Walker. Ritter's animated turn was perfectly balanced by Richard Dormer's very dry interpretation of the grounded David Croft. The action started to pick up when the familiar faces of the actors started to appear on screen most notably Arthur Lowe who was convincingly portrayed by John Sessions. Sessions made Lowe the star of the show both on and off camera especially when Croft and Perry worried that he'd struggle to remember any of his lines. The humour of the piece was perfectly offset by a couple of more emotional moments such as when Perry realised he wasn't going to play Walker and when later he watched his hero Bud Flanagan perform the iconic Dad's Army theme tune. Even though it was a little rushed, I felt that We're Doomed told its story well primarily due to its combination of wit and sympathetic characters. Ultimately the drama was the perfect fit for the festive schedules and also provided the perfect taster for the upcoming Dad's Army film.

Matt, The Custard TV, 24th December 2015

Radio Times review

From the animated-arrow captions to the church hall set re-creation, this knockabout biopic envelopes Dad's Army fans in a very warm embrace. It charts the meeting, partnership and battles with the Beeb of two of our finest comedy writers, Jimmy Perry and David Croft, whisking us back to the smoke-wreathed 60s - all brown and beige, big specs and high hems.

Writer Stephen Russell holds your hand through the who's who and what's what, but with a lightness of touch and a deep affection for the imperishable Home Guard sitcom. There are lump-in-the-throat moments, too: Perry overseeing his hero Bud Flanagan record the theme tune is a beauty (Bud died shortly afterwards), and the whole thing ends with the perfect pop song.

Paul Ritter and Richard Dormer are superb as flamboyant Perry and commanding Croft. Just as this drama is a tribute to them, so is Dad's Army's longevity. Frank Williams, 84, the show's original vicar, recently told RT, "People have often asked me whether there was a lot of re-writing? No there wasn't, because there wasn't any need to. They produced the goods."

You have been watching their work for four decades, and will be for many years to come.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 16th December 2015

Peter Sellers, Sid James, Bud Flanagan. All Jewish. Who knew? I certainly didn't and it's just one fascinating tidbit unearthed by stand-up David Schneider as he explores why British Jewish comedy is not as successful as its American counterpart.

The most popular reason seems to be that British Jews were more likely to be assimilated into mainstream culture, though David Baddiel does come up with a far-fetched theory that the benefits of political correctness bypassed Jews, meaning that black and Asian people had comedy TV shows while Jews didn't.

The programme is scattered with wonderful Yiddish - "kvetching", "schmaltzy", "shiksa", "sheitel" - and offers a superb chance to hear Matt Lucas (yes, he's Jewish too) describe his plans for a sitcom about a Jewish family in great detail.

David Crawford, Radio Times, 11th October 2011