My Old Man. Sam Cobbett (Clive Dunn). Copyright: Yorkshire Television.

Clive Dunn

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

Dad's Army at 50: the history of 'comedy's finest hour'

The leads hated the script and the BBC was terrified of offending veterans. But Dad's Army became a TV phenomenon. We reveal how the Walmington warriors seized victory.

Mark Lawson, The Guardian, 24th July 2018

Why Dad's Army has never been beaten in British comedy

They wouldn't get away with it today. No black faces, nor any character remotely ethnic other than John Laurie's tetchy Scotsman. Women only in subsidiary roles. And certainly no suggestion of sexual ambiguity beyond a wet clergyman. The BBC's modern cultural commissars wouldn't give the pilot script a second glance. White. Middle class. Home Counties. Show him the door, Doris.

Michael Henderson, The Telegraph, 25th October 2016

Radio Times review

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, 26th January 2016

Radio Times review

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

Clive Dunn led an admirably storied life. He was a staunch socialist and often fell out with Arthur 'Captain Mainwaring' Lowe as a result. His cousin was Gretchen Franklin of EastEnders fame. And he was the only known human to defy the ravages of time, not only managing to remain in his mid-eighties for several decades but also parlaying a successful acting and musical career out of this apparent miracle. So his recent death came not only as a shock, but also a surprise - we'd assumed he'd live forever. Sadly this was not the case, but expect fulsome and richly deserved tributes in this posthumous encomium. And expect to have notorious earworm Grandad bouncing around your brain for several days afterwords.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 15th December 2012

No other character in revered sitcom Dad's Army embodied the bulldog spirit better than Lance Corporal Jones. As played for nine years by Clive Dunn, who died last month at the age of 92, Jones was young at heart, intensely loyal and loved by the British public. Co-writer Jimmy Perry based Jones on an old soldier he'd known in the Home Guard who was often heard to remark, "They don't like it up 'em."

Bewigged and moustached, Dunn was only in his 40s when the show began, which enabled him to perform enthusiastic stunts. And so convincing was Dunn at quavery-voiced dodderers that the BBC brought him back in 1979 for kids' sitcom Grandad - also the title of his sleepy, number-one chart hit.

But if it's Dad's Army you're after, don't panic, the 1977 Christmas special is at 8.20pm.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 15th December 2012