It Sticks Out Half A Mile. Image shows from L to R: Frank Pike (Ian Lavender), Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier), Miss Perkins (Vivienne Martin), Bert Hodges (Bill Pertwee). Copyright: BBC.

It Sticks Out Half A Mile

BBC Radio 2 sitcom. 14 episodes (pilot + 1 series), 1983 - 1984. Stars John Le Mesurier, Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee and Vivienne Martin.

Press Clippings

The spin-offs and remakes of Dad's Army

It's unlikely to have escaped any Dad's Army fan's attention that all three of the lost episodes are being remade for UK Gold. But then, Dad's Army is no stranger to remakes and spin offs, so let's have a look at them now...

Rhianna Evans, Super Ink, 24th August 2019

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

There are TV characters who cling to our memories long after their series have been laid to rest. I'm sure many have speculated about those indomitable triers of Dad's Army. Whatever would happen to them when their pikes were taken away?

And that's the inspiration behind It Sticks Out Half a Mile, which transports John Le Mesurier, Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee[/i] into 1948 - into a situation where John is now a bank manager, timid Ian is now a trainee manager at Woolworths and Bill is a wheeler-dealer.

Missing from the contingent are Arthur Lowe and John Laurie, now sadly dead. Ian Lavender says, "I played with that team for 10 years. The atmosphere... was so great between us - and I think that carries on, now we are supposed to be three years older." The advantage of radi, he says, "is that I don't need so much Brylcreem and eyeshadow to disguise myself, my voice is more or less the same."

Robert Ottaway, Radio Times, 12th November 1983