"Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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"Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Watching the "DA" episode "We Know Our Onions", done almost entirely on location due to a strike ( apparently) only the first scene done in studio, presumably during another episodes recording, but no mention of which one that I can find anywhere.

Also the episode "The Recruit", recorded after James Beck was taken ill, I don't know if that was an entirely different script or a partial rewrite, but no exterior filming ( again presumably there had been more filming done with the cast for that episode?).
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Private Frazer »

Mark wrote:Watching the "DA" episode "We Know Our Onions", done almost entirely on location due to a strike ( apparently) only the first scene done in studio, presumably during another episodes recording, but no mention of which one that I can find anywhere...
The 1973 part on this webpage mentions several filming days concluding with
"parts already filmed at Thetford were coupled with new scenes filmed at Brighton on the 11th – 13th June"

Says the filming at Thetford was for the later series 9; the making of DA sounds like quite an operation
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Thanks for that.

The reference to the 73 Thetford filming for series 9 must be a typo though, should say series 6.

The "Onions" episode wasn't completely on location as stated, as I mentioned there is a scene in studio with Jones on the telephone to Hodges, uses the Vicars office and Hodges shop ( with Hodges standing in front of a single flat of shelving).

Must have been done during the recording of one of the series 6 episodes, the Vicars office would be there anyway, but Hodges' single flat would have been squeezed in somewhere on the night.

"The Recruit" episode probably was just re-written as stated, rather than a new script, would be tricky ( if not impossible) to write a completely new one at such short notice.

Wonder if the original script still exists, the broadcast version of the episode has no location footage, which is unusual for a "DA" episode, if there was any done for it for the original script version, it would have featured James Beck of course.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Mark wrote:"The Recruit" episode probably was just re-written as stated, rather than a new script, would be tricky ( if not impossible) to write a completely new one at such short notice.

Wonder if the original script still exists, the broadcast version of the episode has no location footage, which is unusual for a "DA" episode, if there was any done for it for the original script version, it would have featured James Beck of course.
What version appears in the script book/s (I only have the "lost" episodes one)?
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Same here, I have only the "Lost Episodes" one.

I suppose it's likely the script book only features the broadcast version though.

Looking at that timeline , I think it would either have been "The Deadly Attachment" or "My British Buddy" that had the "Onions" studio scene added, the scenery flat of Hodges Shop would probably have been put up on the Church Hall set.

Possibly the edited film footage was played onto tape straight after the newly recorded scene and shown to the Audience on Monitors for their reaction/Laughter ( or the whole thing was post edited and shown to a later audience in the same way).

Again, according to that timeline, the new "Onions" location filming took place on Mon 11th-Wed 13th June, with the studio recording cancelled for Friday the 15th, although that weeks "Blue Peter" editions weren't affected or Tuesday's final recording day for the "Who" serial, "The Time Warrior" or the first episode of "Moonbase 3", rehearsed and recorded the following Mon and Tues 18th/19th June.

So presumably a one day strike.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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A few quick mentions of some other series with hurried changes made to them.

The first episode of the final series of "Man About The House", "The Party's Over", was without Sally Thomsett unusually, perhaps she had a cold or something, so her lines, or some of them at least, were given over to Doug Fisher's character Larry, by the look of it, which makes the character's behaviour seem a little different.

Famously, the last episode of "Randall And Hopkirk Deceased", "The Ghost Talks" was a hasty rewrite after Mike Pratt broke his leg and Marty is back with us through flashbacks.

The "Upstairs Downstairs" episode "The Wages Of Sin" was without Christopher Beeny as Edward, after he had a very serious Motorbike accident, and actress Jane Carr was quickly brought in as a maid and given Beeny's lines.

"The Avengers" episode "Warlock" from series 2 had changes made to it, it was meant to introduce Cathy Gale, but when they opted to start with "Mr Teddy Bear" instead, new material was recorded at a later date and edited in, as the character was now well established.

One scene, from the final part, starts with Gale's car screeching to a halt (original scene, in studio) Steed jumps out and is on OB outside Teddington in the rest of the scene.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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Sticking with "The Avengers", there were the two episodes re-filmed with Diana Rigg after Elisabeth Shepherd departed the series.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by wittoner »

A few episodes of "Auf Weidersehn Pet" had to be rejigged to work around the absence of Gary Holton's character Wayne following Gary's untimely sudden death.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Ah yes, good one, sadly it seems to be one of the main reasons for production changes.

It has brought to mind another one, Duncan Lamont died after completing the location filming for the "Blakes 7" episode, "Hostage", and was replaced by John Abineri.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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Don't know if this is relevant but I remember the Lady Caroline actor Isla Blair being replaced by Lois Baxter in 'When The Boat Comes In'.

Series 2 started with a reprise of the Series 1 ending with the very different Lady Caroline as played by the dark haired Baxter in place of the red haired Blair I recall.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by ian b »

Focus II wrote:Don't know if this is relevant but I remember the Lady Caroline actor Isla Blair being replaced by Louis Baxter in 'When The Boat Comes In'.
Blimey, that would have been a bit of a shock for the viewers...

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Yes!... a gender change would be very noticeable!...Lois Baxter, of course.

Think that was just a cast change between series 2 and 3, presumably Isla Blair wasn't available.

Just spotted another interesting "Dad's Army" one.

I was just watching the "DA" episode "Number Engaged" on Gold, and Arnold Ridley is absent from the location sequences, perhaps he was unwell.

He appears in a tent (in studio) talking to Mainwaring ( who is outside on location) there is one shot of him with one line of dialogue, on location, clearly done on a different day, as there is no one else with him, and in shots of the cast by the telegraph pole, there is clearly a stand-in ( in a white wig) back to camera, with one shot of the character from the front, but with his hand in front of his face.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Watching "Robin's Nest" tonight, (It's on series 5) it's the odd situation where Albert has gone off to run his mobile café, so he hardly appears in the first two episodes, only in short scenes in a Telephone box ( in studio).

Perhaps David Kelly was unavailable for the start of the series, and recorded the phone box scenes with episode 3 as inserts?
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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ian b wrote:
Focus II wrote:Don't know if this is relevant but I remember the Lady Caroline actor Isla Blair being replaced by Louis Baxter in 'When The Boat Comes In'.
Blimey, that would have been a bit of a shock for the viewers...
Well spotted typo! Now corrected.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Private Frazer »

I saw the DA episode 'The Miser's Hoard' recently featuring John Laurie quite a bit and realized that there still one or two episodes of Dad's Army that I don't think I have ever seen. I have listened to all the Radio episodes. Feeling very lucky and high time I got a boxed set!
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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Mark wrote:
Famously, the last episode of "Randall And Hopkirk Deceased", "The Ghost Talks" was a hasty rewrite after Mike Pratt broke his leg and Marty is back with us through flashbacks.

Was this the last episode to be filmed? I noticed in Someone just walked over my grave that there appears to be a stand in for Mike during the country house scenes and often wondered if that related to his accident?

I don't like to notice such things on favourite TV shows but I have seen R&H so many times now over the years and it continues to draw me in wherever it's on again....for some reason.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

"Ghost Talks" last, but "Someone" was the penultimate one, it's possible he had his accident during that episodes production ( although, as you know, using doubles for scenes where a character has no dialogue was common).

He's in the exteriors for the Graveyard scenes, but that was a set at Elstree, I think.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by fatcat »

Mark wrote:"Ghost Talks" last, but "Someone" was the penultimate one, it's possible he had his accident during that episodes production ( although, as you know, using doubles for scenes where a character has no dialogue was common).

He's in the exteriors for the Graveyard scenes, but that was a set at Elstree, I think.
Ta
As I always thought "Someone" had been the last one, it is not a favourite of mine as I felt it was a bit shambolic, sort of one of those "quick get it done before the money runs out" episodes LOL

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

fatcat wrote:
Mark wrote:"Ghost Talks" last, but "Someone" was the penultimate one, it's possible he had his accident during that episodes production ( although, as you know, using doubles for scenes where a character has no dialogue was common).

He's in the exteriors for the Graveyard scenes, but that was a set at Elstree, I think.
Ta
As I always thought "Someone" had been the last one, it is not a favourite of mine as I felt it was a bit shambolic, sort of one of those "quick get it done before the money runs out" episodes LOL
I like it, but it is a very odd episode, almost like they were making it up as they went along, but the wackier the better for me.

Kenneth Cope did say some scripts worked and some didn't.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

I have an Interesting theory about "The Army Game" that may be completely wrong...but...

We know it was made at Granada's London Studio 10, the Chelsea Palace, but could it have started in Manchester for the first 5 episodes?

The first episode was broadcast live on the 19th June 1957, but it was supposedly early August when Granada started converting The Chelsea.

In a short article in the early 60's, Bernard Bresslaw mentions the first episode being made in a 'Small studio' with the audience being in the Canteen nearby with their laughter being relayed through speakers in the studio, which was faint and with several seconds delay.

So odd was this for the cast, that the second episode was performed without an audience!

The series was screened fortnightly, Episode 5 was broadcast on August 14, there was then a month's gap before the next one ( The Aug 28 episode was postponed until 58), episode 6 ("The Mad Bull") on Sept 11, which incidentally is the earliest surviving episode, could be the first one at The Chelsea.

Studio 10 was certainly up and running by then , as "Chelsea At Nine" started on the 17th of that month.

So, could it be that the first 5 were at Quay St?
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by stearn »

Whilst not in itself clear that production was in Manchester, this interview/article in the Worthing Gazette with Bill Hartnell does state the show is telecast from Manchester:

Worthing Gazette

This one, from the Daily Herald, is more specific and supports your theory - the production moved from Manchester to Chelsea:

Daily Herald

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Brilliant...thanks very much for those, VERY interesting.

Although I got the move wrong, obviously happened at the time it went weekly, which makes more sense, that second clipping must be from Dec 20th, which was episode 13, "The Thing from Outer Space", so either that one or the next, "W.R.A.A.C.S" was the first from The Chelsea.

The postponed episode "The New Man" was because Hartnell was taken ill, eventually went out the previous week to "Thing" and episode 5 was also without Hartnell for the same reason.
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Post by stearn »

Hover over the links and the file name gives you the details of the publication and the publication date

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Oh yes, so you can, July and December, didn't realise that, I looked up the date of the George Kennan programme!

So the best part of six months at Quay Street, with the cast toing and froing between London and Manchester.

Presumably rehearsing each one in London and travelling to Granada for the recording, as with many Granada shows over the years.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

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Mark wrote:Thanks for that.

The reference to the 73 Thetford filming for series 9 must be a typo though, should say series 6.
Sorry I am very late to the party here but that Dd's Army Timeline is my work, and the number is correct. It refers to the series as filmed. They filmed twelve series of Dad's Army, i.e. the location filming was done in twelve different periods, as was the studio filming. This is different from the series as broadcast, because for some reason the BBC held back three series to combine them with the next series when broadcast, so only 9 series were broadcast if you look at it that way, but twelve were filmed. As it is a chronological timeline I used the series filming numbers.
Mark wrote:"The Recruit" episode probably was just re-written as stated, rather than a new script, would be tricky ( if not impossible) to write a completely new one at such short notice.
The Recruit and Things That Go Bump In The Night were both hastily adapted to remove Walker's lines, and to explain his absence in The Recruit, but they remained largely the same apart from that. Of course that the time The Recruit was made Jimmy Beck was still alive, just in com.

Listen to the radio versions, both used the original untouched scripts (which of course a little adaptation for radio) but Walker appears in both (played brilliantly by Larry Martyn).
Mark wrote:Wonder if the original script still exists, the broadcast version of the episode has no location footage, which is unusual for a "DA" episode, if there was any done for it for the original script version, it would have featured James Beck of course.
From memory there was never intended to be any location footage for this episode so none was ever filmed.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Dave Homewood »

Mark wrote:Just spotted another interesting "Dad's Army" one.

I was just watching the "DA" episode "Number Engaged" on Gold, and Arnold Ridley is absent from the location sequences, perhaps he was unwell.

He appears in a tent (in studio) talking to Mainwaring ( who is outside on location) there is one shot of him with one line of dialogue, on location, clearly done on a different day, as there is no one else with him, and in shots of the cast by the telegraph pole, there is clearly a stand-in ( in a white wig) back to camera, with one shot of the character from the front, but with his hand in front of his face.
Arnold had a fall and broke his leg just before the location filming was done for that final series. He missed some of the location shoot but did turn up partway through and they did some close up shots with him so his big plaster cast was not seen by the camera. You'll note this in a couple of episodes I think. A couple of scenes they used one of the platoon extras, Vernon Drake, to stand in as Godfrey and you see his back and the red cross satchel so assume it is Arnold. By the time they did the studio filming he was much more on the mend and so he was find to do those scenes in the hall, etc.

Bill Pertwee recalled when on location the day Arnold finally showed up in car, David Croft went to greet him and was seen by the other cast from behind shaking his hand vigorously. John Laurie quipped to the others on set, "Look, he's pumping him up!"

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Dave Homewood »

Another example of the hasty last minute rewrite must surely be in Hi-De-Hi when Leslie Dwyer who played Mr Partridge either got too sick to take part or he died, not sure which, because in two episodes the lines that would have certainly been said between Fred Quilly and Partridge were instead between Quilly and a new character of a random maintenance man who's in the Quilly/Partridge chalet fixing a sink. The character was played by Ronnie Brody. He even starts off with "Listen to that silly cow" which Partridge was renowned for saying.

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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Ah right, so series 3, 4 and 5 were each, two series stuck together, making series 6...series 9 as filmed.

Interesting info on Arnold Ridley, and I must listen again to the two Radio episodes that featured Walker!

That "Hi-De-Di" change was a good spot as well,
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Mark »

Thinking about it, it's likely The BBC wanted longer series of "Dad's Army", so they made them in pairs of production blocks.

If they stuck to one block (of 13 or so episodes), per series, not only would they have been well ahead of themselves, it would have been a long production schedule for the 'Older' members of the cast.
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Re: "Dads Army" (and other TV production changes)

Post by Dave Homewood »

And another consideration for making the series in smaller chunks is many of the actors were in great demand in other TV programmes, rdio series, advertising, stage work, etc, so maybe it was easier to schedule recordings in shorter periods?

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