Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

What's not currently on the box
Dave Homewood
405 lines
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:32 am

Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Dave Homewood »

Episode 1 "The Man And The Hour" was first broadcast on the BBC on the 31st of July 1968.

Still as funny now as ever.

billo
405 lines
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by billo »

yes I enjoyed it the other night on BBC2

- intresting too to see the 'regular they quickly dropped' - the upper class Gent in the front line played by John Ringham, who looked as if he was intended to be a prominently featured character, tho' perhaps on looking at the pilot they felt they already had a 'upper class Toff' character in John Le Mesurier's Wilson

and Jonsey was obviously the one to be the main slapstick figure (the oldest character played by one of the younger cast members who was quite able etc)

thus John Ringham's upper class chap was deemed to be superflous....?

User avatar
Richard Charles Skryngestone
625 lines
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:53 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

Ringham's Bracewell character was actually dropped for being too similar in role to Godfrey. Obviously not age-wise, but in being the polite gentleman type.
Great News Inside, Chums!

Richard F
405 lines
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:48 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Richard F »

billo wrote:yes I enjoyed it the other night on BBC2

- intresting too to see the 'regular they quickly dropped' - the upper class Gent in the front line played by John Ringham, who looked as if he was intended to be a prominently featured character, tho' perhaps on looking at the pilot they felt they already had a 'upper class Toff' character in John Le Mesurier's Wilson

and Jonsey was obviously the one to be the main slapstick figure (the oldest character played by one of the younger cast members who was quite able etc)

thus John Ringham's upper class chap was deemed to be superflous....?
Did they include the opening in full - set at an "I'm Backing Britain" dinner in 1968 where all the platoon is seated at the top table having made it big in Warmington and Mainwaring is guest of honour - introduced as "my great friend" by Wilson!

Mark
Committee
Posts: 3251
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:26 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mark »

Yes, the opening sequence at the dinner was present and correct.

Best line has to be, Walker's response to Mainwaring who wants Godfrey's gun, and suggests he could be shot, if he doesn't hand it over.

"That'd be a bit tricky, since he's the only one with a gun..!"

Radio 4 Extra are running the radio series at the moment, as well.
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

brigham
HD
Posts: 1038
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by brigham »

I'd forgotten about that. The 'wartime' sequences are in flashback, aren't they? Did the last episode return to the opening dinner?

User avatar
Matty
405 lines
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:08 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Matty »

brigham wrote:I'd forgotten about that. The 'wartime' sequences are in flashback, aren't they? Did the last episode return to the opening dinner?
Much as I love the ending of the last episode of Dads Army, it somewhat disappointingly didn't cut back to the dinner.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mike S »

That pre-titles sequence takes the sting out of the whole 'Could they actually die?' question that hangs over the whole series. In fact, was this actually a demand from the BBC, for precisely that reason? Thankfully, the first episode is hardly ever repeated, so most people have never seen it.

It's a good first episode, but I do cringe at the bit where Mainwaring says (words to the effect of) 'Right, we've seen the main characters - we'll interview the peripheral extras later on.' Up The Women wouldn't have got away with writing as bad as that.

It's odd how ancient the first series seemed when it was repeated (for the first time?) in 1998. Time-wise, it's the exact equivalent of The Black Adder getting a repeat today.

billo
405 lines
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by billo »

As the first series was in black & white and by the end of the show BBC had been in colour for a few years I assume the writers didn't bother to hark back to the 'modern day' setting of the opening scene in the pilot, which by the end of a successful run was long behind ...

a further very real continuity problem of course was by the end of the show dear old (or rather quite young !) Jimmy Beck (Walker) had sadly and unexpectedly passed away, thus the apparently successful & wealthy looking older 'businessman' sixties Walker who is depicted happily puffing away on a cigar at the 1968 'I'm Backing Britain' dinner with Alderman George Mainwaring ....could not be featured (otherwise maybe they MIGHT have brought it full circle and back to the modern day function ?)

The first b/w series while it was repeated at the time in the late sixties was not to my recollection shown again in full for many years ( the odd episode like the one with the firearms museum was shown later as an early b/w example 'lead in' to colour episode repeats I seem to recall) - thus most of us had likely forgotten about the pre-titles modern day function scene anyway...

They ended it with Jonesy marrying the widow Mrs. Fox & finally them all raising their glasses to (seriously) toast & salute 'The Home Guard' of WW2 I recall, which was a nice genuine gesture - similar to the non comedic real life 'remembrance' to the fallen (and surviving combatants) of The Great War at the end of Black Adder Goes Forth.

- reminding us that for all the hilarious comedy these shows writers, producers, & actors were well aware of the real life conflicts the series were set in (indeed several of the Dad's Army cast had fought - Arnold Ridley was badly wounded in The First World War so I understand) .

brigham
HD
Posts: 1038
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by brigham »

billo wrote:
...a further very real continuity problem of course was by the end of the show dear old (or rather quite young !) Jimmy Beck (Walker) had sadly and unexpectedly passed away, thus the apparently successful & wealthy looking older 'businessman' sixties Walker who is depicted happily puffing away on a cigar at the 1968 'I'm Backing Britain' dinner with Alderman George Mainwaring ....could not be featured (otherwise maybe they MIGHT have brought it full circle and back to the modern day function ?)

.
They didn't actually kill Pte. Walker off though, did they? I can't remember how his absence was explained, if at all.

To all intents and purposes, 'they' might just have caught up with him.

User avatar
Bob Richardson
625 lines
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:47 pm
Location: Gallifrey west

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Bob Richardson »

brigham wrote:
billo wrote:
...a further very real continuity problem of course was by the end of the show dear old (or rather quite young !) Jimmy Beck (Walker) had sadly and unexpectedly passed away, thus the apparently successful & wealthy looking older 'businessman' sixties Walker who is depicted happily puffing away on a cigar at the 1968 'I'm Backing Britain' dinner with Alderman George Mainwaring ....could not be featured (otherwise maybe they MIGHT have brought it full circle and back to the modern day function ?)

.
They didn't actually kill Pte. Walker off though, did they? I can't remember how his absence was explained, if at all.

To all intents and purposes, 'they' might just have caught up with him.
I recall that Walker didn't turn up for the parade one evening (after Jimmy Beck's death), but left a note saying he'd gone up to The Smoke (London) on a special job, or something of that nature. Mainwaring made a caustic comment when the note was read out to the platoon.
"Forfar 5 - East Fife 4"

Mark
Committee
Posts: 3251
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:26 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mark »

Yes, sadly, he was last seen, on film only, in the episode "Things That Go Bump In The Night".

A rare Beeb boob tonight, they showed episode 3, with episode 2 scheduled for next Saturday...unusual.!
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

ian b
D-MAC
Posts: 653
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:58 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by ian b »

billo wrote:The first b/w series while it was repeated at the time in the late sixties was not to my recollection shown again in full for many years ( the odd episode like the one with the firearms museum was shown later as an early b/w example 'lead in' to colour episode repeats I seem to recall)...
The first epsiode had it's second UK repeat on BBC2 in 1982, as the lead-in to most of a repeat run of the third series - when they still had to use the b/w TR of SOMETHINGF NASTY IN THE VAULT.

The second episode was used for C4's Bill Cotton Night, while the other four shows from the original run weren't seen again until the vhs releases of 1993, (with some music subs). They turned up at fairly regular intervals ever since on BBC2.

billo
405 lines
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by billo »

It's true they never 'killed off' Private Walker - in fact Ian Lavender (who very honestly said; 'Jimmy was irreplacable & we all felt that there was always 'something missing' in the episodes thereafter...') pointed out that their own 'tribute' to Jimmy Beck was that by unanimous agreement they left him in the 'closing credits footage' of the unit as we see Jonesy, Walker, & finally Mainwaring - bringing up the rear ! - all run towards the camera as the men are depicted either 'in action' or (more likely) during a training mock battle sequence - they thus kept James Beck a part of the show after his tragic early death for the remaining episodes...

In the show, as stated above, we learn via his message that Walker has 'popped off up the Smoke' (to London) and after that he's never mentioned again in the show - James Beck, as stated above, being last seen in the show in the pre-filmed location footage of the episode; 'Things That Go Bump in the Night' which was completed after his death with studio filming of them 'in Jonesy's van' (Walker is 'unseen in the back' then ordered to stay and guard the van by Capt. Mainwaring) - hence his absence for the studio footage both in the van & then overnight in the house - presumably an emergency 're-write' (I recall Jimmy Beck passed away from Peritonitis overnight I think it was a Friday night, I was shocked to learn of his passing on the morning radio news) - it came out of the blue !

in the show they initially tried adding Talfyn ('the teeth') Thomas as Welsh war corresponant Private Cheeseman - I've heard the others (apparently led by an irate John Laurie) were most upset he was getting 'too many laughs' thus the 'replacement' character was quietly dropped - tho' as Ian lavender said no one could ever replace Jimmy Beck in the TV show

Later BBC Radio Versions with Walker:
On Radio later both Graham Stark & Larry Martyn (Mr. Mash early on in 'Are You Being Served ?') did re-create 'Private Joe Walker' for the latter Radio episodes of 'Dad's Army' doing recognisable 'cockney wide boy' accented versions of Joe who you could mentally picture as the late James Beck's interpretation - Walker was thus slotted BACK into the radio versions of the latter TV show stories such as 'Turkey Dinner' etc with lines (I assume) especially added for him, which was a nice touch...

Last night 'Dad's Army' was NOT billed as being on....it appears it was a last minute change of programme, presumably why episode 3 was shown out of sequence ....whether they will screen episode 3 AFTER they show episode 2 or quietly just continue on with 'episode 4' we shall see...

User avatar
Doom Patrol
625 lines
Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Doom Patrol »

I can't really add anything, as my knowledge of Dad's Army is workmanlike. But it does occur to me that it was very special indeed, written, produced and acted by people who by and large got on and worked so well together. It shows and helped make it one of the best loved programmes on British TV. Sorry for stating the blatantly obvious....

billo
405 lines
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by billo »

your opinion is most welcome & every bit as valid as anyone else's !

I think one key factor re Dad's Army's initial success and later 'special place' in the Nation's affection is that to start with many of the cast were already well known to us

- Arthur Lowe through 'Coronation Street' & 'Pardon The Expression' & 'Turn out The Lights' (oddly playing an intially serious character 'Mr. Leonard Swindley' in 'Corrie' who later became a comedy character in a couple of spinoff sitcoms !) - Arthur was also featured in the ITV sitcom 'Doctor At Large' too in that period.

John Le Mesurier we knew from a good few sitcoms - from appearances in 'Hancock' (notably 'The Lawyer' & 'The Lift') to 'George & The Dragon' with Sid James & Peggy Mount...

Clive Dunn played a very close cousin to 'Jonsey' as 'Johnson' in 'Bootsie & Snudge' (a spinoff from 'The Army Game' with Bill Fraser & Alfie Bass) - where Clive dressed up as an older character just like Jack Jones plus Clive was in 'Hancock' ('The Reunion Party' & on record was in 'The Radio Ham' etc)

while John Laurie, Arnold Ridley etc were know names from older films etc

Most of the Dad's Army cast (Lowe, Le Mesurier, Dunn, Laurie, & Ridley) turned up in roles in various episodes of 'The Avengers' too !

so in 1968 when the show first appeared viewers knew that most of the cast were decent comedy actors thus 'gave it a chance' from the word go, the skilled writing & good characters quickly established it as a credible new show and it went from strength to strength - back in 1968 many who had lived through WW2 (and indeed the Great War too) were still with us and it evoked a nostalgia for a Britain at a time about 25-30 years back that although was of terrible peril saw the country overall 'pull together' with a 'wartime spirit' only seen in such times of conflict, thereafter it became a 'charming period piece' for those post war 'baby boomers' , playing on the British ability to 'have a good laugh at our own foibles & failings' etc...
one key aspect was while it made fun of the people of that era...it was still respectful and the BRAVERY of the folk back then (most notably Mainwaring's platoon for all their buffoonery ) was never doubted, and their resolve to 'stand firm' in the face of seemingly impossible odds was never questioned ....

that said the writing was careful to never turn WW2 into 'all a big joke' (unlike say the same writers 'Allo Allo' later which I could never really warm to)

- I think these were they key aspects that really made the nation take 'Dad's Army' to it's heart - I recall during the sudden Falklands conflict in 1982 how 'Dad's Army' was suddenly MORE relevant to us...and the attitude of 'getting on with life' as exemplified by the folks in Walmington-on-Sea was a comfort to many during that worrying & uncertain period (BBC at that time considered stopping a run of episodes when the crisis flared up...then WISELY decided to carry on screening it 'as normal' !) .

The American attempt at 'Dad's Army' titled something like;''The Rear Guard' or so was pretty ghastly from what I've seen of it....

Brock
HD
Posts: 1447
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:13 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Brock »

billo wrote:Later BBC Radio Versions with Walker:
On Radio later both Graham Stark & Larry Martyn (Mr. Mash early on in 'Are You Being Served ?') did re-create 'Private Joe Walker' for the latter Radio episodes of 'Dad's Army' doing recognisable 'cockney wide boy' accented versions of Joe who you could mentally picture as the late James Beck's interpretation
Graham Stark never really fitted the role. I heard him this week in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker", and he clearly had little understanding of the character. Larry Martyn, on the other hand, was perfect - I gather that he was a friend of James Beck in real life, and the script sounded as though it might have been written for him. I think Stark was an emergency replacement who only lasted a few episodes.

Mark
Committee
Posts: 3251
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:26 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mark »

billo wrote:

one key aspect was while it made fun of the people of that era...it was still respectful and the BRAVERY of the folk back then (most notably Mainwaring's platoon for all their buffoonery ) was never doubted, and their resolve to 'stand firm' in the face of seemingly impossible odds was never questioned ....

That's true, even though things didn't always work out, there was always a lot of respect for the characters, and they won the day on many an occasion.'

There was one episode where Mainwaring makes it clear that they may not survive a situation, but it doesn't stop them from going into it, it was very well written.
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

User avatar
Richard Charles Skryngestone
625 lines
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:53 am

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

Did anyone from the MC see the Dad's Army stage show in person? I never did, which remains something of a disappointment. I have of course managed to pick up the audio recording, as well as watching what looks like a third-generation visual copy, but was anyone actually there in the flesh at the time? And if so, what were/are your thoughts?
Great News Inside, Chums!

Steven Oliver
405 lines
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:12 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Steven Oliver »

And, of course, the first episode was also the only one to have audience laughter during the opening titles.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by GarethR »

Mike S wrote:That pre-titles sequence takes the sting out of the whole 'Could they actually die?' question that hangs over the whole series
Does it, though? Hang over the series, that is. Personally, I don't think I ever gave it a moment's thought.

brigham
HD
Posts: 1038
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by brigham »

Some confusion with 'Secret Army', perhaps. The idea of someone in 'Dad's Army' being killed by enemy action is as unlikely as it is inappropriate.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by GarethR »

Thinking about it now, I suppose they they could have had characters killed in bombing raids if they'd wanted to, but as you say, going that far would have been completely wrong for the tone of the series. After all it was a sitcom, not a comedy-drama.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mike S »

Well, any programme set in wartime (sitcom or not) has the grim reaper just out of frame. Dad's Army had no shortage of dark elements, after all - eg, the 'Branded' episode. And the most famous scene ('Don't tell him, Pike') has them encountering real Nazis.

A friend said he used to be distubed by the end credits as a kid, believing them to show the characters genuinely walking into battle. Looking at it again, I see what he means - the final shots (when the music stops except for the military drumming) is pretty chilling, even before the air-raid siren comes in.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by GarethR »

Mike S wrote:Well, any programme set in wartime (sitcom or not) has the grim reaper just out of frame.
It honestly never occurred to me when watching Dad's Army that any of the characters might die in the course of the story. Of course, the closing credits were the cue for older family members to intone "He's dead... he's dead now as well..." as various late cast members appeared, but that's a different thing.

The air raid siren always unsettled me, too.

Mike S
D-MAC
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Mike S »

GarethR wrote: It honestly never occurred to me when watching Dad's Army that any of the characters might die in the course of the story.
I don't think I did as a child, but its black framing is unavoidable to my adult eyes. Ditto Ever Decreasing Circles.

GarethR
HD
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by GarethR »

That's something you've chosen to read into it. I don't think that it was ever Perry and Croft's intention for viewers to contemplate the spectre of death hanging over the characters.

Ditto with It Ain't Half Hot Mum; while there are plots built around the Sergeant-Major's attempts to get the concert party into combat and characters do acknowledge that there's a chance of being killed, there isn't the remotest chance that it might actually happen. Again, it would be too great a tonal leap for a mainstream sitcom of that era.

User avatar
Nick Cooper 625
D-MAC
Posts: 964
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:42 am
Location: Hither Green, London
Contact:

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

GarethR wrote:The air raid siren always unsettled me, too.
Ironically, since it's the steady "all clear" signal.
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

User avatar
David Boothroyd
625 lines
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:26 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by David Boothroyd »

Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
GarethR wrote:The air raid siren always unsettled me, too.
Ironically, since it's the steady "all clear" signal.
Indeed. The passage of time means that it's lost its significance - I always assumed it was a sort of joke, meaning "it's safe now, because the incompetent Home Guard platoon are no longer supposed to be protecting you". How many people now (who aren't devotees of the Protect and Survive adverts) would recognise that it was the 'all clear'?

brigham
HD
Posts: 1038
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Dad's Army turns 45 years old today

Post by brigham »

David Boothroyd wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
GarethR wrote:The air raid siren always unsettled me, too.
Ironically, since it's the steady "all clear" signal.
Indeed. The passage of time means that it's lost its significance - I always assumed it was a sort of joke, meaning "it's safe now, because the incompetent Home Guard platoon are no longer supposed to be protecting you". How many people now (who aren't devotees of the Protect and Survive adverts) would recognise that it was the 'all clear'?
Not Russell T Davles, that's for sure!

Post Reply