Dadu2019s Army

Graham McCann

In the summer of 1968, BBC1 screened the pilot edition of a situation-comedy about the British Home Guard. It was not widely expected to catch on, but it did. Decades after the final series ended, ‘Dad’s Army’ is still capable of attracting massive audiences whenever and wherever it is repeated and is generally considered to be the finest sit-com this country has ever produced.

Great sit-coms project back into our homes a wryly exaggerated vision of what it is that makes us who we have no choice but to be; when we laugh at ‘Dad’s Army’ we laugh at ourselves. Walmington-on-Sea’s community of comic characters was brought to life by a brilliant ensemble of performers who, through a mixture of temperament and design, became more and more like the characters they played. Arthur Lowe, unforgettable as the pompous Captain Mainwaring, had it written into his contract that he should not be obliged to remove his trousers in any scene, and refused to take his script home to study because ‘I’m not having that rubbish in the house’, while the urbane John Le Mesurier, who relaxed by listening to jazz at Ronnie Scott’s and savouring vintage wines and spirits, exhibited an elective affinity for Sergeant Wilson. The writers, in turn, were inspired to make the characters more like the actors.

In ‘Dad’s Army’ acclaimed author Graham McCann provides an entertaining and meticulously researched account of the show’s history and an insightful analysis of its enduring appeal. With contributions from the people who planned, produced and performed the programme, and material drawn from the BBC archives, ‘Dad’s Army’ is the definitive story of a very British comedy.

Reviews of Dadu2019s Army

    • ‘I knew that I would enjoy Graham McCann’s book because he started with the best joke British Sitcom has devised…This book is a homage.’ The Times