TV past

Your Family History - - Agenda: -

It was in this month 40 years ago that the fi­nal episode of Dad’s Army aired on the BBC. It was the last episode in the fi­nal, eighth, se­ries of the hit com­edy – although there were also six spe­cials.

Dad’s Army had started just over nine years ear­lier, first air­ing in July 1968. It de­picted the var­i­ous, chaotic, ex­ploits of the Walm­ing­ton-on-Sea Home Guard dur­ing World War 2 – a Home Guard headed by bank man­ager Cap­tain Main­war­ing. He was ‘as­sisted’ by a mot­ley group of in­di­vid­u­als, from Cock­ney Pri­vate Walker, el­derly Pri­vate God­frey, posh Sergeant Wil­son and Scot­tish doom­sayer Pri­vate Frazer. De­spite their ex­ploits, and the catch­phrases that are still in­stantly recog­nis­able to­day (“Don’t panic!”), the com­edy was rooted in fact, for its cre­ators, Jimmy Perry and David Croft, had based it on their own ex­pe­ri­ences of the war. This is why, de­spite the com­edy, the char­ac­ters are still clearly pa­tri­otic in­di­vid­u­als who are gen­uine in their at­tempts to com­bat the Nazi en­emy and pro­tect their home­land.

Last year, a film di­rected by Oliver Parker at­tempted to bring Dad’s Army to a new gen­er­a­tion, but re­ceived mixed re­views. Per­haps, in this case, the orig­i­nal is very much the best.

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