Who also co-wrote

The Week Middle East - - Obituaries -

in his spare time. At 16, he joined the 10th Hert­ford­shire Bat­tal­ion – the Wat­ford Home Guard. His mother didn’t like him be­ing out so late at night. “She didn’t go so far as mak­ing me wear a scarf,” Perry later re­called – but she came close. Called up to the Royal Ar­tillery, he was posted to the Far East, where he joined his unit’s con­cert party – an ex­pe­ri­ence that would pro­vide the in­spi­ra­tion for an­other of his and Croft’s come­dies, and his per­sonal favourite, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (1974 to 1981). Still dream­ing of be­com­ing an ac­tor, he then en­rolled at Rada, but not un­til he’d spent a sea­son work­ing as a red coat at But­lins. In the mid-1960s, he was work­ing as a bit-part ac­tor when he had the bright idea of writ­ing his own com­edy, and cast­ing him­self in it. The re­sult was a script for what he called The Fight­ing Tigers, which he gave to Croft, then a BBC com­edy pro­ducer. Perry never did get to play the part he’d cre­ated for him­self – the cock­ney spiv Pri­vate Walker – as he was too busy writ­ing; but Dad’s Army turned him and Croft into one of the hottest part­ner­ships in Bri­tish com­edy. Like Perry, Croft had done a stint at But­lins, and in 1980, they pro­duced Hi-de-Hi!, set in a dis­mal post­war hol­i­day camp called Maplins. It ran for nine series. Their fi­nal col­lab­o­ra­tion was You Rang, M’Lord? (1988 to 1993). It was Croft’s idea to end each pro­gramme with the cap­tion You Have Been Watch­ing, but Perry wrote the theme tunes, and for Who Do You Think You Are Kid­ding, Mr Hitler?, sung by Bud Flana­gan, he won an Ivor Novello Award. He was ap­pointed OBE in 1978. He mar­ried the ac­tress Gilda Neeltje in 1953 (her sis­ter, Diane Hol­land, played the snooty dancer Yvonne in Hi-deHi!). They had no chil­dren.

Perry: based Pri­vate Pike on him­self

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