The cre­ator of

The Week Middle East - - Obituaries -

Jimmy Perry, who has died aged 93, cre­ated and co-wrote – with David Croft – one of the best-loved Bri­tish come­dies of all time. But Dad’s Army, based on Perry’s own wartime ex­pe­ri­ence in the Home Guard, was al­most never made, said The Daily Tele­graph. With Mary Whitehouse wag­ing war on the BBC, its ex­ec­u­tives were wor­ried that a show that poked fun at Bri­tain’s war vet­er­ans would just bring them more trou­ble; one head of depart­ment called the con­cept “ab­so­lutely mad”. And test screen­ings of the pi­lot episode were not pos­i­tive: the pub­lic wanted to for­get about the War. But Croft – who was al­ready work­ing for the BBC – man­aged to hide the re­port from his su­pe­ri­ors, and Dad’s Army got the green light. An im­me­di­ate hit, it ran for 80 episodes, at­tract­ing up to 18 mil­lion view­ers. “Of all the cul­tural suc­cess sto­ries of the late 1960s,” noted the his­to­rian Do­minic Sand­brook, “Dad’s Army was not only the most un­ex­pected, but one of the most en­dur­ing.”

Jimmy Perry 1923-2016

Jimmy Perry was born in 1923 into a mid­dle-class fam­ily in Barnes, in south­west London, said The Guardian. His father was an an­tiques dealer, but Jimmy had showbiz as­pi­ra­tions from a young age – and lit­tle in­ter­est in his school­ing. Pre­sent­ing his par­ents with one par­tic­u­larly dis­mal re­port, he de­clared that it didn’t mat­ter be­cause “I’m go­ing to be a famous film star one day”. To this, his father – more in sor­row than in anger – replied: “You stupid boy.” Years later, he would make this the reg­u­lar ad­mo­ni­tion given by the of­fi­cious bank man­ager Cap­tain Main­war­ing to the mol­ly­cod­dled Pri­vate Pike, whom Perry based upon his own younger self. Hav­ing left St Paul’s School at 14, he found a job in a depart­ment store while ap­pear­ing in tal­ent shows

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.