Speaker Barry Smith

Wed, Feb 7th 2024 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

High Sheriff Mr Karim was unable to attend so Barry gave a talk about Dad's Army. Speaker Finder Barry Smith, Visitors Host, Grace & Banners John Barrow, Cash Desk & Sergeant at Arms Mike Clewes

Following the death this week of Ian Lavender, Barry decided to give a talk on one of his favourite comedy programmes. He had 26 magazines on Dad's Army.

The first episode was aired in July 1968 with the first two series being in black and white followed by 7 more in colour. The programme was regularly seen by 16 million viewers.

Despite being about a fictional town on the south coast it was actually filmed in Norfolk at Thetford. There is now a museum there devoted to Dad’s Army.

The last episode was in 1977 and a lot of cast died within a few years of it ending. Ian was the last actor to die. It was originally to be called the Fighting Tigers in Bright Sea. Also, most of the character’s names were changed. Jimmy Perry devised and wrote the theme song which was recorded by Bud Flannigan who died shortly after recording it. He was also a co-writer with David Croft of the scripts. In the original theme song 4 lines written by Perry were omitted: -

“So watch out Mister Hitler 
You have met you match in us 
If you think you can crush us 
We’re afraid you’ve missed the bus.”

The BBC lost 3 episodes and so  TV Gold remade the missing episodes with new actors. Barry thought these episodes were very poor compared to the original.

The programme was soon regard as the epitome of classic comedy but originally the BBC thought the subject matter might not be acceptable and the first few programmes were panned by the critics. Ian Lavender only 22 when started playing Frank Pike. The next youngest was Clive Dunn who at 44 played the doddering old butcher Jack Jones. The programme was so popular because it was good clean family entertainment with gentle humour, well written with experienced actors.

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