Trivia / Dad's Army

  • Acting for Two: In the 1975 Christmas Special "My Brother and I", Arthur Lowe starred as both Mainwaring and Mainwaring's estranged brother.
  • Actor Allusion: Ian Lavender is a fan of Aston Villa and chose to wear a claret and blue scarf (the club's colours) as Pike as a way of showing support for his team.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Most of the cast were veterans, some of both World Wars. John Laurie and Arnold Ridley were particularly affected by their experiences (Ridley suffered from blackouts and nightmares for most of his life).
    • In addition, Laurie was the only member of the cast to have actually served in the Home Guard.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: It's "Don't tell him, Pike!", not "Don't tell him your name, Pike!"
  • The Character Died with Him: Averted. When Jimmy Beck suddenly died, Walker was phased out (one episode explained his absence by having Mainwaring reading a note saying that he'd gone to London to do a deal). Rather than recast the role, his spot was filled by other characters.
  • Creator Backlash:
    Iíve played every part in Shakespeare, I was considered to be the finest Hamlet of the twenties and I had retired, and now Iím famous for doing this crap.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Jimmy Perry named "Branded" as his favourite episode, while David Croft's favourite was "Mum's Army".
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Ian Lavender was 22 at the start of the series playing the 17 to 18-year-old Frank Pike and 31 when the series ended while Pike had not aged.
    • Inverted with Corporal Jones, who was in his late seventies at the very least, but was played by the then-48 Clive Dunn. Meaning that, ironically, the oldest member of the platoon was played by one of the youngest members of the cast.
  • Development Hell: BBC executives were not confident that the public would react well to a comedy about World War II and constantly tried to kill the project. Jimmy Perry and David Croft had to fight tooth and nail to even get a pilot approved and had trouble casting the role of Mainwaring (their early choices refused to participate because of issues like the subject matter and the low salarynote ). After the pilot was completed, the executives constantly asked for changes (see below), with Perry and Croft having to walk a very fine line in order to make sure that the show would be transmitted in a reasonable time slot. To add to their woes, the pilot was nearly killed by an early version demographics testing saying that the sample audience didn't like the concept.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Worried that the sitcom would be criticised for ridiculing the Home Guard, the BBC insisted on adding an opening scene to the first episode. It shows Mainwaring, in 1968, giving a speech at a formal dinner in which he explains how he and his men "backed Britain" in 1940. The scene lasts a minute-and-a-half, has no jokes whatsoever, and has no relation to the rest of the story. Had it been broadcast in an age when there were more than just three TV channels in the UK, it could well have killed the series before it even began, and co-writer Jimmy Perry suspected it was responsible for the overwhelmingly negative feedback from the test audience who got a preview screening of the first episode.
    • The opening titles were originally going to show real footage of soldiers in World War II, but BBC executives objected to this, fearing it was Too Soon and could be seen as mockery of those who served in the war. So they were changed to the now iconic animation of a British flag advancing and retreating across Europe.
    • In a positive example, BBC Head of Comedy Michael Mills changed the title from The Fighting Tigers to Dad's Army and suggested that David Croft co-write the series with Jimmy Perry. He also cast John Le Mesurier as Sgt Wilson, changed the town's name to Walmington-on-Sea and renamed a few characters: Jim Jones became Jack Jones, James Duck became James Frazer and Joe Fish became Joe Walker.
  • Hostility on the Set: Although the cast generally got on well with each other, there were problems between some actors. John Laurie intensely disliked Arnold Ridley, often needling him about his advanced age and frailty (although Laurie was in fact only a year younger than Ridley) while Arthur Lowe and Clive Dunn didn't get on due to the two men's personal politics (Lowe was a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party whereas Dunn was an enthusiastic and committed socialist). Bill Pertwee claimed that he was looked down on by some of the other actors because of his background in variety rather than "serious" theatre. Lowe's refusal to take scripts home with him ("I'm not having that rubbish in the house") also rankled with his co-stars, as it meant he could never remember his lines.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Unlike Mr. Hodges, Bill Pertwee was known for being a lovely man in Real Life.
  • Missing Episode: Until 2001, "Sgt Wilson's Little Secret" was the only known surviving episode from Series 2. Two episodes ("Operation Kilt" and "The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage") were subsequently recovered and remastered, but three ("The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker", "A Stripe for Frazer",note  and "Under Fire") remain lost. One of the colour episodes only survived in black and white; it has since been recolourized, though the colour version has not yet been released on DVD. The BBC have also made an animated reconstruction of "A Stripe for Frazer".
  • The Other Darrin: Mrs Pike was recast for The Movie because the studio felt the original actress wasn't high-profile enough. During the live stage show, several parts were recast while the TV actors had other commitments.
  • Playing Against Type: Arthur Lowe usually played Drill Sergeant Nasty types and was thus originally supposed to be the barking sergeant to John Le Mesurier's Officer and a Gentleman (to see them in these roles, check out Jones' Sudan War flashback in "The Two and A Half Feathers").
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Pike's occasional girlfriend Ivy was played by Ian Lavender's wife in one of her appearances, the episode "My British Buddy".
    • Arthur Lowe's wife, Joan Cooper, took over the role of Godfrey's sister Dolly towards the end of the show's run and played other guest roles during the course of the series.
  • Wag the Director: Captain Mainwaring was originally going to have a grenade dropped down his trousers in "The Deadly Attachment", but Arthur Lowe had a clause in his contract that he would not be filmed without his trousers on, so it went to Jones.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Jimmy Perry initially wrote the role of Walker for himself, believing that this would be the ideal opportunity to show off his comedy skills and further his acting career. David Croft had to dissuade Perry of this notion, pointing out that having the show's creator and writer in the cast would breed resentment since the other actors would constantly be wondering if Perry was giving himself all the good lines.
    • Jon Pertwee was offered the role of Captain Mainwaring, but he turned it down, as he was in the middle of a theatrical tour.
    • David Jason was considered for Corporal Jones, as he had a knack for playing older characters.
  • Word of God: Ian Lavender waited until very late in the show's run to ask Jimmy Perry if Pike really was Wilson's son. Perry replied, "Of course he was!". David Croft also confirmed it as fact in interviews.
  • Working Title: The Fighting Tigers.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Jimmy Perry drew on his experiences in The Home Guard.
    • The writers cleverly crafted various characters to be like the actors who portrayed them, giving them their own (exaggerated) character traits. Hence Mainwaring had Arthur Lowe's pomposity and Wilson had John Le Mesurier's carefree and absent minded personality. Clive Dunn was known as a waffler, which led to Jones' long winded and rambling monologues. Frazer received John Laurie's sharp tongue and dour manner: when they were making the first series he bluntly told Jimmy Perry that the show was "a lot of rubbish" and "doomed". Frazer's rivalry with Godfrey reflected the real life enmity between the actors.

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