Dad’s Army (BBC1, 1968-1977)
This is one of the longest-running and most popular sitcoms that there has ever been in this country, so it’s hard to know what to say about this really that people wouldn’t already know. Even though this ended in 1977, this still feels so familiar. Of course I should get out of the way the cliché that when I was younger I thought that this was called He’s Dead, He’s Dead, He’s Dead…
I suppose that all there is to say is that this is the sitcom that featured a mismatched group of Local Defence Volunteers, taking a break from their usual jobs in the fictional town of Walmington-On-Sea, during the Second World War. There are a lot of memorable characters, and when you mix in some catchphrases, well that is clearly a winning formula, some find the interplay of the cast impossible to tire of.
I think that the first time I saw some episodes was when there was repeat run on Saturday Nights in the early-90s, and even then his had become a much-revered sitcom. And this has barely left the screen since, despite there being a DVD release, episodes still regularly turn up on BBC2 (and rate higher than most new shows), and when you add the repeats on UK Gold, the repeats probably run into the thousands.
One example of the popularity was when cast member Clive Dunn had a chart-topping single in 1971, although not as his Dad’s Army character, that would’ve been rather odd. There was also a film that did well, and a radio version that has often been repeated too. There have also been some documentaries that have tried to analyse the success, including one hosted by fan Victoria Wood.
Another indication of the enduring popularity is how many times in more recent years the cast have been reimagined. There has been a stage show, a second film, and a drama, all with different people playing these characters. And what did I think of the idea of restaging some of the episodes that had been lost in the archive? Er, would you mind if I was excused?