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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Generous final helping plus Extras
After much speculation and wringing of hands by Dad's Army completists, here is the final installment of the Complete D.A.: three Christmas specials plus an assortment of rare and very welcome extras.

The specials are:

1. Battle of the Giants (1971) 1 hour
2. My Brother and I (1975) 40 minutes
3. The Love of Three Oranges (1976) 30...
Published on 26 Nov 2007 by David Benson

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware of reccomendations
Having ordered the complete boxed set of Dad's Army and the Movie DVD the website suggested most people also order this and offered a small discount if I ordered all three items. On receipt I discoverd the Christmas Specials are already included in the boxed set.
Published 14 months ago by The Fusion Kid


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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Generous final helping plus Extras, 26 Nov 2007
By 
David Benson "david@thinknoevil.com" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
After much speculation and wringing of hands by Dad's Army completists, here is the final installment of the Complete D.A.: three Christmas specials plus an assortment of rare and very welcome extras.

The specials are:

1. Battle of the Giants (1971) 1 hour
2. My Brother and I (1975) 40 minutes
3. The Love of Three Oranges (1976) 30 minutes

The second of these is the famous though little-seen episode where Mainwaring's drunken brother bowls into town: an acting tour-de-force from Arthur Lowe playing both parts.

The extras, for once, do not disappoint. It is as if the BBC has been saving them all up for this last volume and they will be of great interest to fans of the programme:

1. Christmas Night With The Stars: broadcast annually on Christmas night, this was a variety show in which BBC stars performed special mini-versions of their shows, between 10 and 15 minutes long. Featured here are three such appearances (though one has only a soundtrack)

2. Dad's Army - The Passing Years Documentary (1 hour) featuring copious clips and the usual talking heads in the Heroes of Comedy style. Very good.

3. The Coward Revue - early 1970s? (4 minutes) Lowe, le Mesurier and Dunn perform the Coward song from the 1940s Could You Please Oblige us With Bren Gun? - a satire on the Home Guard that anticipated Dad's Army by 20-odd years.

4. Blue Peter - two priceless, in-character appearances by Arthur Lowe (plus John le Mesurier in the first) with John Noakes, Peter Purvis and Leslie Judd

5. Dad's Army On Stage - two items about this highly successful 1975 stage incarnation of the show. First we see filmed segments (4 minutes), shot for Nationwide, live on stage, though with a very badly-dubbed laughter track - includes a brief clip of John le Mes singing A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square; and 15 minutes of home movie footage filmed and amusingly narrated by Frank Williams (the Vicar) during the tour and featuring brief glimpses backstage and from the wings during a performance.

6. Two public information films featuring the cast learning how to use pelican crossings

Plus a photo gallery and Radio Times article on pdf, which I couldn't access on my computer.

Splendid collection!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedic heights, 29 Nov 2008
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
Along with Fawlty Towers, Dads Army is the finest TV comedy of any type made in the 1970's. But not even Fawlty Towers could not match Dads Army in the way it ridiculed the British class system, with the unsurpassed performances of Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier.

These two are the key to the series greatness. Watching the first of the christmas specials again last night it was the scenes with these two that held my attention and made me laugh a lot the most. Mainwaring is pompous and a deserate social climber, whereas Wilson is laid-back and as is shown in one episode (not on this DVD) has upper-class links. However lets not get carried away. The show is one of the best comedies ever made because of the entire main cast, all of whom add something special to the series.

I recently watched a couple of classic Laurel & Hardy shorts. The comparison with Laurel & Hardy is interesting. Most of the time in both shows you know exactly whats going to happen, because the characters are brilliant creations: Hardy will get hit over the head; Pike will get soaked. Laurel will cry; Mainwaring will look exasperated at one of Jones long stories. You could say everything is very predictable and perhaps that is what makes great film or TV comedy. We seem to love a joke even more when we know its coming!

These three Christmas specials maintain the very high standards the main series set. The extras (as detailed in other reviews) are very good and if you look around you can get this very cheap.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walmington's Home Gaurd go Crackers for Christmas!, 12 Jan 2010
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
David Croft and Jimmy Perry and the wonderful cast made three Christmas specials, all of which appear on this DVD. They feature Walmington-on-Sea's nutty, unforgettable Home Gaurd platoon, the equally brilliant actors Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender and James Beck (who only appears in the first story here, as he died before the series ended), getting up to all sorts of hilarious high jinks that really exemplifies why this show has become a classic. One bonus is that you can watch these specials all year round, as they are not necessarily set at Christmas.
The first story is Battle of the Giants, which involves the platoon competing against Captain Mainwaring's bete noir Captain Square and his men in an initiative test based around a race to the church tower. Never mind a laugh a minute, it's a laugh a second. One moment all seasoned fans such as me will appreciate is Sergeant Wilson, Chief Warden Hodges and the bridge. I won't spoil it by telling you what happens. Another good moment is the balloon popping sequence - yes, just like the party game, but with the immortal bayonets. Talking of bayonets, Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones is on particularly clownish - and therefore good - form in this one. It ends with a hilarious bit of comic genius, and in the meanwhile it's packed with funny lines and funnier moments. I can't begin to describe how side-splittingly funny it is.
The next story is My Brother and I, a hilarious and ultimately rather touching story in which it is revealed that Captain Mainwaring has a brother - who is coming to Walmington, and, with a little prompting from Private Frazer, gate crashes Mainwaring's cocktail party. What follows is hilarious, as everyone tries to get him out without Mainwaring's distinguished guests being aware that anything unusual is going on.
Finally, there's one of the ones that's rather more about Walmington's civvie street, and involves Mainwaring and his men helping with the vicar's winter bazaar. It's not really got much of a storyline, but that doesn't hinder it being very funny and with a hilarious punchline.
In short, these are all very good and brilliantly funny, though the hour-long Battle of the Giants is undoubtedly the best. The word 'Christmas Special' is often a byword for tackiness with many series, but Dad's Army, eternally unbeatable, completely breaks that stereotype.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the masters, 16 Nov 2007
By 
S. Marrable "Crazy Diamond" (Highlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
Dads Army is a true great, but like all greats something is missing from the collection. No, not the lost episodes, but the short play performed on the night of a thousand stars, titled Broadcast To The Nation.
If you find it, buy it, a true gem...

An update - 22/11/07,
I purchased this and was very surprised to see not just the special I refer to but the others. To me this Dads Army Special is the true gem of the collection. If you're pondering over it - don't, just buy it!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars have box set dont need this one, 12 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
great tv show just one thing mind, if you have ordered the box set you wont need to buy this one like i did, as its in the box set.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 29 Nov 2010
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
This is a lovely little collection to have. It's not very festive, but that's because Dad's Army didn't really do festive specials, and my favourite of these episodes, My Brother and I (a real tour de force by Arthur Lowe), isn't even to do with the war! All the same, there are some glorious laughs contained in these programmes, and the extras are very welcome, too. A great gift for the Dad's Army fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent once again, and finally some extras!, 31 Dec 2009
By 
Mr. M. W. Lawson (Doncaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
After purchasing series 1-9 in seperate orders over the past 4-5 years, I'm pleased that we finally have some decent extras on a Dad's Army DVD!

The Blue Peter appearances are classics, as are the road safety videos.

As for the actual episodes, they're as silly and witty as usual - with Arthur Lowe pulling out all the stops for 'My Brother and I' in a sterling performance of his drunk brother. It really showcased him as the marvellous actor he was.

Well worth the purchase to finish off your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mostly gone but never forgotten, 1 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. A. Gorton "tony gorton" (western australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
In so many occasians the final few episodes of a much loved series make you think it went on too far,(just like the pink panther film made with the offcuts made after peter sellars death),and you could never say this with series 9 but I had my doubts when I bought this dvd in case this was the last attempt to wring some more pennies from dads army fans.
NOT SO the magic was still there and 2 of the episodes are brilliant,as for the third with capt mannerings brother I am in two minds to watch it as it may well be the last bit of this programme which I have never seen and somehow it saddens me that this is it,no more da to see for the first time,was it not once the height of good manners to leave a little food on your plate to show true appreciation?
I would say buy this dvd,its very good.all the old regulars appear and the magic is still there,the only thing I cant understand is that at the time of this review a second hand copy is available,rest assured my copy will not leave my house.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it., 28 Jan 2008
By 
Dodster (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
I remember watching these as a youth. They made me laugh then, they make me laugh now. Humour that transcends the passage of time.
For those who may not be familiar with Dad's army, the plots revolve around the escapades of the Walmington-On-Sea platoon of the Home Guard, commanded by pompous bank manager Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) and their efforts to keep Britain safe from Nazi invasion.
I agree with a previous reviewer that this dvd may not be the best value, but the episodes definitely earn the title 'classics' and are worth watching even if you don't buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merry Christmas from Walmington-on-Sea and they don't like it up 'em!, 17 Dec 2013
This review is from: Dad's Army - The Christmas Specials [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of my favourite Christmas treats over the years.

`Dad's Army' is one of my favourite TV sitcoms featuring the war-time spirit of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard led by Captain Mannering. So it's a great pleasure as part of Christmas tradition to watch the Christmas specials that `Dad's Army' did back in the day when they were becoming so popular in the 70s. To watch Mannering, Wilson, Jones, Frazer, Walker, Godfrey and Pike bumbling about over Christmas was a real treat, and there are some really good episodes to watch over Christmas.

There are 3 episodes to watch as part of the main feature on this DVD and also some short unique mini-episodes as part of the DVD extras. There's also another Christmas episode to be found somewhere else on another DVD, but more on that later.

`BATTLE OF THE GIANTS'

This is one of the well-known Christmas specials to feature `Dad's Army', as it's over an hour long and features some pretty dynamic action sequences.

The episode is about Captain Mannering embarrassed to have his men wear military medals on a Church parade as issued by Captain Square since he has no military decorations of his own. When they actually go out on parade, Mannering finds himself and his platoon insulted by Square and his old-school ideals that he bites back at them and they go on a training exercise to see which platoon (the Walmington-on-Sea or the Eastgate platoon) is the best resourceful and better led. It's a pretty funny and action-packed episode with the later part filled with various sequences on location with both platoon undertaking activities such as military tracking in their vans; blowing up balloons; stuffing chickens' feathers down their trousers, rowing a boat across the river and eventually raising their flag up on the top of the tower.

All of the cast in this episode are on top form, as Arthur Lowe is funny as ever even when he's stony-face and that makes him brilliant. I enjoyed that parade sequence where Mannering is shocked to see everyone wearing their medals, even when Pike wearing his scout badges and Walkers wearing a medallion with a yellow ribbon given to him by a Sikh. I especially enjoyed Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones when he was getting malaria and eventually getting drunk from Godfrey's tonic wine and him being all tiddly. That bit at the end where Jones is hanging onto the end of the pole over a huge drop down at the bottom of the tower was very hilarious and on-the-edge-of-your-seat.

It was nice to see Walker in this episode played by James Beck who manages to blow up the balloons easily with his cigarette attached to the end of his rifle. He becomes the hero in the end using his initiative as he gets the flag for Mannering's platoon but also for Captain Square as well. I wonder which team's going to win I hear you asking.

The actual training exercises with Mannering and Square's platoons was truly exciting to watch, whether it's their vans breaking down, or each platoons following each other in their vans or having their tyres down. It's an episode where the platoons are bumbling through the exercises with hilarious results.

This episode also includes appearances from Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee), the Vicar (Frank Williams) and the Verger (Edward Sinclair) who are there to umpire the exercises. Hodges as usual gets wet in the river when he rows in a dingy and its pull is pulled out and he's sinking. I also enjoyed it when Hodges gets blown up by explosives from Walker's cigarette.

So this is not a bad episode as a Christmas episode of `Dad's Army'. It's probably too long in my opinion as a sitcom Christmas special, but it's certainly one of the most exciting and thrilling episodes with the Walmington-on-Sea platoon full into the action. This episode would later be transmitted for radio as a special programme for `Dad's Army' and to be re-titled 'Present Arms'.

`MY BROTHER AND I'

This Christmas episode is my absolute favourite from the collection. I love this episode so much because it features Arthur Lowe playing two characters - not just Captain Mannering in this episode, but also as his brother Barry who's a drunkard and is considered the `black sheep' of the family.

Barry Mannering is on his way to meet his brother in Walmington-on-Sea and on the train he meets Frazer (John Laurie). Barry tells Frazer on the journey who he is and that he's gone to see his brother to get a gold watch that belonged to their father and that Mannering (according to Barry) `nicked' from his brother all those years ago. Frazer is full of delight and glee at seeing the absurdity of his brother that he offers to tells Mannering about his brother in order to humiliate him and wanting to see when Mannering is 'exposed' to the public. Mannering is shocked to find his brother has come and when he goes to see him he gives him the watch in order for him to get out of Walmington as soon as possible. But Barry turns up as a `sherry party with officers and civic dignitaries' that Mannering's organised and causes chaos when he's drunk and unable to control himself.

This episode contains a fine performance from Arthur Lowe playing Mannering and his brother as he does the part of playing the drunk brother incredibly well as opposed to the firm and stern upper-lip manner of the part he normally plays. That scene where they actually met is a true classic. The camera effects done for that sequence were certainly amazing and well-done for their time. And the character development between these two characters and the interesting revelations that were going on about Mannering that we didn't know about were a joy to watch.

As Jimmy Perry (co-writer of the series) stated in an interview, `the secret of playing drunk is not to be drunk, it's to try and control your drunkenness'. And certainly Arthur Lowe pulls of the part very well whenever he's doing scenes as a drunk whether as Mannering or Barry and it allows him the chance to `let his hair down' (if he had any hair) and take his character anywhere in a new direction. Goes to show what a great comic character actor Arthur Lowe is.

The `sherry party' sequences towards the end was certainly enjoyable. Jones turning up in his full-dress uniform in red was fun to watch as I like it when he turns up and stands out from amongst the crowd and when he's announcing people. I enjoyed it when Barry came in all drunk and Jones asks for his name. I also like it when the Vicar said `hello' to Barry and Barry assumed it was a `fancy dress' party and thought the Vicar came dressed as a vicar and gave him an `exploding' cigar.

Like I said the Vicar is in this episode, but also the Verger and Warden Hodges are in this episode too. I love it when the three of them turn up at sherry party from the back and Jones being annoyed with them for not coming round the front. They were very greedy when eating all of Godfrey's cucumber sandwiches on the plate, as they turn out to be `very tasty' and `delicious'.

Another moment I like in this episode is when Mannering calls the platoon on parade and he barks `Platoon, stand at ease!', everyone stands at ease until Mannering says `Hurry up, Jones.' Jones does, and Mannering goes `That's better.' It's a running gag but it's done in a completely different way and it makes me laugh every time I see it, especially with Jones' embarrassed expression.

This is a great episode of `Dad's Army' with a fine performance by Arthur Lowe. Truly a festive offering and worth watching before Christmas Day arrives.

`THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES'

This is the last of the three episodes from the collection of Christmas specials of `Dad's Army'. It's not the best episode but it's very enjoyable. It runs for half an hour and is a church gathering for a winter bazaar taking place in the church hall, allowing for all the characters of Dad's Army to appear.

The episode has all the Dad's Army characters taking part in a festive fete in sending `home comforts for the troops'. It has a traditional meeting for the bazaar with all the characters including Mannering and his platoon, Mrs Pike, Mrs Fox, the Vicar, the Verger and his wife, Hodges, Mr Gordon the town clerk, etc. Everyone has something to offer at this fete, including Warden Hodges who's going to sell three oranges on auction. This excites Mannering who wants to buy an orange for his wife over a disagreement about some `lamp shades' she was going to sell. Hodges soon learns of Mannering wanting an orange from the Verger and does everything he can to prevent him buying one over biding. Soon it's up to Pike to bid for the orange, and Mannering finds himself biding against him when Pike bids for him and it's a pretty funny sequence.

This episode contains some very lovely character moments throughout, including Godfrey trying to sell his elderberry wine to everyone but everyone's drinking it before they buy. Jones also gets to sell a massive brawn for sale to everyone, which he has to bring in and out of the church hall to get it cooled down, before eventually the brawn gets trampled upon a messenger's motorbike with disastrous and hilarious consequences. Frazer also gets to draw a likeness of Mannering at the fete, to which Mannering disapproves of since he looks like a fat blob or as he calls it a `big round lump'. I also like it when the town clerk becomes tiddly and bumps into people including Mannering as he makes his way.

At the beginning of the episode there's a funny parade sequence with Mannering and his men dressed as `snowmen' as they try to camouflage in the background when it snows (even though it's not snowing according to Frazer). I love it when watching how each of the characters have dressed up as some have either gone over the top or just look really ridiculous. I love Frazer's wedding dress and Jones with snow patches in his glasses.

Not the best episode of `Dad's Army' I've seen, but it's not the worst by any means. Another good festive offering which I'm sure you'll enjoy.

One of the episodes of `Dad's Army' that should have been featured on this Christmas collection is `Turkey Dinner'. That in itself is considered a Christmas offering in my episode and is unfortunately to be found on Series 7 of the `Dad's Army' series.

There is a ton worth of extra features contained on this DVD, unlike previous DVD releases with Dad's Army which have only one or two features. As it's Christmas, they've put everything to do with Dad's Army on this special DVD itself.

Firstly there are three special mini-episodes of `Dad's Army' that were part of the `Christmas Night With The Stars' that shown from the late 60s to the early 70s. There are two actual episodes and one episode that's now lost but has an archive recording and is presented with images and sound.

`RESISTING THE AGGRESSOR - DOWN THE AGES'

The first of these mini-episodes is a little excursion for the Dad's Army characters to dress up as they perform a pageant to raise money for `war weapons' week and also to spread British propaganda. Mannering of course leads the performance playing the part of `John Bull' the fighting spirit of England (and of Scotland, Ireland and Wales - `and the Isle of Wright', stop it Walker!). There's also Wilson playing Napoleon, Jones playing the Spirit of Agriculture, Frazer playing William the Conqueror, Walker as the Spirit of Commerce, Godfrey as Julius Caesar and Pike as King Phillip of Spain. It's a really funny little treat with the character doing rehearsals for the performance. I love it when Jones bangs on the gong as Mannering narrates through the passage of time. I love it when the characters get to dress up, especially Pike who's costume always too short especially above the legs. Definitely a lovely Christmas treat.

`BROADCAST TO EMPIRE'

This is my favourite mini-episode of Dad's Army as it has the characters performing a radio play that is broadcast around the British empire. I love it when the character are having to play their normal parts for radio and are working to a pretty dreadful script written by the producer, which Mannering says it's `rubbish'. I also love it when some of the characters have to make sound effects such as Jones doing the `sea', Pike doing some `seagulls' and Walker offering to `make wind'. I found it funny when Jonesy kept blowing and smacking his script on the microphone to get a better sound reception and it hurt the ears of the BBC engineer and the producer who went `Don't do that! Don't do that!'. Also when Wilson's reciting a poem for a voice test as well as Jones and Walker doing a song `Any Old Iron' and Frazer reciting a poem by Robert Burns for voice tests. Those are some of my favourite moments. Of course eventually Mannering and his platoon don't get to do the radio play in the end, much to their annoyance and there's a very funny gag to end it all on a high note.

`THE CORNISH FLORAL DANCE'

This is the episode that was lost but only a sound recording was made to recover it, and this is presented with images of set design to go along with the sound and some info text to describe what's happening and also to give some background information about the making of this episode as well as all the other Christmas Night episodes. Some of the audio's pretty funny including when Jones messes up coming in too soon when he's singing and also Wilson anticipating too quickly when playing on the piano. Certainly you need to be aware this is an episode to be heard and not seen, but it's good to enjoy and the sound restoration is wonderful by Mark Ayres.

Other special features on this DVD include a documentary called `The Passing Years' focusing on the making of Dad's Army with interviews from the cast and crew. There's also references to many Dad's Army episodes including the Christmas specials as well as the very famous, popular well-known episode of the series 'The Deadly Attachment'. The interviewees in this documentary are Jimmy Perry and David Croft (the writers and producers of the series), Clive Dunn (Corporal Jones), Ian Lavender (Private Pike); Bill Pertwee (Warden Hodges); Frank Williams (the Vicar); Pamela Cundell (Mrs Fox); Phillip Madoc (who played the U-Boat captain in `The Deadly Attachment') and Eric Longworth (who played Mr Gordon the town clerk in the series). I really like it when they made reference to the town clerk's...FLESHINGS...moment from `The Godvia Affair'. Also included on this documentary are archive interviews with Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier,; John Laurie and Bill Pertwee from a radio panel in the 70s; and a dedication to Bud Flanagan who did the song `Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler?' for the main titles credits of the series.

There's two little Blue Peter sketches with Dad's Army including one of a school children's painting of Dad's Army characters introduced by Jimmy Perry setting the scene before the sketch and acknowledging Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier's writing credits for this sketch. The sketch itself has Arthur and John playing their Dad's Army characters and making rueful comments about the painting especially regarding Mrs Mannering, George Mannering's wife. Another sketch is where Mannering drives Jones' van into the Blue Peter studio for the day. The Blue Peter sketches are hosted by John Noakes, Lesley Judd and Peter Purves (who played Steven Taylor in `Doctor Who' back in the 60s).

There's also a little excerpt of Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn singing `The Coward Revue'. Also there's two features that focus on `The Dad's Army Stage Show' that was toured in the UK during 1975. This includes excerpts of the show during a Nationwide news item and a video diary by Frank Williams who recorded the tour before and after the stage show of Dad's Army and its full of happy memories with cast and crew making the show at the time. There's a little feature showing two training films with Dad's Army characters on Road Safety and Public Learning which was both very educational and funny at the same time. There's also a photo gallery and some Radio Times covers that can be accessed via computer on this DVD.

So the `Dad's Army' Christmas specials are a real treat and a great way to celebrate and finish off a popular TV series that celebrates Britain's finest hour during the second world war. Certainly something to cherish for years to come and something to enjoy during the Christmas break.
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