Dad's Army has to be amongst the best conceived comedy series' ever. This pretty much relates to every aspect of the show's concept, be it the authenticity of the flavour of the times it represents, whether that's to do with the visual aspect (clothing, set designs etc.) or the way many of the stories directly relate to the themes of the day (whether to do with the fear of enemy invasion or just the day to day running of the home guard platoon). However, perhaps the biggest stroke of genius has to do with the characters, to which the show's writers developed so well, in addition to the inspired choices to which actors were used to play the roles. It's no exaggeration to say that each of the roles fitted the individual actors as tightly as a glove almost to a point of not knowing the dividing line between character and actor, and given the size of a regular cast as large as that in Dad's Army is no mean feat. Even though the roles at a first glance seem maybe a touch stereotypical at times, they provide a sense of believeability which isn't always to be taken for granted with sitcoms in general. It is perhaps Arthur Lowe's Captain Mainwaring and John Mesurier's Sergeant Wilson that creates the strongest impression in that regard, especially in the episodes where the class differences between them feature most prominantly.
As for the episodes themselves over the series as a whole (which spans nine years), they are consistently strong throughout, whether that's relating to stories relying on more of the characterisation (involving more dialoque) aspects of the show, or more of the farcical side, which tends to happen most when the platoon are given some assignment to perform. Often at these times Clive Dunn comes into his own. I think though perhaps the series reached its peak in the early seventies, and especially throughout series five and six where every episode appeared pretty much a classic. However, following the death of James Beck (Private Walker), the platoon did lose a little of its finely tuned chemistry, partly because Walker's spiv character was a very different personality to the rest of them. Despite this the show's storylines and sense of fun remained immaculately effective till the end.
The extras on this DVD set are also marvellously enjoyable, including a history of the series and profiles of the regular cast members (and writers).There is also a short documentary on some recently found lost episodes which is equally engaging.
Everything about this box set proves a real treasure.
Dad's Army is likely to remain forever timeless.
on 21 October 2008
I've been very pleasantly surprised by this box set. Having read other reviews, which suggested the set was short on extras, I took the plunge as I did not previously have any Dad's Army DVDs and had probably not seen all the shows. Whilst it is true that there are not extras on every disc, there is more than enough to justify the release.
So far I've found 7 individual short features on the main stars, entitled 'We Are The Boys'. They are spread across the first 13 discs, as are several picture galleries. These shorts feature interviews with surviving cast members as well as Jimmy Croft and David Perry.
The real magic is to be found on the final disc, which is only advertised as 'The Christmas Specials', but which contains around ten shorts, including long forgotten Blue Peter appearances, Road Safety films, sketches, a Noel Coward Review and more. There's also another photo gallery and an article from the Radio Times.
I have no idea if all this content was previously available on the individual releases and best of compilations, but it provides a very welcome bonus to round off one of the finest situation comedies ever.
Ok so there's no commentaries, but does anyone really need to have the minutiae of this great show explained to them? Buy the box set, take a week off work and enjoy! Finally I'd like to say I never doubted the content of this box set, I knew it would be great right from the off and I said so.
Before I bought this box set I had never seen Dad's Army before in my life. Not even any clips or anything at all. I grew up in the 90's & over the last few months really been getting into all the classic British TV from before I as born.
But after watching the first few episodes I knew I would like it. My favourite Characters are Sergeant Arthur Wilson & Lance-Corporal Jack Jones. While I liked pretty much all the characters those two I just found very very funny. I also love the fact the BBC has filled this box set with extras. 2 episodes have been lost, but they have even put the radio version of the missing episodes. I have posted a full list below of everything that is in this box set. Hope this helps!
Disk 1: (All episodes on this disk are black & white)
Series 1 – Episode 1 – The Man and the Hour, 31 July 1968
Series 1 – Episode 2 – Museum Piece, 7 August 1968
Series 1 – Episode 3 – Command Decision, 14 August 1968
Series 1 – Episode 4 – The Enemy Within the Gates, 28 August 1968
Series 1 – Episode 5 – The Showing Up of Corporal Jones, 4 September 1968
Series 1 – Episode 6 – Shooting Pains, 11 September 1968
Disk 2: (All episodes on this disk are black & white. Also 3 episodes from series 2 are lost)
Series 2 – Episode 1 – Operation Kilt, 1 March 1969
Series 2 – Episode 2 – The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage, 8 March 1969
Series 2 – Episode 4 – Sgt. Wilson's Little Secret, 22 March 1969
Special – Dad's Army Missing Presumed Wiped (30mins documentary on the missing episodes)
BBC Radio Dad's Army – The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker
BBC Radio Dad's Army – Under Fire
BBC Radio Dad's Army – A Stripe for Frazer
Disk 3: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 3 – Episode 1 – The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones, 11 September 1969
Series 3 – Episode 2 – Battle School, 18 September 1969
Series 3 – Episode 3 – The Lion Has Phones, 25 September 1969
Series 3 – Episode 4 – The Bullet is Not for Firing, 2 October 1969
Series 3 – Episode 5 – Something Nasty in the Vault, 9 October 1969
Series 3 – Episode 6 – Room at the Bottom, 16 October 1969
Series 3 – Episode 7 – Big Guns, 23 October 1969
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about Arnold Ridley
Disk 4: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 3 – Episode 8 – The Day the Balloon Went Up, 30 October 1969
Series 3 – Episode 9 – War Dance, 6 November 1969
Series 3 – Episode 10 – Menace from the Deep, 13 November 1969
Series 3 – Episode 11 – Branded, 20 November 1969
Series 3 – Episode 12 – Man Hunt, 27 November 1969
Series 3 – Episode 13 – No Spring for Frazer, 4 December 1969
Series 3 – Episode 14 – Sons of the Sea, 11 December 1969
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 5:(All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 4 – Episode 1 – The Big Parade, 25 September 1970
Series 4 – Episode 2 – Don't Forget the Diver, 2 October 1970
Series 4 – Episode 3 – Boots, Boots, Boots, 9 October 1970
Series 4 – Episode 4 – Sgt – Save My Boy!, 16 October 1970
Series 4 – Episode 5 – Don't Fence Me In, 23 October 1970
Series 4 – Episode 6 – Absent Friends, 30 October 1970
Series 4 – Episode 7 – Put That Light Out!, 6 November 1970
Disk 6:(All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 4 – Episode 8 – The Two and a Half Feathers, 13 November 1970
Series 4 – Episode 9 – Mum's Army, 20 November 1970
Series 4 – Episode 10 – The Test, 27 November 1970
Series 4 – Episode 11 – A. Wilson (Manager)?, 4 December 1970
Series 4 – Episode 12 – Uninvited Guests, 11 December 1970
Series 4 – Episode 13 – Fallen Idol, 18 December 1970
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about James Beck
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 7: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 5 – Episode 1 – Asleep in the Deep, 6 October 1972
Series 5 – Episode 2 – Keep Young and Beautiful, 13 October 1972
Series 5 – Episode 3 – A Soldier's Farewell, 20 October 1972
Series 5 – Episode 4 – Getting the Bird, 27 October 1972
Series 5 – Episode 5 – The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones, 3 November 1972
Series 5 – Episode 6 – If the Cap Fits..., 10 November 1972
Series 5 – Episode 7 – The King was in his Counting House, 17 November 1972
Disk 8: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 5 – Episode 8 – All is Safely Gathered In, 24 November 1972
Series 5 – Episode 9 – When Did You Last See Your Money?, 1 December 1972
Series 5 – Episode 10 – Brain Versus Brawn, 8 December 1972
Series 5 – Episode 11 – A Brush with the Law, 15 December 1972
Series 5 – Episode 12 – Round and Round Went the Great Big Wheel, 22 December 1972
Series 5 – Episode 13 – Time on My Hands, 29 December 1972
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about John Laurie
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 9: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 6 – Episode 1 – The Deadly Attachment, 31 October 1973
Series 6 – Episode 2 – My British Buddy, 7 November 1973
Series 6 – Episode 3 – The Royal Train, 14 November 1973
Series 6 – Episode 4 – We Know Our Onions, 21 November 1973
Series 6 – Episode 5 – The Honourable Man, 28 November 1973
Disk 10: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 6 – Episode 6 – Things That Go Bump in the Night, 5 December 1973
Series 6 – Episode 7 – The Recruit, 12 December 1973
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about John Le Mesurier
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 11: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 7 – Episode 1 – Everybody's Trucking, 15 November 1974
Series 7 – Episode 2 – A Man of Action, 22 November 1974
Series 7 – Episode 3 – Gorilla Warfare, 29 November 1974
Series 7 – Episode 4 – The Godiva Affair, 6 December 1974
Series 7 – Episode 5 – The Captain's Car, 13 December 1974
Series 7 – Episode 6 – Turkey Dinner, 23 December 1974
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about Arthur Lowe
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 12: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 8 – Episode 1 – Ring Dem Bells, 5 September 1975
Series 8 – Episode 2 – When You've Got to Go, 12 September 1975
Series 8 – Episode 3 – Is There Honey Still for Tea?, 19 September 1975
Series 8 – Episode 4 – Come In, Your Time Is Up, 26 September 1975
Series 8 – Episode 5 – High Finance, 3 October 1975
Series 8 – Episode 6 – The Face on the Poster, 10 October 1975
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about Clive Dunn
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 13: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Series 9 – Episode 1 – Wake Up Walmington, 2 October 1977
Series 9 – Episode 2 – The Making of Private Pike, 9 October 1977
Series 9 – Episode 3 – Knights of Madness, 16 October 1977
Series 9 – Episode 4 – The Miser's Hoard, 23 October 1977
Series 9 – Episode 5 – Number Engaged, 6 November 1977
Series 9 – Episode 6 – Never Too Old, 13 November 1977
Special – We Are The Boys – Small 10mins documentary type show about Ian Lavedner
Special – Photo Gallery
Disk 14: (All episodes on this disk are colour)
Christmas Special – Battle of the Giants!, 27 December 1971
Christmas Special – My Brother and I, 26 December 1975
Christmas Special – The Love of Three Oranges, 26 December 1976
Christmas Night with the Stars – Resisting the Aggressor, 25 December 1969
Christmas Night with the Stars – The Cornish Floral Dance, 25 December 1970 (Only audio, film missing)
Christmas Night with the Stars – Broadcast to the Empire, 25 December 1972
Captain Mainwaring & Sergeant Wilson on Blue Peter , 22nd February 1973
Captain Mainwaring with Jack Jones Van on Blue Peter, 29th April 1974
Dad's Army The Stage Show Clip
On Tour With The Cast Of The Dad's Army Stage Show, 15mins long
Another Photo Gallery
Road Safety Film
Radio Times Article
on 21 December 2009
The complete works - all the remaining episodes of Dad's Army (the BBC lost/deleted a few episodes from series 2) - plus some interesting extras in a bargain package at around £35. This is one of the all time great British TV comedy shows, aired from 1968/9 to 1977, scripted by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and with the marvellous cast of Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley, James Beck and Ian Lavender this wonderful series combined nostalgia with character comedy to create a timeless jewel.
Everyone has their favourite moment, of course, but for many it was in "The Deadly Attachment" where, when Pike (Lavender)is asked for his name by the captured U-Boat commander, to add to Hitler's "blacklist", Captain Mainwaring (Lowe) utters the immortal line "Don't tell him Pike!"
They don't make them like this any more - but we all wish they would. It's time for an end to political correctness in comedy, that's for sure.
on 19 July 2012
I'm going to assume that if you are reading this it's probably because, like me, every now and then you catch an episode of Dad's Army on some channel and watch it with a sense of nostalgia and 'good old days' feeling. If you are in that category then trust me, you're going to love this box set.
Starting with the packaging the inside of the box set pulls out and is configured in a book-like layout, each page representing a DVD for that series. It's a really neat and innovative way of getting so many DVD's into a nice sized, easy to find a home for, case.
There isn't much to say about the episodes as you will have probably seen a good few of them already before coming here. I will say that the episodes from the 70's are funnier in my view as the series moved from strength to strength. The earlier episodes from Series 1 while not quite as funny are nonetheless interesting as you get to see how they were formed following the radio broadcast from Secretary of State for War (Anthony Eden) in May 1940. You get a glimpse in amongst the humour of the logistical challenges the Local Defence Volunteers (later the Home Guard) faced in the early days of its formation.
For me there's a sense of greatness about our countrymen who, though unable to join the armed forces overseas, played an important role back home. The comedy strikes an admirable balance of being funny without insulting, or pouring scorn on those who served in that role.
In short, this box set really is value for money and whether you're simply a lover of the style of British humour from the 1970's, or just looking to reignite some memories from your childhood during that time, I most certainly recommend it to you.