Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
'Dad's Army' deserves better...
on 26 September 2006
Sorry folks, but I found this book mostly disappointing. It passes muster as an introduction to the show, but a TV programme of Dad's Army's status merits a `biography' of much greater breadth and detail than we have here. There is lots of stuff about what BBC-Tv executives thought of the show, and about the audience viewing figures that DA purportedly scored. But there is scandalously little about key considerations - for example, the contribution made to the show by supporting characters played by Janet Davies (Mrs Pike), Pamela Cundell (Mrs Fox), and Harold Bennett (Mr Blewitt).
The inter-character dynamics - that to an extent really hold carry forward DA plotlines so seamlessly - are largely unacknowledged in this book. There is scant examination of some of the individual shows that really lifted the sitcom quality out of the genre-rut it was inclined toward in the 1960s and `70s. Croft & Perry crafted scripts that frequently crossed the line into comedy drama, and back into knockabout burlesque, and you couldn't see the joins.
Very little is said about the way in which special effects were used so superbly to comedic effect - such as Series Five's `Asleep In The Deep', which the platoon and Chief Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) play a long scene in a waterlogged set. It's nigh impossible to imagine any other TV comedy pulling this off with the aplomb that DA so effortlessly achieved time and again.
Even more annoying are the pointless and irrelevant quotations that Mr McCann is apt to shove under each chapter heading. These serve no real purpose in adding value to the main text.
The recent series-by-series DA DVD releases have revealed beyond doubt just what a pinnacle of creative excellence Dad's Army achieved; it deserves a much more considered tribute than Mr McCann gives.