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on 18 October 2001
I was too young to watch Dad's Army the first time round,but I've been an avid fan of the repeats,and I've been waiting for a book as good as this to appear.It covers all the ground - the evolution of the show itself,the spin-off film,stage show and radio adaptations,the BBC scuffles,the relationships within the cast - and it draws on fresh interviews with the surviving figures associated with this wonderful sitcom.The author's research is incredibly thorough,and he writes really beautifully with a dry wit that sgt Wilson would have appreciated.If you want to know about the show,the era and the achievement,this,without doubt,is the book to get.
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on 1 November 2001
I got hold of a copy of this book as soon as it came out, d the author's previous efforts on Cary Gant and Morecambe and Wise.I wasn't disappointed.He researches his books so diligently,and writes so well and so intelligently,they are a pleasure to read as well as a uniquely entertaining education.This latest book tells the riveting story of how a bright idea evolved into a classic television show.It captures an entire era in popular entertainment,and makes you love the show even more than you did before.As books on TV go,this,to borrow a phrase from the author,is a class apart.
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on 28 November 2001
This book about the tv show explains how Jimmy Perry first thought up the idea of a sitcom about the Home Guard,and how he came to collaborate with director David Croft and the BBC to create one of the most effective and endearing tv programmes of the past 30 years.The author has clearly double-checked all of his facts(unlike the other writers who've produced books on this topic)and talked to all of the right people.I loved it.
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I think we all must have seen at least one episode of Dad’s Army at one time or another, after all it is still being repeated on our television screens. Whether the new film that comes out shortly will be any good though we will have to wait and see. This book by Graham McCann first published back in 2001 will hopefully gain more readers such as me as it is now clearly being sold on book shelves.

Very well researched and with parts from the scripts as well as interviews with members of the cast and the writers this makes for a very interesting read, of what is still a very successful sit-com. We are taken back to the creation of the real Home Guard, or the Local Defence Volunteers as it was originally named. We are probably the only country in the world that would come up with the idea of arming and training those who couldn’t fight due to age or other infirmities, to stand prepared to resist the invasion of our coast, a very British thing indeed. When I say armed though, this didn’t come overnight, my granddad was in the RAF and he had to parade with a broomstick as there were not enough guns to go around, so you can imagine what it was like for the Home Guard.

From this brief introduction of sorts we are then taken forwards in time to the creation of the TV series. This becomes quite interesting and thoughtful and reminds us all that unlike a lot of comedies today this was written with the aim of reminding us all of the dark days this country was in, provide a bit of nostalgia and a lot of comedy, but not fall into the silly and unreal. As McCann points out this works so well as we can relate with the characters who became stronger and more fleshed out over the years, and we all know old people who still think that they are in the prime of their lives, or a little pompous man, plus the person who just seems to drift through life taking everything in his stride.

With excellent and well written scripts plus a well chosen cast who all got on well together this is still as fun to watch as when it was originally broadcast and it is great to get something like this book which takes us into the history of the show. Some of the things you will already possibly know, although there is probably quite a bit you didn’t. This also talks about the film that was made, the stage show, and the radio programmes as well as the American version. With humour that is very much English it has been a bit of a surprise to me how many people over the world now watch and love this show.

Here we get some of the biographies for certain characters so we have an even greater back-story, all about the locations and problems that were faced throughout the years as well as what the cast did as well as this programme. There are two sections of photos, plus an episode guide for all the shows, and a whole lot of notes. If you are a big fan of the series then you will possibly already have this, but if not then get a copy, and if you just like watching it from time to time then you will also find this of great interest. After all don’t you want to know why Arthur Lowe had a clause put into his contract stating that he mustn’t lose his trousers?

With class structures being altered, after all posh Wilson is the sergeant whilst Mainwaring is the captain. Mainwaring being a very British name that can be pronounced two different ways, and the power struggle between Mainwaring and Hodges, this is one of the best British sit-comes taking in not only human nature but those quirks that make up the British character.
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on 12 November 2001
I read this book,then my father read it,then so did my grandfather,and we all enjoyed it enormously.That is the kind of book it is:like the show itself,it has a wonderfully broad appeal,working hard to entertain all without patronising any.I agree with the other reviewers:this is a delightful biography.
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on 28 March 2014
This was a very enjoyable read and will be to anyone that is a fan of the show. There are interesting profiles on the main actors in the series, many of whom were similar to the character they portrayed. While detailing how the series came about and grew in popularity, the book also opens with a very interesting history of the Home Guard. This book is well worth reading, particularly for Dad's Army fans.
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on 9 March 2016
A warm and detailed account of the history of this legendary TV series. Brought back many great memories of the enjoyment generated bythe Dad's Army team and offered interesting insights into the personalities involved in front and behind the cameras.
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on 31 December 2012
The book weaves a thorough guide from inception of the original idea through to the final recordings.
Other aspects of the story are highlighted including an informative look at the real Home Guard and the 1976 stage shows.
All the main cast and creative elements behind the show are featured and insightful memories from some of the actors behind the characters help paint a vivid picture.
A great read.
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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.
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on 12 October 2010
I suppose being a Dad's Army fan helps. I found this book a very good read about a subject close to my heart. Well done Graham McCann.
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