All Quiet on the Home Front

Despite the amazing longevity of  Dad’s Army it is still easy to forget just how popular the series was during the mid 1970s. Nine television series, a radio series, children’s annuals, comic strips, jigsaws and even a feature film were available to keen audiences during the sitcom’s heyday. But perhaps the crowning achievement for the cast and the writing team of Perry and Croft, was the stage show which toured Britain during 1975 and ’76.  

I can only imagine the thrill of sitting in a packed theatre and seeing my favourite television characters appear for real in front of me. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t around for this run an LP was produced by Warner Records in 1975 featuring the full original cast. I have only just got around to listening to the recording and although an oddly disjointed beast it captures the spirit of the series with broader strokes than were ever possible on television.

One scene that particularly interested me was this introduction the show’s closing number. Set just after VE day it sees Captain Mainwaring and the platoon reflecting on their years of service. The final episode of the television series had no such closure, ending on a charmingly low key note with the wedding of Corporal Jones. It made historical sense to close the series before the end of the war as Britain’s Home Guard were disbanded in 1944 following the successful D-Day landings. Because of this the scene answers a question the series never did – How did Mainwaring and platoon react to the dissolution of the home guard? The answer would seem to be that they kept watching over their sleepy sea-side town in an unofficial capacity until the moment the allied troops captures Berlin. It may seem silly at first but somehow it feels right.

 

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