Dad’s Army: Complete Collection DVD Boxset – Review
By Sarah Morgan
What can you say that hasn’t already been said about Dad’s Army? After all, it’s been continuously shown on our TV screens for 50 years, so everybody is already very much aware of it.
It’s still broadcast every Saturday night on BBC Two, and remains one of the channel’s top-rated programmes. Unlike many programmes of its vintage, it hasn’t aged either – the humour is still as relevant and hilarious as it was when Jimmy Perry and David Croft penned the scripts.
Each episode begins, of course, with the crusty old voice of Bud Flanagan singing “Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?” to a tune that sounds exactly like it was written in the 1940s. Some fans even approached Perry claiming to remember it being popular during the war, despite the fact he wrote it specifically for the show.
What follows after the theme tends to be 25 minutes of mayhem, one-liners and catchphrases from Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson, Corporal Jones and the rest of the Walmington-on-sea platoon.
Ah yes, those catchphrases… Even now, sentences such as, “You stupid boy,” “I’m going to get you Napoleon,” “We’re doomed” and, of course, “Don’t panic!” are still well known.
The programme was inspired by Perry’s experiences in the Home Guard as a young man, and he intended to play spiv Walker, until Croft persuaded him to give the role to James Beck instead.
Part of the reason for the show’s longevity lies in the amazing cast. It’s hard to imagine anybody but Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier playing their parts, and yet Jon Pertwee was originally offered Captain Mainwaring but turned it down, while Le Mesurier only accepted the role of Sgt Wilson because his friend Clive Dunn (Corporal Jones) was also signing up.
“Every surviving episode”
This boxset contains every surviving episode of the programme (several have been wiped from the BBC archive) from all nine series, as well as the Christmas specials.
You may be thinking it’s not worth buying it when you can see episodes on regular TV, but there are some gems here that haven’t been broadcast for some time. And, of course, there are all the classics too, including the one in which Mainwaring utters the immortal line “don’t tell him Pike!” and another in which the platoon attempt to knock years off their age.
A few special features wouldn’t have gone amiss, especially as there have been several documentaries about the programme made over the years, but this is still a joy.
‘Dad’s Army: The Complete Collection’ from the BBC is out now from Amazon and major supermarkets