One of the most beloved series in British sitcom history returns in a series of “lost” episodes brought to life with clever animation. Join the ranks and tune in
By Torri Mundell, Feature Writer
Centred around the mishaps of a well-intentioned but deeply chaotic Home Guard on the south coast of England during the Second World War, Dad’s Army is an indelible part of British sitcom history.
Created by legendary comedy writing duo David Croft and Jimmy Perry, the brilliantly scripted BBC show debuted in 1969 and introduced us to some unforgettably eccentric characters. Many of them were elderly volunteers who – heaven help us – signed up to form the last line of British defence against Nazi invasion.
The series ran for 80 very funny episodes, ending in 1977. And now, we’ve been unexpectedly gifted with new Dad’s Army! We’ll have our alarm clocks set at twenty-hundred hours (that’s 8pm) on Monday 6 November, when Dad’s Army: The Animations begins on GOLD HD (CH 124). Here’s everything you need to know about the series.
Dad’s Army: The Animations is a recreation of five “lost episodes” that teams expressive black and white animation with audio featuring the original cast. The project is more than an adaptation; it’s a time machine. Watching the comic actors’ familiar voices brought to life in animated form almost 50 years after the show ended is sure to warm the hearts of both old and new fans alike.
The technique has been deployed successfully before to animate the soundtracks for several early Doctor Who episodes. As with Dad’s Army, some early TV recordings of the show were lost during an overzealous archive cull, and the same creative team has worked to create animated versions for both series.
Good news! Some of the most beloved characters from the series will make an appearance, from Arthur Lowe as the stuffy and often exasperated Captain Mainwaring to John LeMesurier as his posh, slightly dreamy second-in-command, Sergeant Arthur Wilson. There’s also the dithering oldest guardsman, Lance-Corporal Jones, played by Clive Dunn and John Laurie as the gloomy Scottish Private James Frazer.
“The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Walker” is the first animated episode to air, and focuses on Private Walker, voiced by James Beck, a Cockney entrepreneur who has heretofore dodged the draft by citing a corned beef allergy. In this episode, he is called up into the army, though Captain Mainwaring will find every way to appeal the decision.
“Under Fire” depicts the arrest of a so-called Nazi agent under extremely chaotic circumstances, while in “A Stripe For Frazer”, the dour Scotsman Private Frazer finds himself in line for a promotion to Lance-Corporal.
And “The Animated Christmas Special” combines two shorts from 1968 and 1970, with Captain Mainwaring at his most pompous as he leads his platoon through their physical fitness drills. He also attempts to assemble a choir, with hilariously mixed results.
We’d thoroughly recommend it! With all nine series available in On Demand to enjoy at your leisure, there’s never been a better time to watch (or rewatch) this iconic sitcom that has stood the test of time.
First brought to a generation that had hands-on experiences of the Second World War, the series offers a mostly accurate portrayal into the realities of wartime Britain through the light relief of characters that were thoroughly unequipped for the job. This perfect mix of comedy and pathos also paved the way for later sitcom giants like Porridge, Blackadder Goes Forth and The Royle Family.
For modern viewers, the show is a window into a fascinating part of Britain’s past that’s painted using witty one-liners, memorable catchphrases and slapstick satire. With an expert balance of laugh-out-loud comedy and tear-jerking moments in equal measure, Dad’s Army remains one of Britain’s most cherished sitcoms. In fact, one of the punchlines has regularly topped polls as “the funniest comedy line ever”. But no spoilers from us!
There sure are. As one of TV history’s most successful writing duos, other comedy classics produced by the celebrated writing team of Croft and Perry include It Ain't Half Hot Mum, You Rang M’Lord? and Hi-De-Hi! (find series 3-9 in On Demand now).
Croft also found success working with other writers such as Jeremy Lloyd, creating long-running and enduring popular sitcoms such as Are You Being Served and ’Allo ’Allo (find series 5-7 in On Demand now).
When can I watch Dad’s Army: The Animations on TV?
You can watch the first of five epsiodes on Monday 6 November at 8pm on GOLD HD (CH 124). All five episodes will be available in On Demand from Monday 6 November and all nine series of Dad’s Army are available in On Demand now.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
On Demand: Content available to view depends on TV package. Time limits apply for viewing chargeable On Demand content – see virginmedia.com. Once purchased, all chargeable On Demand content must be viewed within 48 hours. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.
Image credits: Dad’s Army: The Animations © UKTV