Dad’s Army: 7 facts about the hit comedy you may not have known

It’s been over 40 years since Dad’s Army aired its final episode, but many of us still tune in to watch reruns and old episodes all over again. While many fans are no doubt very knowledgeable when it comes to the war sitcom, there may be a few bits of trivia about the show that many may not have previously known.

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Intrigued? We’ve rounded up seven facts about the popular BBC programme, take a look below…

Dad’s Army was not originally called Dad’s Army

We’ve all come to know and love the show as Dad’s Army, but originally the sitcom was named The Fighting Tigers. However, Michael Mills, who was Head of Comedy at the BBC at the time intervened at came up with the new name instead.

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Arthue Lowe played the lead Captain Mainwaring

The show was initially not well-received

Before the show was broadcast on the BBC, the sitcom was aired to a test audience to gauge the reaction, but, according to Gold TV, the show was mostly disliked! However, this didn’t last for long as once it was aired on television, the sitcom racked up as many as many as 18 million viewers.

The show had a sequel made in the seventies

Many might have seen the most recent film made with Bill Nighy and Toby Jones, but a sequel film was also made in 1971. All the original cast were featured, but the film received mixed reviews from critics. However, similar to the sitcom, audiences loved it and the film performed well at the box office.

Another very famous actor almost joined the cast

One of the show’s favourites was Clive Dunn who took on the role of Lance Corporal Jones in the show. Clive, who was 48 when he first joined the show, was actually playing the part of a 70-year-old so was made to look older. Prior to the show however, David Jason, who is famously known for playing Derek Trotter in other much-loved sitcom Only Fools and Horses, almost took the role instead! It’s not known why David didn’t end up with taking the part, but the actor then went on to secure fame as the Del-Boy we know and love to this day.

Just one original cast member is still living

The show was created and aired over 50 years ago, so as it happens we’ve sadly has to say goodbye to a number of the main cast. However, one original star is still with us: Ian Lavender. Youngest of the bunch, Ian played Private Frank Pike in the sitcom. Since the show, Ian mostly focused on theatre, but also had a number of appearances in shows such as Eastenders, Coronation Street, and Keeping Up Appearances.

Ian Lavender is the last living member of the original cast

Arthur Lowe recorded his own version of the opening them tune

The opening theme tune to the sitcom is instantly recognisable. The song ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler’ became such an iconic song from the show, it was widely considered at the time to be a wartime song. Arthur Lowe, who played main character Captain Mainwaring in the show, even recorded his own full version of the song which was then put on the official soundtrack CD.

Many of the episodes were lost

During the late sixties and early seventies, the BBC routinely archived recording of programmes and as such, three episodes from series two, episodes nine, ten and eleven, were deleted and not rediscovered. The cast re-performed them for BBC radio, and more recently in 2019, an updated cast recorded Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes to make up for those missing. The newest episodes included well-known names including Kevin McNally, Mathew Horne and Timothy West.

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