I had seen British people talking about Dad's Army on a variety of programs in the last two or three years and I thought I might like to see it. Most of them speak highly of it: In 2004, Dad's Army was voted into fourth place in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. It had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals (Wikipedia). There was a DVD at the library with a miscellaneous bunch of episodes from the whole 9 series but it was so hacked up by the scum library patrons that it wasn't playable. There isn't any US release of the whole series. I dithered about and eventually talked myself into buying the whole series from the UK. It was just under £20 and almost £10 for the movie. With shipping and exchange it was still under 50 bucks for the 15 discs. There's not as many episodes in the British seasons but it still comes to 80 episodes, 4 Christmas Specials and the 1971 theatrical film.
That's Clive Dunn, Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier on the bottom and Arnold Ridley, James Beck, John Laurie and Ian Lavender on the top row. That's the main cast of the show. There's a few other supporting cast that appear now and again. The series was created and written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, the duo who were also responsible for 'Allo 'Allo, Hi-De-Hi! and It Ain't Half Hot, Mum. I've only seen some episodes of 'Allo 'Allo and I wasn't a fan of that show. I don't remember ever seeing any episodes of Dad's Army when it was on. I would have thought it would have been on Canadian TV when it was being made. It ran from 1968 to 1977.
The series takes place during World War II and the setting is the little seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea on the south coast of England. The government has decided to use the older men in the coastal towns as a defense force. The first series has bank manager Arthur Lowe start the local platoon in the Home Guard. He's the Captain and his chief clerk, John Le Mesurier, is his Sergeant. John lodges with Mrs Pike and she's Ian's mom. The rest of the men are a nice mix. They all have their quirky personalities and that leads to plenty of fodder for the comedy. Clive Dunn is a bit too old but he's so game to be in the army and do his duty. He's often delightfully nonsensical. James Beck is a black market spiv and he's always got a bit of a shady deal going on. John Laurie is a feisty old Scottish undertaker who's got some sarcasm in him. Arnold Ridley is a sweet old man who does the first aid. Ian Lavender works at the bank. He's a bit of an idiot and a momma's boy.
The show is pretty much a typical sitcom. There's plenty of little trials and tribulations as the men set up their platoon. They have no rifles or uniforms and they meet in the church hall. First the army sends wooden rifles, when the first real rifles arrive, there aren't enough of them to go around. Dealing with the pompous head of the area Home Guard is a regular occurrence. He's the thorn in their side but he usually pushes them to get better or cheat harder. Eventually they get uniforms but they don't have any buttons. The Home Guard offers a £10 reward for the capture of any German's, pilots get shot down regularly, and that spurs James to be brave when he confronts some downed German airmen. In the last episode of the series the men have gotten talked into a shooting contest with another platoon. Carry On film series regular Barbara Windsor guests as a sharpshooter the platoon dresses up as a soldier to try to win. She chokes after the first shot but they win on talent anyway. It makes me laugh even though it's pretty typical sitcom writing. The main attraction is the actors and their characters. I'm enjoying the men and their silly bits of business so far. I've got 8 more series and 4 more Christmas Specials and that feature film to see if that enjoyment lasts.