We Love Dad’s Army recently aired on Channel 5 and saw past actors, actresses, and other big-name celebrities such as Eamonn Holmes and Jonathan Ross look back on the successful BBC series. John Laurie, who played Private James Frazer, admitted he thought the show wouldn’t be a success and thought it would be “boring” after serving in the home guard himself.
When the first episode began filming, Bill Pertwee was the warm-up act and got the crowd in good spirits before the first show began.
However, when the cast finally came out and began filming, there was silence throughout the studio, which made the writers and crew begin to worry.
The less than spectacular response appeared to confirm concerns about the subject matter.
Speaking about being invited to the audience for the show, David Croft said: “It didn’t sort of take-off straight away.
“There was the thought that perhaps we were taking the Micky out of England’s finest hour, so they weren’t all that keen.
“It seemed a silly idea really because I was in the home guard, and nothing was so boring as being in the home guard, and I couldn’t see how you could entertain people.”
In the 60s, when they made it, the home guard wasn’t a far distant event, it had just happened, and the effects were still very much present in society.
There were bits of London that were still bombed out, so for Croft and Perry to go back and have a laugh about it was a bold statement.
During the Channel 5 show, The Secret Lives of Dad’s Army, it is revealed that John Laurie had a reputation for occasionally being as “prickly as his on-screen character”.
Jerry McCann, author of Dad’s Army: The Story of a Very British Comedy, said: “John Laurie was cantankerous he was rather mischievous, he was someone who enjoyed playing a kind of a professional pessimist.”
He and Ridley, who plays Private Godfrey, were very different characters, and Michael Knowles, a cast member from 1969 to 1972, spoke of their rivalry.
He said: “There was a bit of rivalry between the two of them because John Laurie was very fit.
“If he ever saw Arnold Ridley sit down, he would rush off and try and pick something up and lug it past Ridley saying, ‘don’t you worry son, you just sit there I’ll get on with this’.”
Arnold Ridley’s son Nicholas thought they learned to tolerate each other whilst working on the show and explained: “I think they had very different attitudes to being older.
“I think that John Laurie probably had a little bit of fun at my father’s expense.
“[And] my father didn’t worry about that at all,” he explained.
We Love Dad’s Army is available to watch on My5.
Published at Mon, 28 Feb 2022 17:16:00 +0000