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Don"t Panic Captain Mainwearing

Updated on May 6, 2011


A fellow hubber reminded us of the quality of the American programme Golden Girls. A timely reminder that the archives contain real gems.

The celebrations this year of the heroism displayed in rescuing brave troops from the beaches of Normandy brought real poignancy and took me back to family holidays in the late 1940s.As a young boy, I spent most of each day from 6.30am to 8.30 pm on a pleasure boat called The BOY"S OWN.I often wonder what became of her and have the fondest of memories of trips to the shipping lanes off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. I remember vividly a plaque commemerating her role in the evacuation at Normandy and learned all about it from the seamen and also my father who had been in North Africa for most of the war but who had forces newspapers catalouguing all types of war time events for me to read.

All this is just by means of setting my scene for a bit of vintage TV that never failed to raise a smile when first viewed and does so today in my viewing.


Now thanks to multi-channel TV I have again been watching the antics of the Warmington on Sea Home Guard in DAD"S ARMY and am pleased to say that time has not diminished them. In black and white they are especially evocative of the time and the chaos that prevailed in unprepared Britain

I once knew well, an actor who appeared in another Perry/Croft sit com and he told me of his role at the outset of recoding the first series. "I just play myself, a failed comedian" he said with a wry smile. Watching Dad"s Army, I get the same feeling. These guys do not need to act ,they just behave as they were in real life! Maybe that is the secret and it does provide added interest to watching and believing that Arthur Lowe, for example .really was as pompous and pretentious as his creation and Le Mesurier a bungling public school twit, Now Lavender as Pike..............? Susequent biographies of the cast adds fuel to the flames in all cases I feel.

Real Time Experience

In real life in war time and as a 4 year old I slept in my mothers bedroom in the front of our house. One day after hours in the garden we were in bed with windows open as it was very hot. I awoke to hear humans whispering in the garden below. Mother was also instantly awake.

"Mum, is it the German"s!"? I asked.

"Don"t know" said mum striding from bed to open window to view the shadowy figures below and without further ado shouted down to them.

"What do you think you"doing? She said with feeling. One of the figures looked up ,put his finger to his lips and replied.

"Sshh. We are the Home Guard and we are invading the Castle!

"I don"t care if you are Montgomery!" Mother hurled back. "I planted my cabbages there today and you can get your perishing boots off them". It would have been just the same had they been Germans!

I have often thought as Ihave watched the series that Mum could have played that part with no problem, just like I think they all did. Thank goodness for old style reality TVat least in comedy.


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