The BBC television sitcom, Dad’s Army, was a portrayal of the British Home Guard during World War II. It was broadcast on BBC television from 1968 to 1977 and was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. During the nine years the sitcom aired eighty 80 episodes in total, plus there was a stage show, a radio account based on the television series, and a feature movie. The television series had a viewing audience totaling 18 million on a regular basis and is still rebroadcast worldwide.
During WW II, the British Home Guard consisted of homegrown volunteers that were ineligible for regular military service, either because of age or by being in occupations that were exempt from recruitment. Dad’s Army features aging British performers as it deals almost totally with over-age men. Some of the actors include John Le Mesurier, Arnold Ridley, John Laurie, and Arthur Lowe. There were also some younger colleagues in the program’s cast including Clive Dunn (who played the oldest guardsmen, Lance Corporal Jones), James Beck (who died suddenly during production of the program’s sixth series in 1973), Frank Williams, Ian Lavender, and Bill Pertwee, who portrayed the air raid warden.
From the episode The Recruit
- Reverend Farthing: Could I stand by and watch my wife being raped by a Nazi? Finally I said to myself, no, I couldn’t.
- Mainwaring: But you’re not married.
- Reverend Farthing: I have a very vivid imagination.
From the episode Museum Piece
- Jones: There’s a war on, Dad.
- Jones’ Dad: Oh, I wondered what the noise was.
From the episode The Deadly Attachment
- German U-boat Captain: I am making notes, Captain, and your name will go on the list; and when we win the war you will be brought to account.
- Captain Mainwaring: You can write what you like, You’re not going to win the war!
- U-boat Captain: Oh yes we are.
- Mainwaring: Oh no you’re not.
- U-boat Captain’: Oh yes we are!
- Pvt. Pike: [Singing] Whistle while you work, Hitler is a twerp, he’s half-barmy, so’s his army, whistle while you work!
- U-boat Captain:’ Your name will also go on the list! What is it?
- Mainwaring: Don’t tell him Pike!
- U-boat Captain: Pike!
Later on, after the tables have turned courtesy of a foolish mistake by Hodges, the platoon are ordered to accompany the German crew on their boat, to protect them from the Navy (who will not blow up their boat if there are British men aboard):
- U-boat Captain: When we arrive in France, you will be MY prisoners and then – we shall examine the List!
Also in this episode:
- U-boat Captain: Just to make sure Captain that your behaviour is correct, this old man will march in front of me! [puts grenade down Jones’ trousers with string attached to pin]. One false move from you – and I pull the string!
- Jones: Ohhhh…. don’t make any false moves Mr Mainwaring, and don’t make any real ones either!
- U-boat Captain: Seven seconds will be enough for me to get clear, but I don’t think it is enough time for the old man to unbutton his tunic!
- Frazer: A terrible way to die!
- Mainwaring (to the U-boat captain): You unspeakable swine!!
From other episodes:
- Mainwaring: Oh you’d stick up for him wouldn’t you? You both went to public school didn’t you?
- Wilson: You know sir, I can’t help feeling that you’ve got a bit of a chip on your shoulder about that.
- Mainwaring: There’s no chip on my shoulder. I’ll tell you what there is though, three pips and don’t you forget it.
- German airman dangling from clocktower: Bitte, mein Herr! Oh, bitte, bitte!
- Jones: It’s no good trying to apologize.
- German: Schnell! Schnell!
- Jones: Never mind about the smell. That’s got nothing to do with it.
From the episode No Spring For Frazer
- Frazer: Thank goodness I won’t have to clean that thing for three weeks.
- Mainwaring: That is not the right attitude to adopt, Frazer. You should consider it an honour and a privilege to use this Lewis gun.
- Frazer: If it was a privilege, none of us would ever be getting a look in; you and the Sergeant would be doing it all the time.
- Mainwaring: That’ll do. That’ll do. The butterfly spring seems to be missing from here Frazer.
- Frazer: What? Oh aye. So it is. I must have left it in me workshop.
- Mainwaring: Your workshop?
- Frazer: Aye. I took the gun home to be cleaned.
- Mainwaring: Look. For a start you’ve got no right to take that gun off these premises. Most of all that gun is totally useless without its butterfly spring. If a Nazi Storm Trooper came rushing in through that door you could do nothing with that, but hit him with it.
- Jones: Permission to speak sir. If Frazer were to hit him with it, it wouldn’t half make his eyes water.
From the episode The Test
Watching Hodges’ opening bowler, Fred Trueman, walking to his mark
- Mainwaring: Where is he going?
- Hodges: It’s when he comes to you, you want to worry. That ball leaves his hand at ninety five miles an hour. This guy would’ve been playing for England if the war hadn’t started.
- Mainwaring: What?
- Hodges: I’m gonna enjoy this.
[The Bowler runs in and Mainwaring is beaten for pace and knocked off his feet]
- Hodges: (Laughing) Enjoying yourself, Mainwaring?
- Mainwaring: He’s not bowling at the stumps. He’s bowling at me.
From other episodes…
- Mainwaring: No liquor is to be taken without my permission.
- Frazer: Hold on! That is undemocratic!
- Mainwaring: You, Frazer, will be in charge of all liquor permits.
- Frazer: I’m right behind you, Cap’n!
The platoon has gone into a pub dressed as Nazis without Mainwaring’s permission.
- Jones: We shouldn’t be doing this, Mr. Wilson
- Wilson: Well, what are you going to have?
- Jones: A pint.
- Landlord: Good afternoon, Gentlemen. What can I get….(turns and sees the platoon dressed as Nazis’)
- Pike: (In a German accent) Gut afternoon mein host. 16 shandies mit the ginger beer.
- Landlord: (Stammers) Pints or halves?
- Pike: Pints!
From the episode The Bullet Is Not For Firing
- Reverend Farthing: Captain Mainwaring, if you can do your blood-curdling bayonet practice in the middle of my responses, I can do my jubilate in the middle of your inquiry!
- Jones: I was just going to give the order… just going to give the order… just going to give…
- Mainwaring: What’s the matter Corporal?
- Jones: I… I think I’m going Sir. I hear angel’s voices!
- Mainwaring: Those aren’t angels voices, it’s the choir in the office!!
- Jones: Well if that’s what it’s like to go, then I like it, I like it
- Jones: Come on boys, show ’em! [the platoon cock their guns and aim them upwards] Enemy plane, I said, just like you said, Sir! Swing with the plane, boys, swing with the plane, aim just in front. And then I gave the order ‘shoot’.
- Mainwaring: No, no not ‘shoot’; FIRE!
- [The platoon have instinctively followed the order and pulled the triggers on their guns, which were loaded, unknown to them. Pieces of debris rain down from the roof as the Vicar and Mr Yeatman come rushing in]
- Mr Yeatman: VANDALS!
From the episode The Enemy Within the Gates
- Polish Officer: You’re supposed to keep a look out like soldiers, not talk like old women. What are you names?
- Jones: Jones, sir.
- Pike: Pike, sir.
- Walker: Smith.
- Jones (to Walker): Walker.
- Walker (to Jones): Oh, thanks very much.
- Polish Officer: It’s no good you try and give me falseys
From the episode Uninvited Guests
- [After talking for an stupidly long time about how he had seen a curse]
- Frazer: DEATH! THE RUBY WILL BRING YE DEATH! DE-E-ATH!
- Pike: Did the curse come true?
- Frazer: Aye, son, it did. He died… last year; he was 86
From the episode High Finance
- Hodges: (about lowering Mrs. Pike’s rent) I’ll do nothing of the sort. It’s my property and I’ll charge what I want for it.
- Jones: Oh, no you won’t. I shall report you to the Chamber of Commerce, and they’ll throw you out on your ear.
- Frazer: And, as a member of the chamber of commerce (taps the table), I second that.
- Godfrey: And I third it.
- Frazer: (Amid much noise) You’re not a shopkeeper, so shut up.