Dad's Army

Season 1 Episode 1

The Man and the Hour

1
Aired Wednesday 8:20 PM Jul 31, 1968 on BBC
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
13 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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The Man and the Hour
AIRED:
After listening to a radio broadcast asking for men to form what was to become known as the home guard, George Mainwaring, a local bank manager, decides to act and form the platoon on his own. He appoints himself as Captain and recruits his chief bank clerk Arthur Wilson as the platoon sergeant as well as enlisting the banks office boy Frank Pike. Several of the local tradesmen, including James Frazer; a philatelist shopkeeper, retired shop worker Charles Godfrey, Jack Jones the butcher and black market business man; Joe Walker also volunteer their service for 'King and Country'.. And so, The Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard was born.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A confident start.

    8.0
    This first episode of a classic programme shows that the writers knew what they were doing. The familiar characters are exactly what they would turn out to be, though Mainwaring is perhaps not that pompous yet and Jones is a bit dafter/older than later in the series. Each classic character is carefully introduced, given a clear background and offered a chance to shine. (How ironic that this initial black/white season was rarely repeated, so that most viewers never got to see these introductions. The characters proved to be so well defined that casual viewers could pick up the thread anywhere.)



    How much is this characterisation the result of the actors' input? If you know that the makers originally wanted John Pertwee for Mainwaring, Robert Dorning for Wilson and David Jason (then only 28 years old) for Jones, you have to wonder. Perhaps the actors immediately put their own stamp on their roles. Jimmy Perry has admitted that for later series he wrote with the actors' personalities in mind.



    An underestimated element of the show is the writers' willingness to incorporate the awful side of the war. Beneath all the fun lie some serious emotions. Perhaps that is why this episode is not as funny as some of the classic ones. After all, it tells the story of a nation in a panic. On the dvd the makers mention a dispute between the writers and the producer. Croft and Perry wanted to incorporate real German propaganda footage in the end credits (behind the main characters marching) but the producers felt that that would be too gruesome. It is this realism that would make the programme the classic that it is.moreless
Arthur Lowe

Arthur Lowe

Captain George Mainwaring

John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier

Sergeant Arthur Wilson

Clive Dunn

Clive Dunn

Lance Corporal Jack Jones

John Laurie

John Laurie

Private James Frazer

James Beck

James Beck

Private Joe Walker

Arnold Ridley

Arnold Ridley

Private Charles Godfrey

John Ringham

John Ringham

Bracewell

Guest Star

Neville Hughes

Neville Hughes

Soldier

Guest Star

Janet Davies

Janet Davies

Mrs Pike

Recurring Role

Caroline Dowdeswell

Caroline Dowdeswell

Janet King

Recurring Role

Bill Pertwee

Bill Pertwee

A.R.P. Warden

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof - Equipment in shot A microphone boom is seen briefly in the top left hand corner of the picture at the start of the first Church Hall scene.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Phraseometer
      0 = You stupid boy! Mainwaring
      0 = I wondered who'd be the first to spot that one Mainwaring
      1 = Permission to speak sir! Jones
      0 = Don't panic! Don't panic! Jones
      0 = I'd like to volunteer... Jones
      1 = They don't like it up 'em Jones
      0 = We're doomed! Frazer
      0 = Put that light out! Hodges

    • Mainwaring: Well, we're making progress. A short time ago we were just an undisciplined mob. Now we can deal with tanks, we can kill with our pikes, we can make 'em all sneeze with our pepper and, after all, even the Hun is a very poor fighter with his head buried in a handkerchief. But remember men, we have one invaluable weapon on our side. We have an unbreakable spirit to win; A bulldog tenacity that will help us to hang on while there's breath left in our bodies. You don't get that with Gestapos and jackboots. You get that by being British! So come on Adolf, we're ready for you!

    • Mavis: Frank! It's your bedtime!
      Pike: I can't come now Mum, I'm blowing up a tank!
      Mavis: Yes, well you'll just have to blow it up tomorrow!

    • Mainwaring: Now look here Godfrey, hand over that gun at once!
      Godfrey: I don't see why I should!
      Mainwaring: Are you refusing to obey an order on active service? You realise we could have you shot for this?
      Walker: That'll be a bit tricky, since he's the only one with a gun!

    • Jones: Oh, sir... there's, um... (looks around him)... there's a couple of pounds of steak there sir. Complements of the house.
      Mainwaring: (very pleased) Oh!
      Jones: Yes Sir. Oh by the way sir, what about my stripe?
      Wilson: Your stripe?
      Jones: I was a Lance Corporal for 14 years. Can I keep it?
      Mainwaring: No Jones, I 'm afraid you can't.
      Jones: Well in that case, I'll keep the steak.

    • Mainwaring: Occupation?
      Godfrey: Well as a matter of fact I'm retired, but I was 25 years in the Civil Service.
      Mainwaring: Oh really? Indian or British?
      Godfrey: Civil Service Stores.

    • Mainwaring: Occupation?
      Frazer: I keep a philatelist's shop.
      Mainwaring: How do you spell that?
      Frazer: S-H-O-P

    • Wilson: Did you get any enrolement forms?
      Mainwaring: No.
      Wilson: Well, hadn't they got any at the police station?
      Mainwaring: They wouldn't let me have them without putting in an application form.
      Wilson: Well, why didn't you sir?
      Mainwaring: They hadn't got any.

    • (Mainwaring has unwittingly got a large round soot mark on his face after using a coal barrel as a megaphone)
      Wilson: I don't know how you do it sir!
      Mainwaring: Well, history repeats itself, Wilson. Times of peril always bring great men to the fore; Wellington, Churchill...
      Pike: Al Jolson!
      Mainwaring: Al J... (glares at Pike, Pike exits the room quickly)

    • Mainwaring: I told them that I hold a commission and that I served in the last conflict.
      Wilson: Somewhere in the Orkneys wasn't it sir?
      Mainwaring: I was a commissioned officer Wilson, and I served in France...during the whole of 1919.
      Wilson: Yes, but the war ended in 1918 I thought sir?
      Mainwaring: Somebody had to clear up the mess!

    • Mainwaring: At any moment, hoards of German parachutists may drop on us from the skies. They'll be using all sorts of disguises you know? A whole platoon of them could come dressed as nuns, set up their headquarters in that church across the road and you'd never notice!
      Wilson: I think I would sir, you see that happens to be the methodist chapel.

    • Mainwaring: We have one invaluable weapon in our armoury: ingenuity and improvisation
      Frazer: That's two!

    • Mainwaring makes a (present day) speech at the launch of the 'I'm Backing Britain' Campaign
      Mainwaring: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Town Clark, ladies and gentlemen. When I was first invited to be guest of honour tonight at the launching of Walmington-on-sea's 'I'm Backing Britain' campaign, I accepted without hesitation. After all, I have always backed Britain. I got into the habit of it in 1940, but then we all backed Britain. It was the darkest hour in our history. The odds were obsurdly against us but young and old, we stood there defiant, determined to survive, to recover and finally to win. The news was desperate, but our spirits were always high.

  • NOTES (6)

    • The show opens with a pre-title sequence scene, set in the present day (1968), where Mainwaring is guest speaker at a campaign dinner. Present at the dinner are Godfrey, Pike, Walker, Frazer and Wilson (who is apparently Chairman) they are all wearing extra make-up to make them look reasonably older in comparison to what they look like when the show reverts to 1940 after the title sequence.

    • According to a date memo on Mainwaring's desk, the date is Tuesday 14th May, which is the historically correct date for the start of recruitment for Local Defence Volunteers.

    • For this episode only, the audience laugh track is included on the opening titles.

    • The opening titles involve an animated map of western europe and three arrows branded with the Union Jack drawing lines representing the progression of the British forces into France and Germany. These arrows are countered by three more arrows branded with Nazi swastikas pushing the British arrows back to the coast of England. Here the arrows stand their ground. The map then disappears and more Union Jack arrows form horizontal lines across the screen with the show title and creators, countered by a virtical black arrow with the main three cast members inside it. Finally the sequence ends with the episode number and title. The whole sequence is accompanied by the specially written song 'Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr. Hitlar' performed by the Coldstream Guards and sung by Bud Flanagan.

    • The end title sequence begins with the infamous words "You have been watching..." followed by each of the 7 main cast members marching while superimposed over a backdrop picture of a hilly valley. This picture fades as the guest cast and crew are listed in captions only. The whole sequence is accompanied by a non-vocal march style version of opening title music which ends in the sound of an air-raid siren sounding the all-clear.

    • First Appearances: Mainwaring, Wilson, Jones, Frazer, Walker, Godfrey, Pike, Mrs. Pike, Hodges.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Anthony Eden's radio broadcast

      On 14th May 1940 (the date this episode is set), the newly appointed Dominions Secretary: Anthony Eden, made a radio broadcast to the British public to encourage them to form their own small part of the Army (Nicknamed Dad's Army), known as 'Local Defence Volunteers' and later of course known as 'The Home Guard'. This radio broadcast is authentically featured in this episode.

    • Pike jokes about Mainwaring's soot covered face with a reference to Al Jolson.

      Lithuanian born Al Jolson was a star of many movies and known as 'The Greatest Entertainer' in the movie industry. Pike's reference is based on Al's part in the 1927 film 'The Jazz Singer' where Al's character 'Jakie Rabinowitz (Jack Robin)' puts on black face paint.

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