Permission to speak, sir?

Dad’s Army: CP1 of Walmington-on-Sea

A weekend of what to watch was resolved as disc 1 from the original Dad’s Army (1968-1977) television series was launched over the weekend. The catchy theme, often mistaken for a wartime tune, was written by the show’s creator Jimmy Perry who together with Derek Taverner wrote the music. The seemingly familiarity of the tune was brought about when Perry asked Bud Flanagan the well-known wartime entertainer to sing the lyric. The song, Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr. Hitler? added considerably to our erstwhile Home Guard troop of those too old or too young to serve or those in reserved occupations. The British sitcom ran for nine seasons comprising 80 episodes and was broadcast on BBC 1.

Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey MM. Wiki Image.

Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey MM.
Wiki Image.

Though I have previously written about the cast and their wartime service, I will again mention that both Arnold Ridley (Private Godfrey MM) and John Laurie (Private Frazer) were veterans of the Great War. Both men returned to service during the Second World War, Ridley being evacuated from Boulogne in 1940 and then served with the Caterham Home Guard (age 44) and so too Laurie (age 43). At the time of production in 1968 Ridley was 72 years of age and Laurie his junior at 71.

John Laurie as Private Godfrey. Wiki Image.

John Laurie as Private Godfrey.
Wiki Image.

The elder Private Jones was played by Clive Dunn (age 48) who wore late Victorian medal ribands on his CP1 battledress as a veteran of the Egypt and Sudan campaigns, the Second Boer War, India and the Great War. One of Jones’ catchphrases was, Permission to speak, sir?, and with the recent viewing I enjoyed his meanderings with the platoon and his ability to always be one step out from the remainder of his mates.

The British Home Guard wore printed shoulder designations comprising letters with numbers. The letters identified the area from which the guard was based, e.g. OXF (Oxford), DHM (Durham), NK (Norfolk), ESX (Essex) amongst many others. The television show used the designation CP1 and was not based on any town, the letters chosen were the show’s writers, David Croft (C) and Jimmy Perry (P).

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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