Dad’s Army, one of the most popular British comedy series in the history of British comedies according to the Britain’s Best Sitcom poll several years ago, has transformed from the small screen to the live stage. Based on real-life Home Guard experiences of co-writer Jimmy Perry, Dad’s Army has joined a growing group of British comedies that have spawned stage plays. Recently, both Keeping Up Appearances and Yes Minister have taken the leap to the stage.
Led by self-appointed Captain Mainwaring, local bank manager, the original series centered around the Home Guard, local volunteers during the Second World War that were charged as being England’s last line of defense should Germany ever invade. Volunteers who were generally deemed ineligible for active military service usually due to age.
Real-life definitely imitated comedy art as live World War II grenades were being used as props during rehearsals for the upcoming stage play. The popular Britcom’s catchphrase, “Don’t Panic” was never more necessary when the actor in the role of Corporal Jones discovered the live grenades and uttered the phrase to others in the cast during rehearsals, then called police who carried out a controlled explosion.
Real-life may have imitated art, but all ended well, just as it did for Captain Mainwaring and Corporal Jones 40+ years ago.