Though not a central focus of many British comedies over the years, World War II was as much a part of some of the classic comedies of the 60’s and 70’s as it was a very real part of life for many people in Great Britain. In many cases, the BBC tread very lightly as they dealt with series that made light of the war. Two of the most classic were Dad’s Army and ‘Allo, ‘Allo, both written by Sir David Croft. Jimmy Perry co-wrote Dad’s Army and the great Jeremy Lloyd co-wrote ‘Allo, ‘Allo.
Dad’s Army and the Home Guard
Dad’s Army lasted longer than the war itself. It was based on the Home Guard, a group of men who volunteered during the war to be the last line of defense should the Germans actually invade Great Britain. The series, which lasted 9 seasons from 1968-1977, starred Arthur Lowe as Captain George Mainwaring, a pompous bank manager, as commander of the Home Guard.
Listen very carefully, I will say this only once — ‘Allo, ‘Allo
Set in the occupied portion of France during World War II, ‘Allo, ‘Allo tells the story of Renee Artois, a French cafe owner who spends his time juggling the French Resistance, bumbling British Airmen, the German Army, the Gestapo and the Italians. Oh yeah, there’s also the need to keep secret his ongoing affairs with his two waitresses from his wife. Airing from 1982-1992, ‘Allo, ‘Allo is classic British comedy mixing farce, slapstick, sexual innuendo and visual sight gags and starred Gordon Kaye as tireless cafe owner, Renee. Somehow, he even found time to play his dead twin brother.
I can help but think that the creator of the movie, Inglorious Bastards, watched ‘Allo, ‘Allo prior to writing the screenplay. Too many similarities. Especially, the scenes in the cafe. Tomorrow, we continue our look at war and British comedy, but shift focus to World War I and another classic series, Blackadder.