‘MUM’S ARMY’ (TV)
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In this episode, the womenfolk of Walmington-on-Sea get to join the Home Guard platoon. I enjoyed this episode very much and seeing how the women characters of ‘Dad’s Army’ get involved. This is also a bittersweet tale for Captain Mainwaring since he falls in love with the charming Fiona Gray in this.
Carmen Silvera guest stars as Mrs. Gray in the episode. Carmen Silvera is well-known for playing Edith, Rene Artois’ wife in the BBC sitcom series, ‘Allo, ‘Allo’. She’s very different here compared to how she played that character there. I’ve also seen her in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV story, ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’.
The first scene between Mainwaring and Mrs. Gray where they first meet was very sweet indeed. Mainwaring gets to demonstrate how charming he can be towards ladies. He has a growing love for Mrs. Gray here. This reflects how Mainwaring could have had a happier life compared to his own wife.
I did enjoy that scene where members of the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon bring their lady friends to sign up. As well as Wilson with Janet Davies as Mrs. Pike, there’s also Jones with Pamela Cundell as Mrs. Fox. There’s also Pike with Rosemary Faith as Ivy Samways, who has this really quiet voice when she speaks.
There’s also Walker with Wendy Richard as Edith Parish. She previously appeared in ‘The Two and a Half Feathers’ and would later change her name to Shirley in the series. Why that happens, I don’t know. And there’s Frazer with Julia Burbury as Miss Ironside, who’s this ‘lassie’ with ‘big strong thighs’.
There are some very funny moments in this episode, especially when the ladies parade with the ‘Dad’s Army’ team. Walker makes joking remarks during the parade which causes him to be sent home by Mainwaring. It was also amusing how the ladies’ ‘standing to attention’ and ‘at ease’ doesn’t quite work.
There are also moments of sadness in the episode, especially towards the end where Mainwaring begs Fiona Gray not to leave him. It’s unusual to have a ‘Dad’s Army’ episode to end on a rather sad, emotional note. But it works somehow and thankfully nobody is laughing to ruin the emotional scenes.
‘Mum’s Army’ is rated as one of the best ‘Dad’s Army’ episodes for Captain Mainwaring’s character. I saw it for the first time on one of ‘The Very Best of Dad’s Army’ VHSs. It was nice to see Mainwaring in a different light where he’s not so pompous and this shows how he can be romantic at heart at times.
‘Mum’s Army’ (TV) rating – 9/10
‘MUM’S ARMY’ (AUDIO)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘Mum’s Army’ was the twelfth episode in Series 2 of the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series. I don’t think it’s as good as the TV version since the emotional factor doesn’t seem to be as strong on the radio. There are also certain characters omitted and certain characters with reduced and often alternated dialogue.
We have all our main ‘Dad’s Army’ characters in the radio episode including Captain Mainwaring; Sergeant Wilson; Lance Corporal Jones; Private Frazer; Private Godfrey and Private Pike. Larry Martyn still plays the role of Private Walker in the radio series and hopefully is here to stay for the remainder.
The biggest guest star for this radio episode is of course Carmen Silvera who reprises her role of Mrs. Fiona Gray. Arthur Lowe insisted that Carmen Silvera reprised her role of Mrs. Gray for the radio version or else he wouldn’t record the episode. It’s clear Arthur Lowe liked Carmen Silvera as Mrs. Gray.
This radio episode also features the first appearance of Mollie Sugden as Mrs. Fox, Jonesy’ lady friend in the series. Mollie Sugden also starred in the sitcom series ‘Are You Being Served?’ I don’t think Mollie Sugden’s Mrs. Fox is as great as Pamela Cundell’s Mrs. Fox on TV. I prefer Pamela Cundell here.
Mollie Sugden also played the waitress, instead of Melita Manger as on TV, at Anne’s Pantry before it became the Marigold Tea Rooms in the series. Speaking of which, when it came to the bill for the two coffees at the café, it was fourpence instead of eightpence. How come the coffee is cheaper on radio?
There’s also Wendy Richard who reprises her role as Edith Parrish, Walker’s girlfriend before she changed her name to Shirley. A bit ironic Wendy Richard is playing Walker’s girlfriend in this episode considering she previously played Pike’s girlfriend, Violet Gibbons, in the radio version of ‘War Dance’.
It’s also a bit strange Mrs. Pike doesn’t appear in the radio version compared to the TV version when joining the Mum’s Army section of the ‘Dad’s Army’ platoon. Why couldn’t Pearl Hackney play Mrs. Pike in the episode? Was she unavailable for the recording? It’d change certain dialogue in the radio version.
It was amusing when Mainwaring gave his reasons to Wilson on why Mrs. Mainwaring couldn’t attend the Mum’s Army section. Ivy Samways and Miss Ironside don’t say much in the radio version as well as the TV. The last scene between Mainwaring and Mrs. Gray is still poignant and bittersweet on radio.
‘Mum’s Army’ (Audio) rating – 8/10
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