‘My Brother and I’ (TV)

Dad's Army


Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is my absolute favourite Christmas Special episode from the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series. It features Arthur Lowe starring as two characters. They’re Captain Mainwaring and his brother Barry who’s a drunkard. Barry causes trouble when he goes and visits his brother to get a gold watch back off him.

I’m impressed with Arthur Lowe’s dual performances as Captain Mainwaring and Barry Mainwaring. It’s an interesting and an amusing contrast to see Mainwaring’s ‘poe-face’ exterior compared to his brother’s light-hearted and drunken manner. Mainwaring disapproves of his brother so greatly here.

The visual effects for Arthur Lowe playing both Mainwaring and his brother are impressive for their time. I’m sure it’s CSO (Colour Separation Overlay) effects that are being used to achieve the illusion as well as some clever camera effects. The brilliant acting by Arthur Lowe in the two roles helps that.

There are a few scenes where Mainwaring and his brother appear in the same room together. This happens when Mainwaring visits his brother at the Red Lion inn. I enjoyed some of the back-story shared between Mainwaring and his brother during the episode, especially with their father’s death.

Barry Mainwaring is someone who deals in ‘jokes and carnival novelties’. This can account for his drunkenness. I like how Arthur Lowe performs as Barry when he’s drunk and trying to control his drunkenness compared to how Mainwaring is sober, pompous and very disapproving of his brother.

Early on, Mainwaring tried to make a point to Pike in his ‘Hotspur’ article that Home Guard drinking in pubs is not true before announcing a sherry party taking place which is funny. Mainwaring also says things about his family that aren’t true such as his father being a master tailor instead of draper.

Frazer is the first person who meets Barry Mainwaring on the train to Walmington-on-Sea. Frazer clearly shows pleasure in seeing Mainwaring humiliated by his brother and being shown as a fraud by the black sheep of the family. It was interesting when Barry tells Frazer his story about the watch.

Barry eventually turns up at the sherry party that the Home Guard are holding at the church hall. It was so funny when Barry turns up and is exceedingly drunk. I enjoyed it when the ‘Dad’s Army’ members try to get Barry out of the church hall without his brother and the party guests seeing him.

It was funny when Barry nicknames his brother as ‘Poe-Face’ in the episode. I liked it when Barry meets Hodges at the sherry party and is amused when he hears that he calls Mainwaring ‘Napoleon’ and saying that it’s ‘very good’. I liked it when Barry meets the Vicar, thinking it’s a fancy dress party.

Bill Pertwee guest stars as Hodges, Frank Williams guest stars as the Vicar and Edward Sinclair guest stars as the Verger. I liked it when Hodges, the Verger and the Vicar are invited to the sherry party and they have Godfrey’s cucumber sandwiches. In fact, they eat all of those sandwiches on the plate.

I’ve never known those recurring ‘Dad’s Army’ characters be so greedy. Godfrey is shocked when he sees them gobbled up by the Vicar, the Verger and Hodges. Godfrey sees only two sandwiches left and Hodges eats them up, telling him to go and get more. Godfrey’s face is so brilliant in that scene.

The episode also features Arnold Diamond as Major-General Anstruther-Stevens, who is like the main guest attending the sherry party and the only one who talks in the episode. 😀 There’s also Penny Irving as the chambermaid at the Red Lion inn and there’s Colin Bean as Private Sponge here.

I enjoyed it when Frazer and Jonesy tried to get Barry Mainwaring out through the window, but they can’t because he’s too big and heavy to carry through. I also found it funny when they tried to get Barry Mainwaring in a large box to carry him out and it’s so funny when he managed to get out of it.

I liked and laughed at some of Barry’s lines of dialogue when he was being carried out in his drunken state. They include, “Is this a parlour game…like sardines?” Also when he’s put into the box he says, “You’re not going to saw me in half, are you?” and when he’s stepping out, “What floor is this then?”

I found it interesting how the episode ended. Mainwaring refused to let Barry have his gold watch when he saw him at the Red Lion inn before eventually giving it to him. When Wilson gets the watch back for Mainwaring, Mainwaring tells Wilson to return the watch back to Barry and wish him well. 🙂

‘My Brother and I’ is one of the best ‘Dad’s Army’ Christmas Specials ever made in the TV series. I enjoyed Arthur Lowe’s dual performance as Mainwaring and his brother Barry in this. It highlights his talents as a comedy actor and it’s one of the Christmas Specials I always look forward to at that time.

‘My Brother and I’ (TV) rating – 10/10

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