‘The Man and the Hour’ (TV)

Dad's Army


Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘The Man and the Hour’ is the first episode of the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series. The episode begins with a pre-opening credits scene set in the then modern day after the war ended. It has our ‘Dad’s Army’ characters, older, gathered for a meal as Mr. Mainwaring speaks about the ‘Backing Britain’ campaign.

In the actual episode, Arthur Lowe as George Mainwaring, the manager of Swallows Bank, forms the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) in Walmington on Sea. He makes himself captain and chooses his chief clerk, John Le Mesurier as Arthur Wilson, to be his sergeant. 😀 He recruits the LDVs at the church hall.

I greatly like how this first episode introduces and sets up the ‘Dad’s Army’ characters. Mainwaring is pretty keen and determined to be the captain of the new LDV at Walmington-on-Sea. He clearly feels important; with wanting to play his part to serve the war effort and to defend his home from the Nazis.

I also like how Wilson gets introduced when taking part in the LDV recruitment for Mainwaring and becoming his sergeant. Wilson’s a good foil for Mainwaring. He’s clearly not forthright and commanding. I liked the moments when Mainwaring scolded Wilson for not being militaristic as he is.

It was pretty good when the LDVs were being recruited in the church hall. I like how Mainwaring and Wilson meet John Laurie as Frazer, Arnold Ridley as Godfrey, James Beck as Walker and Clive Dunn as Jones for the first time. Jones’ introduction was very funny to watch. There’s also Ian Lavender as Pike.

Sadly, the recruitment process gets interrupted when Bill Pertwee as the ARP warden Hodges tells Mainwaring to get ‘this lot’ out of the church hall so that he can do his lecture. The episode also introduces Janet Davies as Mrs. Pike, who ‘molly-coddles’ her son a lot and has something with Wilson.

The episode also features Caroline Dowdeswell as Miss Janet King, who works at Swallows Bank with Mainwaring, Wilson and Pike. There’s also John Ringham as Bracewell, who becomes an LDV member and never appears again after this episode in the series. That’s odd. Where did Bracewell go after this?

‘The Man and the Hour’ is a wonderful introduction to the ‘Dad’s Army’ team with superb cast performances by Arthur Lowe; John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn and the rest. I enjoyed how the episode ended. Despite being bumbling in the episode, Mainwaring and his men are determined to fight Hitler.

‘The Man and the Hour’ (TV) rating – 8/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

I enjoyed the radio version of the first ‘Dad’s Army’ episode from the TV series. It was interesting to hear and compare it to the TV version. The radio version of ‘The Man and the Hour’ started off the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series in 1974. I noticed a lot of differences from the TV version in the radio version.

One of the differences is the fact that a lot of the scenes featured in the radio version of ‘The Man and the Hour’ get taken from the 1971 ‘Dad’s Army’ film. This includes Mainwaring, Wilson and Pike listening to the broadcast of Anthony Eden’s speech on the wireless inside a shop in the high street. 🙂

The order for Mainwaring and Wilson being introduced the other ‘Dad’s Army’ characters is different in the radio version compared to the TV version. In the radio version, it’s Walker, Frazer, Jones and Godfrey compared to Frazer, Godfrey, Walker and Jones. Wilson also asks Walker if he’s a baritone. 🙂

The characters of ARP warden Hodges and Mrs. Pike don’t make an appearance in the radio version of ‘The Man and the Hour’ compared to the TV version. There also isn’t a mock-up tank rehearsal in the radio version compared to the TV version. I imagine that would’ve been tricky to interpret for radio.

John Ringham’s character of Bracewell doesn’t appear in the radio version of this episode. I wonder if Bracewell was considered to be a regular character in the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series but John Ringham wasn’t able to commit full-time to the role. Bracewell’s lines get given to other characters like Frazer.

An interesting thing to point out is that James Beck plays Walker in the ‘Dad’s Army’ radio series for a small number of episodes. This was before his death in 1973. I’m pleased James Beck did a small number of episodes in the radio series as it’s such a shame he didn’t get to do more due to his death.

Timothy Bateson guest stars as ‘everybody else’ in the radio version of ‘The Man and the Hour’, according to BBC announcer John Snagge. This includes characters like the G.H.Q. Driver who was in the TV version and characters like shopkeeper Elliott and General Wikinson who were in the 1971 film.

The episode finishes with Bud Flanagan’s song ‘Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?’ before the end credits. It’s interesting how the episode ended on that note, but it was very fitting since Mainwaring just gave the “So come on, Adolf! We’re ready for you!” speech. It’s not done like that again.

‘The Man and the Hour’ (Audio) rating – 8/10

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