Why I Read It: I'm a Britcom junkie.
Summary: The making of the classic television series as seen through the eyes of the show's antagonist.
My Thoughts: As much as I wanted to hate the character of ARP Warden Hodges throughout the series, I just couldn't. The part was just so well cast. Played by the author, he was the perfectly defined caricature of an overzealous "Put that light out!" screaming, self-important uniformed wartime official.
I was introduced to Dad's Army through streamed radio episodes on BBC Radio. When the TV series appeared on Netflix, I made it my daily viewing on the elliptical at the gym.
As with any TV series, I lived with the characters, and was disappointed when the show ended. I knew I would miss them and their catchphrases, and I wanted new content. Thus, I found the book.
Pertwee was there from the beginning, always the thorn in the side of Captain Mainwaring and the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guards. The book goes behind the scenes, though, to present biographical information on each of the show's most important people, from the actors to the writers and producers. Pertwee relays their adventures on location in Thetford, where the bulk of the filming was done, sharing the inside jokes and the warmth and camaraderie shared among all members of the cast, including the wardens.
It was almost like finding out that professional wrestlers travel together between shows, sometimes the bad guys and good guys in the same car.
The book offers looks at the numerous iconic buildings and locations related to the series, linking map locations to well-known on-screen backdrops. Pertwee also carries us forward beyond the series to the Dad's Army Appreciation Society, museum exhibits, parades and more. We get an up-to-2009 update of the lives of the actors and the characters, who live on through living history actors.
The sadness of it all, of course, is that not only has Pertwee passed on since writing the updated (2009) version of his book, so have all of the other familiar faces from the series, save for two: Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike, the youngest member of the platoon; and Frank Williams, the Vicar. Thankfully, they have all been captured forever together on film, on the radio and even in this book.