Dad's Army at 40 | How Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson got called up

Argument about Opening Titles of 'Dad's Army'

Head of BBC Comedy defends 'Dad's Army'.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1968


FROM: H.C.L.E.Tel. [initials for Head of Comedy and Light Entertainment,
Television - Michael Mills]
SUBJECT: DAD'S ARMY: ALTERATION TO CAPTIONS
May 23rd 1968

TO: C. BBC-1 [initials for Controller, BBC-1 - Paul Fox]
Copy to: H.L.E.G. [Initials for Head of Light Entertainment Group - Tom Sloan]

A requested by you, following C. Tel.P's viewing of the first of this series, the
amendments listed below will be made to the opening and closing titles of this
series.

1) The shots (2) of refugees in the opening titles will be replaced.

2) The shots of Nazi troops (with the captions and the artists super-imposed) will
be replaced by something entirely innocuous.

Having established that your wishes are going to be carried out, I would like to
record profound disquiet over your decision. This is the first "new-look" programme
on BBC-l for which I have been responsible, and I am shocked about the alteration
required (in 2 above). The whole object of this comedy series is to contrast the
pathetic, comic, but valorous nature of the Home Guard, who believed at the time
that this (the Nazi hordes) was what they were up against! It seems to me to be not
only right but essential that this fact is brought home to the viewers - and it is,
surely, our justification for doing a comedy programme on this subject.

Looking, as I do, at the abrasive nature of some of the output of other departments
in the BBC television service I cannot help wondering whether we, in the Comedy
Department, are controlled by different standards, i.e. clowns must stay clowns.

In any case this decision cannot help but have a depressing effect upon me and upon
some other people working in this department. The thought that other departments in
television are allowed to advance their output into new areas, while we, apparently,
are not can only have a bad effect in the long run.

[Handwritten signature: "MM"]

(Michael Mills)


ABOUT THE BBC ARCHIVE
The BBC Archive - sharing pictures, documents and programmes from the last 75
years of the BBC's broadcasting history. To find out more visit:
www.bbc.co.uk/archive

Document Type | Memo

23 May 1968

Document version

Writtenin

1968

Synopsis

In this memo, Michael Mills, the Head of BBC Comedy and Light Entertainment, responds to instructions from Paul Fox, the Controller of BBC1, to remake the planned opening titles of 'Dad's Army'.

Did you know?

The original plan for the opening title sequence for 'Dad's Army' was to include footage of real solders as a reminder that the comedy was based on true events. However, the Controller of BBC1 at the time, Paul Fox, felt the images selected were distasteful and ordered for them to be re-edited. In this memo, Michael Mills, the head of BBC Comedy and Light Entertainment, outlines the reasons to keep the titles as originally planned.

Read Paul Fox's response.

More like this...

Documents

A letter from Arthur Lowe.

Letter from Arthur Lowe

WRITTEN 1948
1 Page

Arthur Lowe begins his acting career.

A letter from actor Bill Pertwee.

Letter from Bill Pertwee

WRITTEN 1957
2 Pages

Bill Pertwee arranges a BBC audition.

A letter from Michael Grade about Clive Dunn.

Letter from Clive Dunn's agent

WRITTEN 1968
1 Page

Clive Dunn's agent confirms billing order.

A memo from Michael Mills to Paul Fox about Dad's Army.

Argument about Opening Titles of 'Dad's Army'

WRITTEN 1968
1 Page

Head of BBC Comedy defends 'Dad's Army'.

A memo from Paul Fox to Michael Mills about Dad's Army.

Memo from Controller of BBC1 to Head of Comedy

WRITTEN 1968
1 Page

Paul Fox justifies his instructions to re-edit the 'Dad's Army' title sequence.

The 'Dad's Army' Press Release

'Dad's Army' Press Release

WRITTEN c. 1968
3 Pages

BBC Publicity prepares the way for a new BBC comedy.

Programme Review Board Minutes for 'Dad's Army'

Programme Review Board Minutes for 'Dad's Army'

WRITTEN 1968
1 Page

BBC executives review the first episode of 'Dad's Army'.

'Dad's Army' Audience Response Report

'Dad's Army' Audience Response Report

WRITTEN 1968
2 Pages

The BBC finds out what the viewers thought of 'Dad's Army'.

BBC Publicity Memo on 'Dad's Army'

BBC Publicity Memo on 'Dad's Army'

WRITTEN 1968
1 Page

The producer of 'Dad's Army' receives good news from BBC Publicity.

Memo from Controller of BBC1 to David Croft

Memo from Controller of BBC1 to David Croft

WRITTEN 1970
1 Page

Controller of BBC1 Paul Fox sends a letter of congratulations to the producer of 'Dad's Army', David Croft.

Letter from John Laurie

Letter from John Laurie

WRITTEN 1977
1 Page

John Laurie declares he's not finished.

Programme Review Board Minutes.

Programme Review: Final episode of 'Dad's Army'

WRITTEN 1977
1 Page

BBC executives pay tribute to producer of 'Dad's Army' after show's final episode airs.

Audience Response for the final episode of 'Dad's Army'.

Audience Response: 'Dad's Army' Final Episode

WRITTEN 1977
1 Page

Viewers are surveyed on their feelings about the last ever episode of 'Dad's Army'.

Galleries

Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe).

The 'Dad's Army' Cast

Meet the stars and regular supporting players of 'Dad's Army'.

Corporal Jones in a haystack.

Episode Images from 'Dad's Army'

Pictures of the 'Dad's Army' cast from episodes throughout the nine series.

Producer David Croft

Behind the Scenes on 'Dad's Army'

See the cast and production crew in the studio and on location.

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.