Dad's Army co-writer David Croft dies at the age of 89


Television writer David Croft dies aged 89

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David Croft, co-writer and producer of classic comedies including 'Allo 'Allo and Hi-de-Hi has died at the age of 89, his family has announced.

He died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Portugal. His family called him a "truly great man" in a statement.

Croft's military sitcoms It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Dad's Army, written with Jimmy Perry, were hits in the 1970s.

He is also credited with Are You Being Served and its 1990s spin-off Grace and Favour.

Actor Melvyn Hayes, one of the stars of It Ain't Half Hot Mum, called Croft a "genius" and said it was "a privilege to work with" him.

"There were no swear words in his shows. His programmes were the kind of thing you could sit in front of the TV and watch with your grandmother and grandchildren," he told the BBC.

Welsh actress Ruth Madoc, who played Gladys Pugh in Hi-de-Hi, also paid tribute to the writer.

Start Quote

He just knew what tickled people, what made people smile”

End Quote Ian Lavender, Pike in Dad's Army

"He taught us so much, that was the great thing about him," she told the BBC News Channel.

"He'd let you look in the camera lens and he'd teach you about that shot.

"He was a very, very clever man and not only did he do television but he slipped so easily into producing, writing and directing theatre, too."

Jon Plowman, former head of comedy at the corporation, said Croft "invented a whole genre of comedy that was all his own".

"The world is a less funny place for his going," he added.

Croft, who was awarded an OBE in 1978 for services to television, worked alongside Jeremy Lloyd on both the department store sitcom and wartime farce 'Allo 'Allo, which was set in Nazi-occupied France.

Comedians and writers have taken to Twitter to post tributes. Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell added: "His best monument is that his shows are still repeated."

Fruitful partnership

All of Croft's hits were produced for the BBC, the last being Oh, Doctor Beeching in 1993 - after which he retired from the corporation.

A decade later, Croft was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards.

Croft was born as David John Sharland to stage actress Annie Croft and Reginald Sharland, a successful Hollywood radio actor.

He enlisted in the army during World War II, which was to provide some of his later comic inspiration for Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

Dad's Army Wartime sitcom Dad's Army was one of Croft's most enduring creations

Dad's Army was the first of his series to come to TV screens, in 1968, and marked the start of his fruitful and long-lived comic partnership with Jimmy Perry.

The BBC initially had misgivings about the concept - which followed the fortunes of a Home Guard platoon, the last line of defence should the Germans have invaded Britain during World War II.

But the affection with which the characters were treated soon endeared the show to audiences and corporate bosses alike.

The series went on to gain the creative partnership a trio of awards from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain in 1969-71.

More than 40 years after it was first screened, the sitcom is still being shown.

Ian Lavender, who played the hapless Private Pike in the series said Croft was "a great comic writer".

"He just knew what tickled people, what made people smile," he told BBC News.

"I have never come across anyone in the Home Guard who said Dad's Army was a disgrace.

"They say they all had a Mainwaring in their platoon. We were laughing with them, not at them."

Among Croft's other achievements, he wrote scripts for numerous well-loved pantomimes and produced television shows in Hollywood and Australia.

The statement posted on his official website by his family added: "He was a truly great man, who will be missed by all who had the great fortune of knowing and loving him."

It added that he would have been "proud that you had all been watching", a nod to the tagline that appeared at the end of Croft's TV sitcoms.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    He may be gone, but his legacy will live on for years and give future generations a smile on their faces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    He as left a legacy of great comedy shows that will continue to make people laugh in years to come. Could be a bit risque but in such away that you could watch with children because it went over their heads but still made them laugh for example Mrs Slocombes pussy. Nobody currently writing comes even close to him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    If Saint Peter asks your name, don't tell him Croft! Sad day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    In the words of the brilliant comic creation Office Crabtree...

    The loss of a grote rotter, I diff my hut...

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    How sad. Another talent responsible for lighting up my childhood is gone, and what a talent. Like John Sullivan after him, he made so many of us laugh and nearly cry at the small screen, and gave us characters that will live with us for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace, David.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    gud moaning

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    How very sad - yet another comedy genius gone to the great studio in the sky this year. My Dad, Bob Block (creator and writer of Rentaghost, Grandad, Crackerjack etc.) died in April this year; John Sullivan died just weeks later and now poor David Croft. Our family's sincerest condolences to David's family. The only good thing is that heaven must be rocking with laughter right now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    They really do not write comedy like they use to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Simply to say thank you for many hours of pleasure. Cheers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I remember watching Dad's Army with my gran and grandad at weekends during the '70s. Wonderful programme and I have wonderful memories of them both howling with laughter at the antics of the various characters. It's a programme that never ages as it was old before its time - thank you Mr Croft for giving me such fun with my grandparents RIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    They'll be drinking to David Croft tonight in the BBC bar, one hopes. They'll not see his like again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    How sad that David Croft has passed away. May he rest in peace.
    Thanks for the wonderful laughter he has brought into millions of homes!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    One of the reasons that so little of Dad's Army is missing is due in part to the actions of David Croft. When a request was sent to producers to have a show wiped he 'contrived to withhold consent'. Thanks David, I wish other producers of the time would have done the same thing, think how many other gems could have been saved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I still look forward to my weekly dose of Dad's Army. Alongside Porridge and Only Fools And Horses, this is how comedy should work, and shows pretty much what is wrong with nearly all the nonsense produced these days.

    Rest easy Mr Croft - you made generations of us laugh, many times over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Get it ain,t half hot mum back, give us a bit of decent comedy for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I liked Dads Army, as did a German friend of mine (he had all the dvds), but not It ain't arf hot mum nor did I think much of Allo, allo. As for Maplins and the Beeching and My Lord spin-offs, least said the better.
    But he gave an awful lot of pleasure to many many people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I'm in my early 20's i only ever saw such classics like "allo' allo'" and "dad's army" on repeat and vhs, but some of my most memorable moments of my childhood came from watching these shows with my father and grandfather. comedy is now written for specific age groups and croft was certainly one of the pioneers making several generations laugh. the man and his comedy will be sorely missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Goodness me, how very desperately we need Croft and Perry comedies back today. It's really the passing of one half of a fantastic partnership producing hilarious material we won't ever see again. Very sad.

    I watched Allo Allo when I was very young and found it hilarious. Although Croft and Perry could actually be a bit risque at times you could always trust them with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    RIP David Croft - a great man. He had an outstanding talent for creating solid, believable characters of great depth, and writing story lines that were true to them. Thus Pte. Fraser viewed Pte Godfrey superficially as a coward, but we all believed the back-story that revealed Godfrey (MC, RAMC) as a WW1 hero. We believed because Croft had written the wherewithal into the character. Genius.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Thanks, David, for so many belly laughs. You will be sorely missed. R.I.P


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