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
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    The 'Dads army' theme tune should become the new national anthem. Thanks for the laffs.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 87.

    The cafe has closed, the shop is shut up and the home guard mourn at arms. but they will go one, and peopel will laugh at them and with them again , he wasj ust that good.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 86.

    I loved this show it much better than the this X-factor we get now. Come on BBC let have shows like this back please.

    RIP David Croft.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 85.

    True comedy from geniuses. Recently John Sullivan and now David Croft. No violence, no swearing, no smut. Just a laugh a minute.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 84.

    Perhaps he is looking down, reading some of these comments with pride. I hope that he spent his years chuckling away at this ridiculous, comical world of ours, happy in the knowledge that he brought laughter to so many. For me, as has already been mentioned, Mainwaring and Pike with the 'don't tell him Pike' scene still reduces me tears rolling around on the floor.

    God bless you sir, sleep well.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 83.

    Dad's Army is comic genius in whichever form you wish. Subtle, warm with that brilliant observation of British class and mores, is I think one of the very few such that may be called timeless. I never bothered too much with the others and did not like 'Allo 'Allo first time around until they showed one of the many series of repeats and now I think that too is genius.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 82.

    David Croft now you're aloft feel the love of all those who loved your comedy over the many years it has been shown on our telly's which is up to the present day. & is still better than all the junk we have to endure in this day & age.

    Thank you for the comedy, the real comedy, & nothing but the comedy. You were it...the true comedy "Genius".


    Goodbye, thanks, & rest in peace.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 81.

    Let's celebrate David Crofts' Life, for he nudged the funny-bone in all of us. I lost my Dad, a former German POW, aged 88 earlier this year. He was a big fan of the Dad's Army series. David Croft showed wonderfully, the absurdity of war and the portrayals of all the various characters were beautifully judged by both the writers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 80.

    We've lived through a golden era of dignified and extremely funny humour, indeed the Best of British thanks to David Croft et al. Among the catalogue of his classic one liners recalled in this HYS is one I still use to this day especially for lame excuses is, "Oh dear, how sad, never mind - CARRY ON & GET IT DONE ! Every teenager needs a Sarn't Major Sahib.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    what a shame that David has died, he was a legend and give me so much laughter over so many years and I also like his shows because all the family can watch them unlike a lot of sitcoms today.
    My condolences to his wife and his family at this very sad time and David thanks for all the laughs.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 78.

    As I sit here and sadly contemplate the passing of another comedy genius this year versus the daily diet of "trash / chav TV" we have been fed by all stations in the last few years, the famous phrase of Fraser from Dad's Army springs to mind for TV comedy in the future.......

    Doomed, doomed.....................we're all doomed I tell ye!!

    RIP David and condolences to your family.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 77.

    Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.
    You were a genius, Mr Croft, and you will be very sadly missed.
    A true genius of your time, and sadly, judging by today's poor comedy, completely irreplaceable.
    I could watch your shows today, over and over, and they'll always feel fresh and funny.
    RIP Mr Croft.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 76.

    A good innings and a great legacy, thank you David Croft. RIP.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 75.

    A true legend of British comedy. David, you were an important part of 'the golden age'. Your talent will be sorely missed.

    Rest in peace.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 74.

    The sad truth is that if somebody wrote 'Dad's Army' or 'Are You Being Served, now, the BBC would not be interested. The day of funny comedy on the tele are over (Though not on the radio) It's all clever, new wave stuff - but it is not funny.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 73.

    A true comedy great,he will be sadly missed.
    I grew up with dads army,and its still enjoyed today,such magical comedy charm,what else can be said.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    Croft produced comedies you can watch over and over again and still laugh as hard as you did the first time. He will be missed and my thoughts go to his family and friends.

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 71.

    Dad's Army - truly outstanding comedy, Affectionate, iconic and with a cast perfectly assembled. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of 'Allo 'Allo, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, or Hi De Hi which are appalling beyond expression.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    Thanks Jim..your laughs live on

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    While I still howled with laughter as a kid, it wasn't until I grew up that I began to appreciate the sheer depth of the Dad's Army characters: for example, that Sgt. Fraser absolutely hated Cptn. Mainwaring, but kept it as hidden as he could. Fantastic stuff indeed.

    And I don't know a single person who doesn't know where "You stupid boy!" comes from...

 

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