Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

David Croft, writer of Dad's Army, has died aged 89

David Croft, the creator and writer of many of the BBCs greatest sitcoms including Dad’s Army and Allo! Allo! has died at the age of 89. In a career which spanned five decades, Croft delivered many of the most amusing and brilliant British comedies of the last century.

Born David Sharland, Croft served in the Second World War and started his career as a TV producer. When he met Perry, who was then an actor, they began one of British comedy’s most successful collaborations. Their portrayal of the Home Guard in Dad’s Army was affectionate and respectful, but it also delivered many of the greatest moments ever in television comedy. In a 2004 BBC poll program, Britain’s Best Sitcom, Dad’s Army came fourth, some 36 years after it was first broadcast.

The pair also went on to make other national favourites such as It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Hi-de-Hi! His other great writing partnership was with Jeremy Lloyd, and together they wrote Are You Being Served. His final great sitcom was the French resistance farce, Allo! Allo!. The never-ending adventures of café owner, René, as they attempt to hide British airmen and smuggle pictures of “The Befallen Madonna with the Big Boobies”, remain incredibly popular.

Croft’s work was old-fashioned in many ways, but it wasn’t safe. Making a comedy about the Home Guard in the sixties was quite risky, and even the WWII setting of Allo! Allo! was considered inappropriate for a light-hearted farce in the 1980s.

Croft’s CV speaks for itself as a testament to how great a servant of television he was. He brought an incalculable amount of entertainment to Britain and many other countries, and was awarded the OBE in 1978. He was one of the really great men of British television and, without him, British comedy would not be what it is today.

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