'Dad's Army' writer David Croft dies

Wed, Sep 28, 2011, 01:00

LONDON – Tributes have been paid to comedy writer David Croft, the co-creator of sitcoms including Dad’s Army, who died in Portugal yesterday aged 89.

His string of blockbuster BBC shows included ’Allo ’Allo, It Ain’t Half Hot Mumand Hi-De-Hi!

A statement released by his family said he “died peacefully in his sleep at his house in Portugal earlier today”.

His partnership with Jimmy Perry proved to be one of British television’s most successful.

Together, they wrote Dad’s Army, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-De-Hi!and You Rang, M’Lord?He also worked with Jeremy Lloyd on shows including Are You Being Served?, ’Allo ’Alloand Grace and Favour.

Ian Lavender, who played put-upon Private Pike in Dad’s Army,said Croft was “a lovely, gentle, quiet man”. He said: “A lot of his direction was through nods, winks and smiles in rehearsal rather than pages of notes and discussions. He was very content with what he was doing. There are not many people who can see something they made 40 years ago still pulling in audiences in their millions.”

Croft was born into showbusiness, both his parents being actors. He landed a small part in a 1939 film of Goodbye, Mr Chips. But then the war intervened.

His wartime experience provided him with material and he returned to the era for three of his biggest shows – ’Allo ’Allo, set in Nazi-occupied France, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, set in India and Burma, and most famously Dad’s Army, which ran for 80 episodes over nine years from 1968 to 1977. It had a cast including Arthur Lowe as pompous bank manager Captain Mainwaring and Clive Dunn as old soldier Lance Corporal Jones. – (PA)