If you get a sec watch We’re Doomed, which is a drama about the making of Dad’s Army – aired originally last night – now available on iPlayer.
My own dad was 80 this year, probably a bit older than most of your dads; he was born the year that war broke out and when he was 7, walking home from somewhere where he grew up in Erith, Kent, a Messerschmitt, also on its way back home, chased him down next to a railway siding and unloaded a lot of unused ammunition at him.
My dad ran and ran – he ran for his life – and was, as it happens, leapt upon by two loitering Home Guard officers who fell upon this small bespectacled boy, to protect him from the the armed warplane, with no thought for their own safety. They all escaped undamaged. True story. You ought to hear dad tell it – your hair on the back of your neck will stand up.
So the Second World War was no distant memory in the Walker household of the 1980s – it was a real, living and breathing thing. And Dad’s Army was on, all the time. I watched it a lot with my parents; I can’t think that I can possibly have understood it or thought it was funny but I hold it in complete and deep affection.
We didn’t hate the Germans in my house, by the way. Nor the Japanese, nor the Russians. That’s the thing about my Dad – we were taught to be cold rationalists and to always respect market forces. You may detect some of it in my prose here and elsewhere.
Anyway, We’re Doomed is, to my mind, a magical piece of telly. So, as I said, watch it if you get a sec. And mind out for those Messerschmitts -real, or metaphorical.