Dads Army star speaks out on first episode disappointment – No one was laughing

John Laurie says he thought Dad's Army was going to be boring

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Fans of the hit series Dad’s Army were recently able to enjoy an exploration of the show in Channel 5’s We Love Dad’s Army. The BBC programme, which ran from 1968 to 1977, is fondly remembered as one of the best British sitcoms, but it didn’t always seem this would be the case. As cast members and fans delved into some of their recollections from the show, Caroline explained how audiences failed to laugh during the first episode.

Dad’s Army did not seem to take off straight away.

Caroline recalled: “In the very first episode, I remember Bill Pertwee did the warm-up, and he was brilliant.

“The audience was falling about laughing, he was a superb artist and I thought ‘oh lovely’, you know, a lovely, lively audience – marvelous.”

She continued: “And we got cracking and it was dead silence.

“And when I wasn’t in a scene, and sort of peeing behind, nobody was laughing – nobody was laughing!

“And it was such a disappointment and we thought we’d flopped.

“And everyone was very subdued going up to the bar afterward.

“Underwhelming I think, we felt underwhelmed.”

It was believed initially that the lack of enthusiasm could be due to the subject matter of the show.

Caroline went on: “A lot of people took it very, very seriously, but it was a serious thing.”

The programme never hid from the genuine difficulties of the war, though.

Paul Joe, who worked as a set designer on the series, reflected: “I researched very fully and made sure that everything that was on the screen was the real thing.”

Caroline, who starred as the recurring character Janet King, looked back on her time on the series alongside co-stars and others involved.

She also opened up on her friendship with John Le Mesurier, who starred as Sergeant Wilson.

John died at the age of 71 in 1983 after battling heavy drinking and developing medical complications.

Speaking on the same Channel 5 documentary, Caroline stated: “He was such a lovely man and I felt so sorry for him.

“He’d had such unhappy marriages, hadn’t he? I knew of him through my landlady, Peggy-Anne.

“She was a great friend of Hatty Jacques, one of his wives.

“He just had an air of tragedy about him. Everybody would rush around, looking after him.”

We Love Dad’s Army is available to watch on My5.

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