Royal Mail issued a set of eight stamps on June 26 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army.

Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, Dad's Army ran for nine series, adding up to 80 episodes in total, broadcast between 1968 to 1977. In its heyday it attracted more than 18 million viewers, making it one of the most popular series ever; offshoots included a radio version and a feature film.

The plot concerned the antics of a Home Guard platoon during World War II, a motley band of irregulars providing the last line of defence for the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea in case of a German invasion.

Storylines never denigrated the patriotism or bravery of the characters, but won laughs at the expense of their foibles, haphazard antics and general incompetence.

The concept was based partly on Perry’s experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers as a young man. Six of the featured actors served in World War II, and two of them in World War I as well.

Designed by Up, from original television stills, the eight stamps recall the series’ key characters together with their most memorable catchphrases. Only one of the actors, Ian Lavender, is still alive.

The issue was printed in litho by ISP in sheets of 60, comprising two panes of 30, and can be purchased in four horizontally se-tenant pairs.

2nd class SERGEANT WILSON

The platoon’s second in command, a laconic and mild-mannered bank clerk, played by John Le Mesurier.

2nd class PRIVATE PIKE

The youngest member of the unit, a timid and cosseted mother’s boy and Wilson’s hapless stepson, played by Ian Lavender.

1st class CAPTAIN MAINWARING

The self-appointed commanding officer, a patriotic but pompous bank manager, played by Arthur Lowe.

1st class LANCE CORPORAL JONES

The village butcher, a brave army veteran yet inadvertently responsible for many of the platoon’s mishaps, played by Clive Dunn.

£1.45 PRIVATE WALKER

A shifty spiv and black-market operator who had avoided a call-up to the regular army on spurious grounds, played by James Beck.

£1.45 PRIVATE FRAZER

A wild-eyed but dour and pessimistic Scottish undertaker who tends to be a trouble-stirrer, played by John Laurie.

£1.55 PRIVATE GODFREY

A gentle retired shop assistant with a big heart but a weak bladder, played by Arnold Ridley.

£1.55 CHIEF WARDEN HODGES

Mainwaring’s nemesis, the obstructive village greengrocer and air raid warden, played by Bill Pertwee.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

Written by Graham McCann, the author of a book about the series, the presentation pack investigates its appeal, its cast and its writers, and recalls some of its memorable scenes.

Besides the usual first day cover and stamp cards, the stamps also feature in a retail stamp book and Smilers sheets.

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £8.50

Presentation pack   £9.00

Stamp cards   £3.60

First day cover   £10.62

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   2/5

The stamp programme has become overloaded with television-based issues in recent years

QUALITY OF DESIGN   1/5

The major design challenge was linking each character’s catchphrase to a suitable expression

WOW FACTOR   2/5

It’s nostalgia that will make many people sit up and take notice, but perhaps only the over 40s