Jimmy Perry, one of the U.K.’s most successful comedy writers, has died. He was 93. He is best known for TV series “Dad’s Army,” “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum,” and “Hi-de-Hi.”
At the start of World War II, Perry was too young to fight in the regular army, so he joined the Home Guard, a part-time defense force. He was drafted into the army in 1941, and served with a troupe of entertainers who put on concerts for British soldiers stationed in the Far East. After the war, Perry trained as an actor, and worked as an entertainer in holiday camps, and as an actor-entertainer in theaters and on TV.
He also wrote his own material, and in the early 1960s pitched an idea for a comedy series based on his time in the Home Guard to TV producer David Croft, who took it to the BBC. Croft became Perry’s writing partner and their show, “Dad’s Army,” ran from 1968 for nine years with 80 episodes. It was BAFTA-nominated several times and won in 1971. The show became a firm favorite with British audiences and has been repeated regularly on British television ever since. Two movies based on the series were produced. The first, released in 1971, was written by Perry and Croft, and featured the original cast, led by Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier. Another movie version, written by Hamish McColl, was released earlier this year to mixed reviews.
Perry and Croft’s creative partnership continued for 25 years. Among their other shows was “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum,” which drew on their war-time experiences as entertainers in the Far East. The show debuted in 1974 and ran for seven years. Although popular at the time, the show was later accused of being homophobic and racist. “People complain that the language was homophobic, and it was, but it was exactly how people spoke,” Perry told the Guardian in 2003. He denied that it was racist, however.
Perry and Croft also came together for “Hi-de-Hi,” which fed off Perry’s time in the holiday camps. The series launched in 1980, running for eight years, and was BAFTA-nominated several times.
They also teamed on “You Rang, M’Lord?,” based on an aristocratic family and their unruly servants in the 1920s, which ran for five years.
Perry is survived by his wife, Gilda Perry.