He created Dad’s Army, Hi-de-Hi!, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and You Rang, M’Lord? with David Croft, who died in 2011. He was born on 20th September 1923, and in his lifetime created some of Britain’s most iconic sitcoms and wrote even more iconic comedy moments.
Dad’s Army was inspired by his service in the Home Guard during World War Two; the character Pvt. Frank Pike is the character Croft claims is the closest to being him. It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was based on his experience in the Royal Artillery Concert Party out in the Far East. Hi-de-Hi! was further inspired by his experience working as a Redcoat in Butlin’s Holiday Camp, when he entertained guests following his graduation from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. You Rang, M’Lord? was based on the anecdotes told by his grandfather, a butler, of “life below stairs”. He composed the signature tunes to every series he created, winning Best TV Signature Tune at the 1971 Ivor Novello Awards for Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler?, the signature tune of Dad’s Army. Hi-de-Hi!‘s Holiday Rock was another tune he composed.
Over his career, he co-wrote every episode of the sitcoms he created with Croft: 80 Dad’s Army episodes, 58 Hi-de-Hi! episodes, 56 It Ain’t Half Hot Mum episode and 26 You Rang, M’Lord? episodes, as well as 85 episodes of ‘Allo ‘Allo! and 70 episodes of Are You Being Served?, which he co-created with Jeremy Lloyd (the latter of-which was adapted into a film that he co-wrote). The Gnomes of Dulwich was a six-episode sitcom he wrote alone, along with the seven-episode Room Service. He also co-wrote High Street Blues with Robin Carr.
His career was launched after appearing in numerous sitcoms as bit parts while putting on weekly shows at the Palace Theatre. He pitched Dad’s Army as The Fighting Tigers to Croft, who took it to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Hi-de-Hi! won Best Comedy Series at the 1984 British Academy Television Awards. Dad’s Army continues to be shown weekly on BBC Two at primetime on Saturday night.
Jimmy Perry 1923 – 2016