Former BBC boss hails Dad's Army as 'best ever use of licence fee money'

Former BBC boss thinks Dad's Army is broadcaster's biggest success credit:Bang Showbiz
Former BBC boss thinks Dad's Army is broadcaster's biggest success credit:Bang Showbiz

'Dad's Army' has been hailed "the best-ever use of licence fee money" by a former BBC chief.

The iconic sitcom - which focused on the UK's Home Guard during World War II - first aired in 1968 and ran for nine series until 1977, with repeats still drawing in big numbers decades later.

The BBC's former head of comedy Shane Allen told the Daily Star newspaper: "The show that has been the best-ever use of licence fee money in the history of the BBC remains 'Dad's Army'.

"When it's on BBC Two, it'll do a solid one million viewers and there are next to no clearance costs because the cast and writers are sadly no longer with us."

The show was penned by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, and featured an ensemble cast including the likes of Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck, Arnold Ridley and Ian Lavender.

With the enduring popularity of 'Dad's Army' and more recent hit sitcoms like 'Friday Night Dinner', Shane believes comedy is still vital to the Beeb.

He explained: "Other genres just don't get rediscovered over and over.

"Is anyone watching the 2011 series of 'The X Factor'? No. But 'Friday Night Dinner' from that year continues to perform consistently year on year, and will for decades."

Earlier this year, legendary TV actor Ian Lavender - who played Private Pike in 'Dad's Army' and was the last surviving cast member - died aged 77.

Ian was just 22 years old when he was given the role of Pike, and starred in all 80 episodes of the iconic British comedy.

A statement posted to the Dad's Army Radio Show's X account read: "We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of the wonderful, Ian Lavender.

"In what truly marks the end of an era, Ian was the last surviving member of the Dad’s Army main cast.

"His wonderful performance as Private Frank Pike will live on for decades to come."