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The Man and the Hour
Series 1, Episode 1
The Man and The Hour
Air Date 31st July 1968
Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Director David Croft
Producer David Croft
Length 30 minutes
Original Audience Figures 7.2 million
Previous episode None
Next episode Museum Piece
List of episodes

The Man and the Hour is the first-ever episode of Dad's Army, and was originally broadcast on Wednesday 31st July 1968, on BBC1.


On the outbreak of the Second World War, a local bank manager, George Mainwaring, takes it upon himself to form a unit of Local Defence Volunteers in the town of Walmington-on-Sea.


The episode starts in 'present day England' (1968) with Captain Mainwaring announcing to his former platoon that he is backing Britain. A flash back showing scenes from the Second World War and the British Army is then seen.

The action then switches to Swallow Bank, Walmington-on-Sea in 1940. Wilson, Pike and Mainwaring are laying sandbags at the window. Mainwaring then receives a message saying that he can set up an LDV unit to protect Britain. He finds out more about this on the wireless, having been told by a clerk, Miss King, that Anthony Eden is about to make a Ministerial broadcast. Pike is told to go round to all the LDV volunteers and tell them to meet in the church hall.

At the church hall, many people are waiting and Mainwaring (now the self-appointed commander) begins to enrol them. He makes Wilson his Sergeant and Jones his Lance-Corporal. An ARP warden bursts in and tells the commander to "shove off" because he needs the hall for an ARP lecture. He is forced to let him use it and informs the platoon to all enter the office.

Later, when Mainwaring and Wilson are inspecting the platoon, Godfrey has a gun and Mainwaring believes that he should have it because he is the officer. However, when Wilson mentions this to Godfrey, he receives the reply "Well, I'm afraid he can't have it." Mainwaring is indignant on hearing this. "Are you refusing to obey an order on active service? Do you realise I could have you shot?" Walker then points out: "That'll be a bit tricky, seeing as he's the only one with a gun!"

The platoon are told about tanks and how to defeat then. The platoon play at being tanks and how to destroy them. Mrs Pike arrives to pick up Pike because it is his bedtime. When Pike points out that he was just about to blow up a tank, his mum tells him "Well, you'll just have to blow it up tomorrow." The uniform (armbands) and weapons (pepper) arrive. It is not what the platoon expected. They are handed out.

Mainwaring gives a speech and the platoon cheer.


Main cast[]

Supporting cast[]


  • This was the only Dad's Army episode to have a pre-opening credits scene, and the series never returned to the modern day.
  • This was the only Dad's Army episode to feature an audience laughter track during the opening titles.
  • A scene involving the fire brigade wanting to use the hall for practice was also filmed, but was cut from the final programme; it is unlikely that the scene still exists.
  • This episode was originally planned for transmission on Monday 5 June
  • David Croft intended the ending sequence to have actual wartime footage of Nuremburg marches and newsreels of refugees being bombed behind the cast members marching which caused controversy at the BBC, forcing him and Jimmy Perry to change the outro to what it is today.
  • First regular appearances of Arthur Lowe as Captain George Mainwaring, John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Arthur Wilson, Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jack Jones, John Laurie as Private James Frazer, Arnold Ridley as Private Charles Godfrey, Ian Lavender as Private Frank Pike and James Beck as Private Joe Walker.



Dad's Army - First Ever Intro and Scenes (From Pilot)