|Affiliations||St Aldhelm's Church|
Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard
|First seen||The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones|
|Last Seen||Never Too Old|
|Portrayed by||Frank Williams|
|List of Characters|
- "I'll have a double scotch, please?"
- ―Timothy Farthing[src]
Personality[edit | edit source]
Farthing was the slightly ineffectual, but well-meaning vicar of St Aldhelm's Church, Walmington-on-Sea. Neither on the side of the Home Guard, nor the ARP Wardens, he attempted to care for "The spiritual needs of [his] parishioners", despite the many setbacks presented during the war, such as having to share his church hall and office with both the pompous Captain Mainwaring and the uncouth Chief Air Raid Warden Hodges. In many episodes he ends up embroiled in the escapades of the platoon, often by accident and he joins the Home Guard briefly in The Recruit.
Prone to making long sermons, his personality is quite sulky—saying to anyone who annoys him "I shall be very cross!"—and occasionally effeminate, although the character is never seen in a bad light, unlike his verger, Mr. Yeatman (with whom he made up a double act of sorts). Farthing is unmarried; this is confirmed by the fact that he is sleeping alone in When Did You Last See Your Money?, and he is mentioned as being a bachelor in The Recruit. In the latter, Farthing states he joined the Home Guard because, according to him, "Could I stand idly by and watch my wife being ravished by a German soldier? No, I told myself", to which Captain Mainwaring points out "But you're not married". The Vicar then replies "I have a very vivid imagination". According to Dad's Army—A Celebration, he was once a missionary. This is also confirmed in the episode The Big Parade by the Verger who says the horns used by Walker in an attempt to spruce up a moth-eaten goat for Captain Mainwaring were given to the vicar when he was in Umbalumbala as a missionary. However, his background is rarely, if ever, revealed. It is revealed in the Christmas special, Battle of the Giants, that Farthing served in the Great War; his role is not specifically stated, but he possesses medals which the Verger polishes for him. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford and can be seen wearing the gown and hood denoting an Oxford Master of Arts degree in the episode 'The Royal Train'. He seems to be a practical vicar, not really believing in black magic and rituals—for example, in the episode When Did You Last See Your Money? when the Verger thinks a black magic ritual is going on one night, he runs to wake the Vicar. "Vicar! There's a horrible black mass in the church hall!" he shouts, having burst straight into the Vicar's bedroom. The Vicar—having been roused from his peaceful slumber—replies, "A horrible black mass of what?" While never stated, in a number of episodes the verger makes the odd remark that suggests he may be gay. e.g. his disdain for the scantily clad women in The Godiva Affair.
During the episode The Enemy Within the Gates, it is revealed that the Vicar is the editor of Ring-A-Ding Monthly, a fictional bell-ringing magazine—though it ceased publication for the duration of the war, leading to "a significant drop in his [the Vicar's] income".
Despite living a relatively clean life, the Vicar has one notable vice: a love of Scotch whisky. In the episodes Battle of the Giants and My British Buddy, Captain Mainwaring offers to buy the vicar a drink. On both occasions, the Vicar asks for a double-Scotch. The Verger warns Mainwaring of the Vicar's weakness. Mainwaring then changes the order to a single-Scotch. In the episode Battle of the Giants, the Vicar acknowledges the discrepancy: "I shall be an umpire. And the fact that you've only bought me a single will have absolutely no bearing on my judgement".