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The Army Game

The Army Game

The Army Game is a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 1957 to 1961. Made in black-and-white, it is about life in National Service. It was created by Sid Colin. Many of the stars, like Charles Hawtrey, William Hartnell, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Dick Emery would later become household names, many appearing in the Carry On films. It was made for the ITV network by Granada Television.

Background

The creator Sid Colin was inspired by a 1956 film Private's Progress, that starred Ian Carmichael, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas and William Hartnell, and not by The Phil Silvers Show that had started on the BBC two months earlier. Much of the cast had recently undertaken military service themselves.

Many people wrote episodes for The Army Game, including Sid Colin, Larry Stephens, Maurice Wiltshire, Lew Schwarz, John Jowett, John Antrobus, John Foley, Marty Feldman, Barry Took, David Climie, David Cumming, Derek Collyer, Brad Ashton, John Junkin, Talbot Rothwell, Sidney Nelson, Stan Mars, Bob Perkins and Alan MacKinnon. At least three episodes are uncredited.

Cast

Plot

The show centres on a group of conscripts assigned to the Surplus Ordnance Department at Nether Hopping, Staffordshire. Billeted in Hut 29, these men are determined to work little and have as much fun as possible during their time in National Service.

Episodes

Series One (1957)

  1. Episode 1 (19 Jun 57)
  2. Episode 2 (3 July 57)
  3. Episode 3 (17 Jul 57)
  4. Episode 4 (31 Jul 57)
  5. Episode 5 (14 Aug 57)
  6. Episode 6 (28 Aug 57)
  7. "The Mad Bull" (11 Sep 57)
  8. Episode 8 (25 Sep 57)
  9. Episode 9 (9 Oct 57)
  10. Episode 10 (23 Oct 57)
  11. Episode 11 (6 Nov 57)
  12. Episode 12 (20 Nov 57)
  13. "The New Officer" (4 Dec 57)

Series Two (1957–58)

  1. ''Episode 1 (20 Dec 57)
  2. "W.R.A.A.C.S." (27 Dec 57)
  3. Episode 3 (3 Jan 58)
  4. Episode 4 (10 Jan 58)
  5. Episode 5 (17 Jan 58)
  6. Episode 6 (24 Jan 58)
  7. Episode 7 (31 Jan 58)
  8. Episode 8 (7 Feb 58)
  9. Episode 9 (14 Feb 58)
  10. Episode 10 (21 Feb 58)
  11. Episode 11 (28 Feb 58)
  12. Episode 12 (7 Mar 58)
  13. Episode 13 (14 Mar 58)
  14. Episode 14 (21 Mar 58)
  15. Episode 15 (28 Mar 58)
  16. Episode 16 (4 Apr 58)
  17. Episode 17 (11 Apr 58)
  18. Episode 18 (18 Apr 58)
  19. Episode 19 (25 Apr 58)
  20. Episode 20 (2 May 58)
  21. Episode 21 (9 May 58)
  22. Episode 22 (16 May 58)
  23. Episode 23 (23 May 58)
  24. Episode 24 (30 May 58)
  25. Episode 25 (6 Jun 58)
  26. Episode 26 (13 Jun 58)

Series Three (1958–59)

  1. Episode 1 (19 Sep 58)
  2. Episode 2 (26 Sep 58)
  3. Episode 3 (3 Oct 58)
  4. Episode 4 (10 Oct 58)
  5. Episode 5 (17 Oct 58)
  6. Episode 6 (24 Oct 58)
  7. Episode 7 (31 Oct 58)
  8. Episode 8 (7 Nov 58)
  9. Episode 9 (14 Nov 58)
  10. Episode 10 (21 Nov 58)
  11. Episode 11 (28 Nov 58)
  12. Episode 12 (5 Dec 58)
  13. Episode 13 (12 Dec 58)
  14. Episode 14 (19 Dec 58)
  15. Episode 15 (26 Dec 58)
  16. Episode 16 (2 Jan 59)
  17. Episode 17 (9 Jan 59)
  18. Episode 18 (16 Jan 59)
  19. Episode 19 (23 Jan 59)
  20. Episode 20 (30 Jan 59)
  21. Episode 21 (6 Feb 59)
  22. Episode 22 (13 Feb 59)
  23. Episode 23 (20 Feb 59)
  24. Episode 24 (27 Feb 59)
  25. Episode 25 (6 Mar 59)
  26. Episode 26 (13 Mar 59)
  27. Episode 27 (20 Mar 59)
  28. Episode 28 (27 Mar 59)
  29. Episode 29 (3 Apr 59)
  30. Episode 30 (10 Apr 59)
  31. Episode 31 (17 Apr 59)
  32. Episode 32 (24 Apr 59)
  33. Episode 33 (1 May 59)
  34. Episode 34 (8 May 59)
  35. Episode 35 (15 May 59)
  36. Episode 36 (22 May 59)
  37. Episode 37 (29 May 59)
  38. Episode 38 (5 Jun 59)
  39. Episode 39 (12 Jun 59)

Series Four (1959–60)

  1. "Snudge and Jimmy O'Goblin" (9 Oct 59)
  2. "The Take-Over Bid" (16 Oct 59)
  3. "Enter a Dark Stranger" (23 Oct 59)
  4. "Snudge's Budgie" (30 Oct 59)
  5. "Where There's Smoke" (30 Oct 59)
  6. "The Camera Never Lies" (6 Nov 59)
  7. "When the Poppies Bloom Again" (13 Nov 59)
  8. "Miracle in Hut" 29 (20 Nov 59)
  9. "Night Train to Itchwick" (27 Nov 59)
  10. "Officers and Gentlemen" (27 Nov 59)
  11. "Tiger Bisley" (4 Dec 59)
  12. "The Bisley Court Martial" (11 Dec 59)
  13. "The Long Walk" (18 Dec 59)
  14. "Happy New Year" (1 Jan 60)
  15. "The Invisible Man" (8 Jan 60)
  16. "The Bowler Hatting of Pocket" (15 Jan 60)
  17. "The Soft Life" (22 Jan 60)
  18. "Son of Snudge" (29 Jan 60)
  19. "A Rocket Called FRED" (5 Feb 60)
  20. "Don't Send My Boy to Prison" (12 Feb 60)
  21. "A Piece of Cake" (19 Feb 60)
  22. "Never Volunteer" (26 Feb 60)
  23. "A Marriage has been Arranged" (4 Mar 60)
  24. "The Good Old Days" (11 Mar 60)
  25. "A Question in the House" (18 Mar 60)
  26. "The Claude Snudge Story" (25 Mar 60)
  27. "April Fool" (1 Apr 60)
  28. "Goodnight Ladies" (8 Apr 60)
  29. "One of the Lads" (15 Apr 60)
  30. "Holding the Baby" (22 Apr 60)
  31. "Pen Pals Anonymous" (29 Apr 60)
  32. "Are You Receiving Me" (6 May 60)
  33. "The Efficiency Expert" (13 May 60)
  34. "Bull by the Horn" (20 May 60)
  35. "A Touch of the Other" (27 May 60)
  36. "The Feud" (3 Jun 60)
  37. "Out of this World" (10 Jun 60)
  38. "Emergency Hut 29" (17 Jun 60)

Series Five (1960–61)

  1. "The Return of the Pig" (27 Sep 60)
  2. Episode 2 (4 Oct 60)
  3. "The Do-Gooders" (11 Oct 60)
  4. "The Marshal's Baton" (18 Oct 60)
  5. "Insurance" (25 Oct 60)
  6. "It's in the Book" (1 Nov 60)
  7. "Waltzing Matilda" (8 Nov 60)
  8. "The Kindest Man in Britain" (15 Nov 60)
  9. Episode 9 (22 Nov 60)
  10. Episode 10 (29 Nov 60)
  11. Episode 11 (6 Dec 60)
  12. Episode 12 (13 Dec 60)
  13. "The Artist" (20 Dec 60)
  14. Episode 14 (27 Dec 60)
  15. Episode 15 (3 Jan 61)
  16. Episode 16 (10 Jan 61)
  17. Episode 17 (17 Jan 61)
  18. Episode 18 (24 Jan 61)
  19. Episode 19 (31 Jan 61)
  20. Episode 20 (7 Feb 61)
  21. Episode 21 (14 Feb 61)
  22. Episode 22 (21 Feb 61)
  23. Episode 23 (28 Feb 61)
  24. Episode 24 (7 Mar 61)
  25. Episode 25 (14 Mar 61)
  26. Episode 26 (21 Mar 61)
  27. Episode 27 (28 Mar 61)
  28. Episode 28 (4 Apr 61)
  29. Episode 29 (11 Apr 61)
  30. Episode 30 (18 Apr 61)
  31. Episode 31 (25 Apr 61)
  32. Episode 32 (2 May 61)
  33. Episode 33 (9 May 61)
  34. Episode 34 (16 May 61)
  35. Episode 35 (23 May 61)
  36. Episode 36 (30 May 61)
  37. Episode 37 (6 Jun 61)
  38. Episode 38 (13 Jun 61)
  39. Episode 39 (20 Jun 61)

Theme tune

The theme tune for the series was sung by Michael Medwin, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Leslie Fyson. In June 1958, the reached number five in the UK Singles Chart. Later, Bresslaw's song Mad Passionate Love, which he sung in the style of Private Popplewell, did well in the charts.

Royal Variety Performance

In June 1959, Alfie Bass, Michael Medwin, Ted Lune, Bill Fraser and Norman Rossington performed a short The Army Game scene at the Royal Variety Performance in front of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. This was the last Royal Variety Performance not to be televised, although highlights were broadcast on BBC radio on 29 June 1959.

Other media

A film based on the series, I Only Arsked, was released in 1958. The plot concentrated on Bernard Bresslaw's character, and also included Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Rossington and Michael Medwin playing their The Army Game characters. "I Only Arsked" became Bresslaw's catch phrase.

A paperback of the film was produced, and Granada brought out a board game based on the show in 1959. Fraser and Bass's characters also turned up in a spin-off Bootsie and Snudge which ran between 1960 and 1974.

DVD releases

Out of the 154 episodes that were made, only 50 are thought to survive. On 6 June 2005, Network released the first 26 episodes from series 4 under the title The Army Game - Volume 1. On 14 August 2006, the remaining twenty-four episodes were released under the title The Army Game - Volume 2. An episode of Bootsie and Snudge was included in this. The Army Game Collection, containing every surviving episode released on 13 August 2008

References

External links

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