Clive Dunn

Clive Robert Dunn OBE (born 9 January 1920) is a retired English actor, singer and entertainer best known for his role as Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army, and Sam Cobbett in the Yorkshire Television sitcom My Old Man.

Born in London, he is the cousin of actress Gretchen Franklin. Dunn played small film roles from the 1930s onwards. After a break for service in the army in World War II, in the course of which he spent four years in prisoner-of-war camps and labour camps in Austria, he worked for many years in music halls and theatres. In 1956 and 1957, Dunn appeared in The Tony Hancock Show. In the 1960s he made many appearances with Tony Hancock, Michael Bentine, Dora Bryan and Dick Emery, among others, before winning the role of Jones in Dad's Army in 1968.

From an early time his trademark character was that of a doddering old man. This first made an impression in the show Bootsie and Snudge, a spinoff from The Army Game. Dunn played the old dogsbody at a slightly seedy gentlemen's club where the characters Pvt. "Bootsie" Bisley (Alfie Bass) and Sgt. Claude Snudge (Bill Fraser) found work after leaving the Army.

In 1967 he made a guest appearance in an episode of The Avengers, playing the proprietor of a toy shop in "Something Nasty in the Nursery".

Dunn was actually one of the younger members of the cast, at 48, when he took on the role of the elderly butcher whose military service in earlier wars made him the most experienced member of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, as well as being one of the most decrepit.

Dunn's strong Socialist beliefs often caused him to fall out with Arthur Lowe, who was a committed Conservative and played Captain George Mainwaring. In fact, when the series ended and Dunn finally accepted an OBE, after many offers, it was reported that Lowe would only accept a higher-rated honour from the Queen.

After Dad's Army ended, Dunn capitalised on the role by playing the title character in the children's TV series Grandad, from 1979 to 1984. He had previously had a number one hit single with the song "Grandad" in November 1970, accompanied by a children's choir. He performed the song four times on Top of the Pops. The B-side of "Grandad", "I Play The Spoons", also received considerable airplay. After the cancellation of Grandad in 1984, he effectively disappeared from the screen, retiring to Portugal.

Following the success of the song "Grandad", Dunn released several other singles.

  • "My Lady (Nana)" / "Tissue Paper & Comb", Columbia, 1971
  • "Wonderful Lilly" / "Pretty Little Song", Columbia, 1972
  • "Let's Take A Walk" / "Tell Us", Columbia, 1972
  • "Our Song" / "She's Gone", EMI, 1973
  • "Grandad" / "My Lady (Nana)" (reissue), EMI, 1973
  • "My Old Man" / "My Own Special Girl", EMI, 1974
  • "Holding On" / "My Beautiful England", Reprise, 1976
  • "Goodnight Ruby" / "Thank You and Goodnight", Decca, 1977
  • "Thinking of You This Christmas" / "'Arry 'Arry 'Arry", Sky Records, 1978
  • "There Ain't Much Change From A Pound These Days" / "After All These Years" (with John Le Mesurier), KA Records, 1982.
  • "Grandad" (reissue) / "There's No-One Quite Like Grandma", EMI, 1988.

A 2006 article described Dunn as having eye trouble and sometimes being unable to see, but otherwise he appears to be in good health. In August 2008, he recorded a message for the programme Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army, which was shown to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Dad's Army.

He is, along with Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee, Frank Williams, Pamela Cundell and Colin Bean, who played Private Sponge, one of the few surviving members of the Dad's Army cast. He married actress Priscilla Morgan in 1959 and they have two daughters. Dunn and his family all now live in Portugal.

Select television roles

Year Title Role
1960 to 1963 Bootsie and Snudge Henry Johnson
1968 to 1977 Dad's Army Corporal Jones
1970 Here Come the Double Deckers! Hodge
1974 to 1975 My Old Man Sam Cobbett
1979 to 1984 Grandad Charlie Quick



External links

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