Monday, 24 October 2016

Writing - Jimmy Perry RIP

I suppose it depends how old you are but if you have passed the age of ten you will probably have been affected, favourably, by the writings of Jimmy Perry who died over the weekend aged 93.

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Jimmy Perry (1923 - 2016)

Jimmy Perry, creator of one of TV's most popular comedy series, Dad's Army, has died aged 93.
Working with producer David Croft, he was also responsible for It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi and You Rang M'Lord?
He drew on his life experiences for his writing, as a young member of the Home Guard during World War Two and as a Butlin's holiday camp Redcoat.
Dad's Army ran from 1968 for 80 episodes over nine years while Hi-de-Hi ran for eight years.
Perry was born on 20 September 1923 in Barnes, south-west London.

He was too young to join the army when World War Two broke out in 1939, so instead joined his local home guard.
He later based many of the characters for the sitcom on the soldiers he met at that time.
After the war, he trained as an actor at Rada, and spent time entertaining holiday-makers at Butlin's camps.
He ran the Palace Theatre at Watford, putting on a different show each week and played bit parts in TV sitcoms before he began to write them himself.

He showed his ideas for Dad's Army - initially called The Fighting Tigers - to David Croft, who took it to the BBC.
The character Private Pike was based on Perry himself.
Croft and Perry went on to collaborate on shows including It Ain't Half Hot Mum, which began in 1974 and was based around their wartime experiences in the Far East, and Hi-de-Hi, about a 1950s holiday camp.
Perry also wrote some of his theme tunes.


There is no doubt that Jimmy Perry, along with David Croft, were exceedingly successful but Jimmy wrote using one of the most frequently trotted out pieces of advice to budding writers - 'write from your own experiences'.
It is my belief that using your own perspective and emotions helps to provide a foundation for your work but doesn't prevent you from stretching your imagine further.

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Jimmy Perry was also a good example of the many faceted aspects of being involved with the arts. He was a trained actor, he wrote books, screen plays and he wrote the song introducing Dad's Army. The books he produced were Dad's Army stories and he wrote an autobiography 'Stupid Boy' which was the insult frequently hurled by Captain Mainwaring  at Pike who was based upon Perry himself.

God Bless Jimmy for the many hours of laughter you have given me and millions of others over the years.