June 19, 1957 on UK TV: The Army Game

The_Army_Game-1957The Army Game is a British sitcom that broadcast on ITV from 1957 to 1961. Made in black-and-white, it is about National Service conscription to the post-war British Army. It was created by Sid Colin. Many stars, including Charles Hawtrey, William Hartnell, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Dick Emery became household names, and appeared in the Carry On films, which began with Carry On Sergeant, virtually a spin-off. It was made for the ITV network by Granada Television.

The creator, Sid Colin, was inspired by a 1956 film, Private’s Progress, that starred Ian Carmichael, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas and William Hartnell. Many of the cast had recently undertaken military service themselves.

The show centres on a group of conscripts assigned to the Surplus Ordnance DepartmentTV-UK-06-19-1957 at Nether Hopping, Staffordshire. Billeted in Hut 29, the men are determined to work little and have fun.

The theme tune was sung by Michael Medwin, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Leslie Fyson. In June 1958, it reached number five in the UK singles chart. Bresslaw’s song “Mad Passionate Love”, sung in the style of Private Popplewell, also did well in the charts.

A film based on the series, I Only Arsked!, appeared in 1958. The plot concentrated on Bresslaw’s character and included Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Norman Rossington and Michael Medwin playing their characters. “I Only Arsked” became Bresslaw’s catchphrase.  Fraser and Bass’s characters turned up in a spin-off, Bootsie and Snudge, between 1960 and 1963 and in 1974. [Wikipedia]


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