The Army Game

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The Army Game
The Army Game TV.jpg
Opening titles for The Army Game
Genre Sitcom
Created by Sid Colin
Starring Geoffrey Sumner
William Hartnell
Alfie Bass
Norman Rossington
Charles Hawtrey
Bernard Bresslaw
Bill Fraser
Ted Lune
Michael Medwin
Frank Williams
Dick Emery
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 154
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Original run 19 June 1957 (1957-06-19) – 20 June 1961 (1961-06-20)

The 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.

Background[edit]

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.

Writers included 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[edit]

Plot[edit]

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

Episodes[edit]

Series One (1957)[edit]

  1. "The Army Game" (19 Jun 1957)
  2. "The Misguided Missiles" (3 July 1957)
  3. "The Convicts Return" (17 Jul 1957)
  4. "Open Day" (31 Jul 1957)
  5. Episode 5 (14 Aug 1957)
  6. Episode 6 (28 Aug 1957)
  7. "The Mad Bull" (11 Sep 1957)
  8. "The Still" (25 Sep 1957)
  9. "The Volunteers" (9 Oct 1957)
  10. "The Civilian Clerk" (23 Oct 1957)
  11. "Security" (6 Nov 1957)
  12. "The Rise And Fall Of Private Popplewell" (20 Nov 1957)
  13. "The New Officer" (4 Dec 1957)

Series Two (1957–58)[edit]

  1. "The Thing From Outer Space" (20 Dec 1957)
  2. "W.R.A.A.C.S." (27 Dec 1957)
  3. "Getting Shot Of" (3 Jan 1958)
  4. "The Quarrel" (10 Jan 1958)
  5. "Any Complaints" (17 Jan 1958)
  6. "To A Haggis" (24 Jan 1958)
  7. "The Marshall's Baton" (31 Jan 1958)
  8. "Brothers In Law" 8 (7 Feb 1958)
  9. "That's The Ticket" (14 Feb 1958)
  10. "The Kindest Man In Britain" (21 Feb 1958)
  11. "Brother Officers" (28 Feb 1958)
  12. "The Recruits" (7 Mar 1958)
  13. Episode 13 (14 Mar 1958)
  14. Episode 14 (21 Mar 1958)
  15. "Bring on the Dancing Girls" (28 Mar 1958)
  16. "Quiz Kids" (4 Apr 1958)
  17. "Guinea Pigs" (11 Apr 1958)
  18. "The Investigator" (18 Apr 1958)
  19. Episode 19 (25 Apr 1958)
  20. "Money To Burn" (2 May 1958)
  21. "The Initiative Test" (9 May 1958)
  22. "A Piece Of Cake" (16 May 1958)
  23. "Treasure Trove" (23 May 1958)
  24. "Derby Day" (30 May 1958)
  25. "Poetry Prize" (6 Jun 1958)
  26. "Insurance" (13 Jun 1958)

Series Three (1958–59)[edit]

  1. Episode 1 (19 Sep 1958)
  2. Episode 2 (26 Sep 1958)
  3. Episode 3 (3 Oct 1958)
  4. Episode 4 (10 Oct 1958)
  5. Episode 5 (17 Oct 1958)
  6. Episode 6 (24 Oct 1958)
  7. Episode 7 (31 Oct 1958)
  8. Episode 8 (7 Nov 1958)
  9. Episode 9 (14 Nov 1958)
  10. Episode 10 (21 Nov 1958)
  11. Episode 11 (28 Nov 1958)
  12. Episode 12 (5 Dec 1958)
  13. Episode 13 (12 Dec 1958)
  14. Episode 14 (19 Dec 1958)
  15. Episode 15 (26 Dec 1958)
  16. Episode 16 (2 Jan 1959)
  17. Episode 17 (9 Jan 1959)
  18. Episode 18 (16 Jan 1959)
  19. Episode 19 (23 Jan 1959)
  20. Episode 20 (30 Jan 1959)
  21. Episode 21 (6 Feb 1959)
  22. Episode 22 (13 Feb 1959)
  23. Episode 23 (20 Feb 1959)
  24. Episode 24 (27 Feb 1959)
  25. Episode 25 (6 Mar 1959)
  26. Episode 26 (13 Mar 1959)
  27. Episode 27 (20 Mar 1959)
  28. Episode 28 (27 Mar 1959)
  29. Episode 29 (3 Apr 1959)
  30. Episode 30 (10 Apr 1959)
  31. Episode 31 (17 Apr 1959)
  32. Episode 32 (24 Apr 1959)
  33. Episode 33 (1 May 1959)
  34. Episode 34 (8 May 1959)
  35. Episode 35 (15 May 1959)
  36. Episode 36 (22 May 1959)
  37. Episode 37 (29 May 1959)
  38. Episode 38 (5 Jun 1959)
  39. Episode 39 (12 Jun 1959)

Series Four (1959–60)[edit]

  1. "Snudge and Jimmy O'Goblin" (9 Oct 1959)
  2. "The Take-Over Bid" (16 Oct 1959)
  3. "Enter a Dark Stranger" (23 Oct 1959)
  4. "Snudge's Budgie" (30 Oct 1959)
  5. "Where There's Smoke" (30 Oct 1959)
  6. "The Camera Never Lies" (6 Nov 1959)
  7. "When the Poppies Bloom Again" (13 Nov 1959)
  8. "Miracle in Hut" 29 (20 Nov 1959)
  9. "Night Train to Itchwick" (27 Nov 1959)
  10. "Officers and Gentlemen" (27 Nov 1959)
  11. "Tiger Bisley" (4 Dec 1959)
  12. "The Bisley Court Martial" (11 Dec 1959)
  13. "The Long Walk" (18 Dec 1959)
  14. "Happy New Year" (1 Jan 1960)
  15. "The Invisible Man" (8 Jan 1960)
  16. "The Bowler Hatting of Pocket" (15 Jan 1960)
  17. "The Soft Life" (22 Jan 1960)
  18. "Son of Snudge" (29 Jan 1960)
  19. "A Rocket Called FRED" (5 Feb 1960)
  20. "Don't Send My Boy to Prison" (12 Feb 1960)
  21. "A Piece of Cake" (19 Feb 1960)
  22. "Never Volunteer" (26 Feb 1960)
  23. "A Marriage has been Arranged" (4 Mar 1960)
  24. "The Good Old Days" (11 Mar 1960)
  25. "A Question in the House" (18 Mar 1960)
  26. "The Claude Snudge Story" (25 Mar 1960)
  27. "April Fool" (1 Apr 1960)
  28. "Goodnight Ladies" (8 Apr 1960)
  29. "One of the Lads" (15 Apr 1960)
  30. "Holding the Baby" (22 Apr 1960)
  31. "Pen Pals Anonymous" (29 Apr 1960)
  32. "Are You Receiving Me" (6 May 1960)
  33. "The Efficiency Expert" (13 May 1960)
  34. "Bull by the Horn" (20 May 1960)
  35. "A Touch of the Other" (27 May 1960)
  36. "The Feud" (3 Jun 1960)
  37. "Out of this World" (10 Jun 1960)
  38. "Emergency Hut 29" (17 Jun 1960)

Series Five (1960–61)[edit]

  1. "The Return of the Pig" (27 Sep 1960)
  2. Episode 2 (4 Oct 1960)
  3. "The Do-Gooders" (11 Oct 1960)
  4. "The Marshal's Baton" (18 Oct 1960)
  5. "Insurance" (25 Oct 1960)
  6. "It's in the Book" (1 Nov 1960)
  7. "Waltzing Matilda" (8 Nov 1960)
  8. "The Kindest Man in Britain" (15 Nov 1960)
  9. "Say It With Flowers" (22 Nov 1960)
  10. "Music Hath Charms" (29 Nov 1960)
  11. "Suddenly This Write" (6 Dec 1960)
  12. "Quiz Kids" (13 Dec 1960)
  13. "The Artist" (20 Dec 1960)
  14. "Private Cinders" (27 Dec 1960)
  15. "Tunes Of Glory" (3 Jan 1961)
  16. "Now It Can Be Told" (10 Jan 1961)
  17. "Keep It Out of the Draught" (17 Jan 1961)
  18. "Outward Bound" (24 Jan 1961)
  19. "All At Sea" (31 Jan 1961)
  20. "Decline And Fall" (7 Feb 1961)
  21. "My Funny Valentine" (14 Feb 1961)
  22. "Any Complaints?" (21 Feb 1961)
  23. Episode 23 (28 Feb 1961)
  24. "The Beast Of Nether Hopping" (7 Mar 1961)
  25. "The Green Fingers" (14 Mar 1961)
  26. "Cold Cure" (21 Mar 1961)
  27. "The Man Who Never Was" (28 Mar 1961)
  28. "Poison Pen" (4 Apr 1961)
  29. "Into The Breach" (11 Apr 1961)
  30. Episode 30 (18 Apr 1961)
  31. "Vice Versa" (25 Apr 1961)
  32. "The Body in the Bath" (2 May 1961)
  33. Episode 33 (9 May 1961)
  34. "Fun And Adventure" (16 May 1961)
  35. "A Certain Thing" (23 May 1961)
  36. "Tea And Sympathy" (30 May 1961)
  37. "The D-Day Dodger" (6 Jun 1961)
  38. The Importance Of Being Eric (13 Jun 1961)
  39. Episode 39 (20 Jun 1961)

Theme tune[edit]

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.

Royal Variety Performance[edit]

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[edit]

A film based on the series, I Only Arsked!, appeared in 1958. The plot concentrated on Bresslaw's character and included Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Rossington and Michael Medwin playing their characters. "I Only Arsked" became Bresslaw's catchphrase.

A paperback was produced, and Granada brought out a board game in 1959.

Fraser and Bass's characters turned up in a spin-off, Bootsie and Snudge, between 1960 and 1963 and in 1974.

DVD releases[edit]

Of the 154 episodes 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. The Army Game Collection, containing every surviving episode, was released on 13 August 2008.

References[edit]

External links[edit]