A confidential memo found among a bundle of archived documents, reveals that BBC’s top brass was becoming disenchanted with the Corporal Jones character in Dad’s Army, and if the show had not run out steam of its own accord, then he was to be unceremoniously axed.
The memo from head of comedy to the show’s writers says – Dad’s Army is becoming terribly lame, chaps, and nowhere is this more obvious than with the Corporal Jones character. Since the show’s inception he’s delivered the same two lines every episode. Even the most dim-witted of viewers must have spotted it. Therefore if we do commission another series he must be killed off!
At the time rumours were rife that the show’s lead, Arthur Lowe, was fed up with Clive Dunn who played Jones, getting belly laughs for those same two gags week in and week out, and that he threatened to quit if Jones was not axed. In a tired and emotional, off the record outburst, he once told a reporter: ‘Shouting, Don’t panic and They don’t like it up ’em is totally pathetic!’
And according to the script of never shot episode found with the papers, Jonesy’s demise was all set to go ahead. ‘There go my knackers, Captain Mainwaring! would’ve seen the hapless Sudan veteran have an unexploded German hand grenade detonated inside his long johns with hilarious yet sadly fatal consequences.