Guest Actor Biography
Page 33 of 127

   

Clive Dunn

Martin, Something Nasty in the Nursery

by Pete Stampede

Clive Dunn (born 9 January 1922 in London) is one of the very few cast members of the immortal Dad's Army who are still alive. This is because he always specialised in playing characters older than his real age, right from a 1950 children's programme, Friday Funny Man, onwards. Dunn was then in the largely unsuccessful ITV series The Tony Hancock Show (1956), later turning up in the much better (and better-remembered) Hancock's Half Hour, "The Reunion Party" (1959). He was a regular as "Old Johnson" in Bootsie and Snudge (1960-63), co-written by Marty Feldman, before taking on the similar role of Lance Corporal Jones, a peppery survivor of the Great War, in every episode of Dad's Army and a film version in 1971. To be honest, some of his physical clowning in the series was a bit out of place with the restrained character comedy of the rest of the cast; you always knew that he was playing an old man, whereas they were the genuine article. After another sitcom, My Old Man (1974-75), and frequent guest spots on Jokers Wild, he was consigned to children's TV with Grandad (1979-84) before retiring to Portugal. He was also the most unlikely pop star ever, when "Grandad" topped the charts in 1971; Herbie Flowers, who co-wrote the soppy song for him, was a noted session musician who supplied the distinctive bass line on Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." I am honestly not making this up.

Links: It really is touching to see how much interest there still is in Dad's Army, as shown by the number of related sites. The Dad's Army Appreciation Society's site is, if anything, even more comprehensive, with full listings of episodes (including, sadly, the ones that ended up being wiped), articles on spin-offs, like the forgotten radio sequel It Sticks Out Half a Mile (I thought I was the only one who remembers that!), and reports on the Society's conventions and activities; several of the surviving cast and production team have been in touch. Of the several unofficial sites, I like Andy's Dad's Army Web Site, which has some very rare interviews with the stars, from the time the show was first broadcast.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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