We're Doomed! The Dad's Army Story tells the tale of the inception and making of the evergreen, classic sitcom and how the BBC were resolutely sceptical of the project, fearing a poor taste flop.
All I can say is if Dad's Army itself bore the same quality as this 'tribute' to its birth then the BBC would have been right in their thinking. Thankfully, Dad's Army was more or less a beautifully underplayed ensemble gem, pitched just right - something this drama, with its odd casting choices, mugging and broad brushstrokes was simply not.
I'm an admirer of some of the actors on display here, Paul Ritter, Richard Dormer, John Sessions, Mark Heap, Keith Allen to name but a few, but never have I seen something that so conclusively failed to get the tone of the thing it was paying tribute to. It seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that, as the subject was a comedy, it should be played big and for laughs at all times, unlike the more suitable origins dramas concerning dramas like Doctor Who (An Adventure In Time and Space) and Coronation Street (The Road To Coronation Street) Sessions occasionally did rather with his performance as Arthur Lowe though, strangely for a performer famed for his vocal mimicry in Stella Street, he failed to nail the man's wonderful brown tones. Julian Sands provided a typically mannered performance that seemed to confuse John Le Mesurier with Laurence Olivier - it was exactly the same tics and mannerisms he gave the knight in the BBC4 Kenneth Tynan biopic In Praise of Hardcore, Robert Bathurst was a much better Le Mes in another BBC4 biopic, Hattie - which looked at his strained marriage to Hattie Jacques. We were further treated to the bizarre casting choice of Shane Richie played Shane Richie, despite purporting to be Bill Pertwee, whilst Dormer and Ritter seemed intent on playing panto. It was Michael Cochrane as Arnold Ridley who seemed to be the only actor on display who actually did any research and study of his subject.
Disappointing, I'm afraid.