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It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

The boys argue over whose turn is it to be the gay this weekSIMPERING SITCOMMERY involving a single studio set standing in for the entire British World War Two Indian subcontinent campaign and two million shit gags standing in for pithy punchlines, enlightened witticisms and well-crafted tomfoolery. Like DAD’S ARMY, went on for longer than the war it was supposed to be fucking lampooning, and contrived to do so in a noisier, more over-stated fashion as well. WINDSOR DAVIES bellowed his way through proceedings helming a platoon of various comedy gay soldiers including dragged-up MELVYN “GLORIA” HAYES, pintsize kit factory DON ESTELLE, STUART “PLAY SCHOOL” MACGUGAN, GEORGE LAYTON and JOHN “MR LA-DI-DAH GUNNER GRAHAM” CLEGG, plus the requisite number of thick/aloof officers and pretend Asians. More offensive than LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR, less funny than EDGE OF DARKNESS, less credible than AROUND THE WORLD WITH WILLY FOGG.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. David Pascoe

    July 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Yes, I agree. There’s a clip of the opening titles doing the rounds on YouTube and even though it was the 70s, seeing Windsor Davies mouth the word, “Poofs” while they’re belting out the theme song is deeply unsettling.

  2. Wat

    July 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    It said more about the character Windsor was playing than anything else. Do 4 Poofs and a Piano bother you as much?

  3. David Pascoe

    July 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    No I don’t get upset at 4 Poofs and a Piano. I did get upset at a sitcom which put in a piece of homophobic behaviour in its opening titles. Another age, I know but still as jarring as anything in “Love Thy Neighbour”.

  4. nugget

    January 24, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Nonsense! This was a great show. Very funny, and part of our history. Of course, like Mind Your Language (which has been shown in many other countries and was well liked and in no way thought of as “racist” by many of those it was lampooning) they are not allowed to show it on tv anymore for fear of “offending anyone”. Jeez…

  5. Lee James Turnock

    May 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Windsor Davies told me to fuck off when I was nineteen.

  6. Paul

    June 13, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    Why did he want you to wait until then?

  7. Droogie

    June 14, 2022 at 5:31 am

    Not a show that’s aged well. However, I do get weird spiritual solace from the Windsor Davies catchphrase “ Oh Dear. How sad. Never mind” . It’s almost Buddhist in it’s simplistic approach to accepting life’s misfortunes but moving immediately on from them.

  8. Sidney Balmoral James

    June 14, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    This was cast into the outer darkness, but thirty years later Matt Lucas was blacking up and Vicious and Gimme Gimme Gimme were earning ugly laughs from comic gay characters.

    • Richardpd

      June 14, 2022 at 10:09 pm

      I was surprised that Little Britain & Come Fly With Me could get away with it so late on, but both have been made unavailable outside of DVD releases.

      Gimme Gimme Gimme was one those shows that was touching outrageous when it was first shown, but probably has dated badly.

      “Oh Dear. How sad. Never mind” has become a popular meme in recent years.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 14, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Of its time and due to the subject matter, a concert party in Burma in 1944, the core audience will be mostly dead or have forgotten this sitcom existed as it never enjoyed the repeat runs of the other Croft and Perry sitcoms. Probably would have foundered without Windsor Davies as the sergeant major as some of the other characters were awful when you look back( Gloria was the same old drag act every show).

    • Droogie

      June 14, 2022 at 11:30 pm

      The title sequence and theme tune always spooked me as a kid. ( Grown men in greasepaint.) It was also weird watching the original cast members like Michael Bates and George Layton slowly disappear from the titles too. Craziest thing was how a performer of dubious talents like Don Estelle had such a such long career from this . ( His bitter autobiography Sing Lofty: Thoughts Of A Gemini is supposedly a hilarious Patridge-tastic read.)

  10. Glenn Aylett

    June 15, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    @ Droogie, Don Lofty Estelle never enjoyed the same success after his most famous role. I’m sure he ended up dressing up in his stage outfit and singing in a market in Rochdale to make ends meet.

    • Droogie

      June 15, 2022 at 8:34 pm

      @ Glenn Aylett He and serial paedophile Cyril Smith collaborated on a version of On The Trail Of Lonesome Pine in their latter years that they would sing in shopping centres and sell on cassette to OAP’s. There’s a clip of them both in Pith helmets singing this that is the bleakest thing you’ll ever see. Just wish Cyril Smith got nicked while he was alive for all his crimes against young boys.

      • Richardpd

        June 15, 2022 at 10:40 pm

        Cyril Smith was still alive when he was accused accepting money from the owner of a Rochdale asbestos factory to downplay the health problems caused by handling asbestos, which already knocked him way down in my estimation.

  11. Glenn Aylett

    June 16, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Don Estelle died before the revelations about Smith came out and there’s nothing to suggest he was involved in any of Smith’s crimes. I feel quite sorry for Estelle as he was typecast for the rest of his life as the tiny singer in a pith helmet from a seventies sitcom, while Windsor Davies moved on and found enormous success in Never The Twain, which was far less controversial than It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

    • Richardpd

      June 16, 2022 at 10:29 pm

      Especially as he was singing 1930s-40s songs, which had a brief revival in the time the show was on air, but had waned by the mid 1980s.

      Windsor Davies was also in Terrahawks & the first sitcom called The New Statesman, not the one with Rik Mayall.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      June 17, 2022 at 7:37 am

      Not wishing to turn this into a thread on 70s sex offenders, but allegations about Smith first surfaced in the 70s (e.g. in Private Eye) and nothing happened! Then when he was dead, many years later, there was a load of hand-wringing and excuses.

  12. Droogie

    June 17, 2022 at 2:35 am

    Don’t feel sorry for Don Estelle! He had quite a good run for someone of zero charisma, even though he eventually fell foul of ( his words) “tight-crutched, white-trousered morons”.

    • Glenn Aylett

      June 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm

      @ Droogie, he was rather a one trick pony, playing on his Lofty character until he died. Yet I have to admire his bravado in lying to David Croft to get a role in Dad’s Army by saying he was a big friend of Arthur Lowe.

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