Dad's Army, first aired in 1968, was the first comedy series to be set in the Second World War. This chapter comments on the form and content of Dad's Army and their interrelationship. In respect of historical authenticity Dad's Army understandably avoids the aspects of Home Guard experience which would defeat laughter. In production, Dad's Army was treated as a costume drama shot partly in the studio but substantially on locations near Thetford, East Anglia, particularly in the town and on Stanford, a nearby Military Training Area. The experience of contemporary life in a socially fragmented Britain, under a right-leaning 'New Labour' government, may be different. But it seems that Dad's Army brings out not so much nostalgia as a myth of Old England.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.