Ridley OBE (1896-1984)
Ridley was born in Bath in 1896 and educated at Bath & Bristol
University. On graduating, he did a short stint at teaching before
making an acting debut in "Prunella" at Bristol's Theatre
First World War soon beckoned and he saw active service but was
invalided out in 1917 after been severely wounded in the Somme.
By 1918, Arnold had resumed his acting career and appeared in
Birmingham Rep in over 40 productions up until 1920. Because of
his war injuries his acting career was put on hold again, working
for his father in a boot shop Arnold began writing plays.
1923, he wrote 'The Ghost Train', which was inspired by
having to wait for several hours in a West Country railway station.
Although 'The Ghost Train' made Arnold's name as a playwright,
Arnold also wrote many other plays including 'Beggar My Neighbour'
and 'Easy Money'.
the mid 1930's, Arnold had established his own film company along
with a partner, however this was dissolved after the financial
backers were declared bankrupt. It took nearly 20 years to clear
the debt Arnold had amassed because of the situation.
outbreak of the Second World War saw Arnold back in service, this
time in France; he suffered shellshock and was discharged again.
For the remainder of the war he worked with ENSA and whilst directing
a production of 'The Ghost Train' met his future wife Althea.
When the war ended he resumed his acting career and made an eventual
progression from stage to film to television and radio.
film work included 'Interrupted Journey' and 'The Man
Who Knew Too Much'. His radio work included a regular role
in the radio drama "the Archers" and TV roles in both 'Crossroads'
and 'Coronation Street'. By 1968, Arnold was into his 7th
decade when he was offered the role of Private Godfrey in 'Dad's
Arnold's gentle approach made him a firm favourite with young
and old alike, so much so, that he appeared in all versions of
the show, even the stage show which coincided with his 80th birthday
in 1976. After 'Dad's Army', Arnold's appearances became
fewer, he died in 1984 at the age of 88.