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Dad's Army News - August 2002

Carmen Silvera 1922-2002

August 4th 2002

Actress Carmen Silvera has died after a battle with lung cancer. Silvera, who played a long-suffering wife, Edith in David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd's hit BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo, died on Saturday afternoon, aged 80. Carmen is also well remembered for her contribution to the 1970 Dad's Army episode Mum's Army.

Her agent and friend of 25 years Barry Burnett said: "Carmen was diagnosed with lung cancer in April. She passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon in the actors' retirement home Denville Hall, in Northwood, West London."

'Allo 'Allo was a huge hit in the 1980s, and centered on the fictional exploits of resistance fighters in World War II in France.

Mr Burnett said: "She celebrated her 80th birthday in June with friends and family and was cheerful right to the end. She said she had a very happy life, some wonderful holidays, and wonderful success in her career."

Actor Gorden Kaye, who played her reluctant husband in 'Allo 'Allo, saw Carmen just days before she died. He said: "Carmen was a lovely lady. She was ditsy - she always left her spectacles all over the place - she was clumsy - you had to be careful not to sit next to her during a black tie dinner - she was fun and she had a wicked sense of humour. She was a delightful lady."

Mr Kaye said: "We expected this, but not quite so soon. It's going to be a difficult time ahead. She was a good friend." The actor said he would donate a rose tree to the crematorium in her memory.

David Croft had featured Carmen in Hugh and I and Beggar My Neighbour so she seemed a natural love interest for Arthur Lowe's Captain Mainwaring in the 1970 episode "Mum's Army".

Carmen portrayed Mrs.Gray who joins the ranks of the ladies section of the Home Guard, but whom Captain Mainwaring fell for, it was loosely based on the film "Brief Encounter" Carmen later recounted. During recording of the episode Carmen actually was sent back to make-up as David Croft believed she looked too young to be Arthur Lowe's love interest.

Carmen's portrayal of Mrs.Gray was so good she was invited back in 1974 to recreate the role in the radio adaptation of the episode by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles. Fans, (myself included) were equally delighted to meet her at the Dad's Army Appreciation Society 30th aniversary event at the Oval Cricket Ground in 1998. She remembered her brief time on Dad's Army with great fondness and seemed pleased that people remembered her contribution to the show!

Andy Howells

This feature was compiled by Andy Howells for www.dadsarmy.tv.