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It Sticks Out Half A Mile

"A Seaside Saga of Post War Perpetuation."

Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles had previously adapted 67 Television episodes of Dad's Army for the radio between 1973 and 1975. In the early 1980's when they decided to come up with a radio sequel involving the characters of George Mainwaring and Arthur Wilson. With Jimmy Perry And David Croft's approval a pilot episode involving the two characters was commisioned.

The plot was to see a role reversal in the Mainwaring and Wilson character play. It was to be a few years after the war and Mainwaring was to have retired from the bank in Walmington, finding himself in neighbouring Frambourne-on-Sea, he decides he wants to reopen the local pier which was closed during the Second World War. He needs financial help, so goes to the bank for a loan, however, he finds the manager turns out to be his former bank clerk, Arthur Wilson...

Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier were keen to return to their roles as Mainwaring and Wilson, and a Pilot was recorded for BBC Radio in early 1982. Sadly a few months after the recording of the pilot, Arthur Lowe died, hence the original pilot episode of "It Sticks Out Half a Mile" was never broadcast. However, it was not the end, Snoad and Knowles were still keen to use the concept for a radio series. Joan Cooper (Arthur Lowe's widow) had told Harold Snoad that Arthur had thought the idea was marvellous and would still wish the series to go ahead.

Replacing Arthur's portrayal of Mainwaring was quite out of the question, but with John Le Mesurier still keen to continue, Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee came on board to form a suspect partnership between Frank Pike and Bert Hodges, and a further thirteen episodes of "It Sticks Out Half A Mile" were recorded in early 1983.

The episodes retained the basic key plot of the original concept, except it was now Pike and Hodges who were keen to reopen the pier and frequently badgered Wilson for a bank loan. The series boasted a competent cast of supporting actors, notably Vivienne Martin as Miss Perkins, Wilson's secretary. Other actors included Glyn Edwards, Michael Knowles, Reginald Marsh and the original Mrs Pike from the "Dad's Army" TV Series, Janet Davies.

The thirteen episodes, proved to be John Le Mesurier's final work, he died during the series initial broadcast in November 1983. The series was rerun with the addition of the final four episodes in mid 1984. Deemed of little interest to an international audience the series was not withheld by the BBC transcription service and only four episodes (including the two pilots) were retained by the BBC archives.

Time has not been particularly kind to this chapter of "Dad's Army" history. "It Sticks Out Half A Mile" bore little resemblence to its forebearer, and remains a curio of 13 episodes which have a sense of sadness hanging over them, due to the recent loss of Arthur Lowe and also been the final work of John Le Mesurier.