BBC Radio 7, 30 August 2010
Throughout my formative years, I was always told that cricket resembles
life: it is played by members of all social classes, and teaches its players both social as well as communicative skills.
As regular readers of Twitter are no doubt aware, cricket also reveals people's personalities, as they disclose their views
about the game and its administrators.
This episode of Dad's Army, based on Jimmy Perry and David Croft's television
script, proved the truth of these statements. Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) self-importantly assumed the leadership
of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard in their challenge match against the ARP Wardens, and proceeded to lecture his men
on the arts of bowling and batting. The fact that Mainwaring could neither bowl straight nor hit the ball was irrelevant;
he could talk a good game. Sergeant Wilson (John le Mesurier) remained silent as usual, but turned out to be a very proficient
batsman as he scored eighty runs to win the game. Jones (Clive Dunn) knew next to nothing about the sport, but his dim memories
of Edwardian greats such as K. S. Ranjitsinji evoked a prelapsarian world, when England regularly beat the Australians
both home and away. The real 'find' turned out to be Godfrey (Arnold Ridley), who kept wanting to be excused while fielding,
yet turned out to have such a good eye that he hit a six to win the match while batting at No. 11. Needless to say Chief
Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) screamed foul play, but there was nothing he could do to change the result.
Above all, what this episode suggested was that good team spirit helps individuals
to overcome adversity. The Home Guard faced a daunting total - due in no small part to Mainwaring's indifferent bowling -
but they reached it thanks to Wilson and Godfrey. They achieved what Australia just failed to do in the memorable Edgbaston
Test of 2005; to win by one wicket at the last gasp.