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Obituary: Jimmy Perry

Jimmy Perry

Together with David Croft, Jimmy Perry helped define British television comedy for a quarter of a century.

The pair’s first hit, Dad’s Army, ran from 1968–77, continues to be repeated and was revived on film earlier this year. Perry and Croft returned to war-time experiences with It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (1974-81), tapped into holiday camp nostalgia with Hi-de-Hi! (1980-88) and pastiched Edwardian class dramas in You Rang, M’Lord? (1988-93).

With Jeremy Lloyd, Perry created two other sitcom classics in Are You Being Served? (1972-85) and ’Allo ’Allo (1982-92).

After serving in the Royal Artillery, where he took on the responsibility of concerts manager, Perry trained at RADA. His early career was spent in repertory. He was seen alongside Anna Neagle in Robert Nesbitt’s The Glorious Days (Palace Theatre, 1953) and spent two years with Joan Littlewood at Theatre Royal Stratford East in the late 1960s.

From 1958-66, Perry co-managed the Watford Palace Theatre, where he began to write and direct, with his wife Gilda, a tenure that changed the fortunes of the struggling venue.

Appointed an OBE in 1978, he published his autobiography, A Stupid Boy, in 2002 and received a British Comedy award for lifetime achievement in 2003.

James (Jimmy) Perry was born on September 20, 1923 and died on October 23, aged 93. He is survived by his partner, costume designer Mary Husband.

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