David Croft

David Croft

Date of birth: 07-09-1922
Date of death: 27-09-2011

David Croft was the sson of actors Annie Croft and Reginald Sharland. Following in their footsteps, he appeared in a cinema commercial at the age of seven. He also had an uncredited role as a greengrocers boy in the 1939 film Goodbye, Mr. Chips – but that was the extent of his film career.

He served as a Royal Artillery officer in the war, posted to North Africa , India and Singapore where he rose to the rank of Major – experiences which gave him the material for the wartime comedies Dad’s Army, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and ‘Allo ‘Allo.

After the war, he met pantomime producer Freddie Carpenter and scripted several hit shows for him, as well as woking with composer Cyril Ornadel to write around 300 songs for BBC Variety, plus the scripts for a series of Beatrix Potter musical adaptations, which became hit records.

He then went into TV, joining Associated Rediffusion as Head of the Light Entertainment Script Department in 1955 before a brief stint as a producer with Tyne Tees Television in 1959.

But it was the BBC where he would find his home, starting as a producer and director on a wide range of hit comedies including The Benny Hill Show, Steptoe and Son, Up Pompeii and Beggar My Neighbour, which is where he met Jimmy Perry.

They formed a writing partnership that spawned Dad’s Army, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-De-Hi and You Rang, M’Lord?

For other hits he collaborated with Jeremy Lloyd, producing and writing Are You Being Served? ‘Allo ‘Allo, Grace and Favour, Come Back Mrs Noah and, Oh Happy Band.

Croft also produced and directed TV shows in Australia for Channel 7 and in Los Angeles for CBS and Paramount.

He was awarded an OBE in 1978 for services to television and in 2003 the lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards.

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