It Ain't Half Hot Mum

This series was the second major output from the comedy team of Croft and Perry, the first being Dad's Army. Drawing on the experiences of Jimmy Perry in a wartime concert party, the series is set in the Royal Artillery Depot in Deolali, India (although in later series they changed location). Michael Bates starred as Ranji Ram (although this has been spelt Rangi and even Randi in some places), Windsor Davies as Sgt. Major 'Shut Up' Williams, George Layton as Bombardier Solomans, Melvyn Hayes as Gunner 'Gloria' Beaumont, Don Estelle as Lofty, and Donald Hewlett and Michael Knowles as the officers.

Ranji, played my Michael Bates, the anglophilic Indian servant was almost the lynchpin of the show, with much of the action taking place around him, but the main thrust of this action was generated between the hard army persona of Sgt. Major Williams and the luvvies, or 'poofs' as Williams was often heard to mutter, of the concert party themselves. They were not what could be described as the most alike bunch and their only similarity appeared to be that they were all misfits of one sort or another, but they all knew that to work as a team was their only chance of staying where they were and not to be sent 'up the jungle'.

Sadly the series has, in recent years, been the victim of PC, with a lot of the characters being branded as racist, and therefore, the show has not made it back on the repeat runs on BBC, although the other Croft Perry classics such as Dad's Army and Hi-De-Hi get outings far more regularly. One of the main criticisms was that Bates was 'blacked up' when an Indian actor could have been employed, but Bates' response to this was that he was actually born in India and learned to speak Hindustani before English. If this were not enough, the 'indian' actors playing indians were in actual fact from Pakistan and Bangladesh! UKGold, a UK satellite channel has been showing them on a loop pretty much since it started, but apart from some video releases a few years ago by Acorn Media, there was little representation for such a popular and long comedy series. That is until now.

2|entertain are well on the way to releasing the whole of this series now, with half already available and the next one coming soon. There are the occassional bonus features on the discs, and the first series release even included off-air recordings of the couple of shows that are no longer held in the BBC Archives. Sadly I haven't seen all of these releases yet, but the couple of series I have have lived up to all my hopes and are well worth seeking out. One of my favourite comedy series, and one that I won't wait too long to fill in the gaps on my shelf.

SERIES 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Series One.

TitleTX DateNotes
Meet The Gang3.1.74
My Lovely Boy10.1.74
The Mutiny Of The Punka Wallahs17.1.74
A Star Is Born24.1.74 Only available as off-air Australian TV copy
The Jungle Patrol31.1.74
It's A Wise Child7.2.74 Only available as off-air Australian TV copy
The Road To Bannu14.2.74
The Inspector Calls21.2.74

Series Two.

TitleTX DateNotes
Showing The Flag2.1.75
Down In The Jungle9.1.75
The Natives Are Revolting16.1.75
Cabaret Time23.1.75
The Curse Of The Sadhu30.1.75
Forbidden Fruits6.2.75
Has Anyone Seen My Cobra?13.2.75
The Night Of The Thugs20.2.75

Series Three.

TitleTX DateNotes
The Supremo Show2.1.76
Mind My Maharajah9.1.76
Bang Goes The Maharajah16.1.76
The Grand Illusion23.1.76
Pale Hands I Love30.1.76
Don't Take The Micky6.2.76

Series Four.

TitleTX DateNotes
Monsoon Madness2.11.76
Kidnapped In The Khyber9.11.76
A Fate Worse Than Death16.11.76
Ticket To Blighty23.11.76
Lofty's Little Friend30.11.76
Flight To Jawani7.12.76
We Are Not Amused14.12.76
Twenty.One Today21.12.76

Series Five.

TitleTX DateNotes
Front Line Entertainers25.10.77
Bridge Over The River Hipong1.11.77
The Pay Off8.11.77
Puddings From Heaven15.11.77
The Superstar22.11.77
The Eternal Quadrangle29.11.77

Series Six.

TitleTX DateNotes
The Stars Look Down23.10.78
The Big League30.10.78
The Big Payroll Snatch6.11.78
The Dhobi Wallahs13.11.78
Lead, Kindly Light20.11.78
Holidays At Home27.11.78
Caught Short4.12.78

Series Seven.

TitleTX DateNotes
That's Entertainment?17.10.80
The Guinea Pigs24.10.80
Dog In The Manger31.10.80
The Great Broadcast7.11.80
Class Of 194514.11.80
Star Commandos21.11.80

Series Eight.

TitleTX DateNotes
Gloria's Finest Hour23.7.81
Money Talks30.7.81 Audio tape
The Last Warrior13.8.81
Never The Twain Shall Meet20.8.81
The Long Road Home27.8.81
The Last Roll Call3.9.81