Monday, 5 December 2016
551 A J Wentworth B.A.
First viewed : 13 July 1982
Anyone who writes about telly will at some point end up lamenting the TV companies' wiping policies that's consigned so much great material to oblivion. On the other hand, there are some programmes of which all trace should have been obliterated and this is one of them.
A J Wentworth B.A. was the final comedy vehicle for the great Arthur Lowe who had died, three months before it was first broadcast. Lowe had had serious problems with alcoholism since the end of Dad's Army five years earlier and that shows here. He's overweight , slurs his lines and looks about 20 years older. Harry Andrews played the headmaster.
The series was based on a reputedly funny column in Punch in the 1950s about an incompetent teacher in a 1940s public school. None of that humour made it across to the series; the opening episode was completely witless. Wentworth falling into a laundry basket was as good as it got. There was no laughter track. I don't know if that was intentional or there actually was a studio audience who were numbed into silence.
Thankfully only six episodes of this sad embarrassment were made. For any fans of Dad's Army this is a must to avoid.