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Major David Croft, OBE
David Croft, May 2011.jpg
Caption Croft in May 2011
Born 7 September 1922(1922-09-07)
Birth Place Sandbanks, Poole, Bournemouth, Dorset, United Kingdom
Died 27 September 2011(2011-09-27) (aged 89)
Death Place Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Gender Male
Occupation Writer, producer, director, actor
Years Active 1939–2011
Nationality British
Genre Television
Spouse Ann Callender
(m. 1952–2011)
Children Nicholas Croft
Penelope Croft
Jane Croft
Rebecca Croft
John Croft
Richard Croft
Timothy Croft
Parents Reginald Sharland
Annie Croft
Writer Are You Being Served?
Awards British Comedy Awards
2003 Lifetime Achievement Award
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
1969 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army
1970 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army
1971 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army
Desmond Davies award (1981)

Major David John Croft OBE (7 September 192227 September 2011), born David John Andrew Sharland, was an English writer, producer and director. He is particularly noted for producing and co-writing a string of popular BBC sitcoms including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served?, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi! 'Allo 'Allo! and You Rang, M'Lord?.

Early life[]

Croft was born into a showbiz family: his mother, Annie Croft (1896-1995), was a famous stage actress and his father, Reginald Sharland (1886-1944), had a successful career as a radio actor in Hollywood. His first public appearance was at age 7, when he was seen in a commercial which aired in cinemas.[1] After that, his acting career in films "began and ended"[2] with his uncredited appearance as Perkins in the film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). Croft was educated at St John's Wood Preparatory School and Rugby School in Warwickshire.[3] He married theatrical agent Ann Callender on 2 June 1952, and they had seven children.[4] Croft enlisted in the Royal Artillery] in 1942. He served during the Second World War in North Africa, India and Singapore. After contracting rheumatic fever in North Africa, was sent home to convalesce and then underwent officer training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was posted to India, arriving as the war in Europe ended, and was assigned to the Essex Regiment, rising to the rank of Major. When his military service ended he began working in the entertainment industry, as an actor, singer and writer, eventually settling as a TV producer.

Croft relocated to the Northeast of England to work at Tyne Tees Television, where he produced many editions of the variety show The One O'Clock Show. For Tyne Tees Croft also directed and produced the admags Ned's Shed and Mary Goes to Market, as well as producing his first sitcom, Under New Management, set in a derelict pub in the North of England.[5]


After leaving Tyne Tees Television to work at the BBC in the mid-1960s, he produced a number of the Corporation's popular sitcoms such as Beggar My Neighbour, Further Up Pompeii! and Hugh and I. It was while producing Hugh and I that he was introduced to actor Jimmy Perry, who handed him an unsolicited script for a pilot called The Fighting Tigers about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. Croft liked the idea. The two men co-wrote nine series of the show, which was retitled Dad's Army, as well as a feature film and a stage show based on it.[6]

While Dad's Army was still running, Croft began to co-write Are You Being Served? with Jeremy Lloyd. He was to continue both writing partnerships for the rest of his career in several hit series including It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi!, 'Allo 'Allo! and You Rang, M'Lord?. His last full series Oh, Doctor Beeching!, broadcast from 1995 to 1997, was co-written with Richard Spendlove. He created a television pilot in 2007, entitled Here Comes The Queen, with Jeremy Lloyd. This pilot starred Wendy Richard and Les Dennis, but because of Wendy Richard's death the show never went to a full series.[7]

As a producer, Croft's regular practice was to signal the end of an episode with the caption "You Have Been Watching ...", followed by vignettes of the main cast.


David Croft died in his sleep on 27 September 2011, at his home in Portugal, twenty days after his 89th birthday.[8]

Awards and honours[]

Croft became an Officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire with Jimmy Perry in 1978 for services to television. He also received the 1981 Desmond Davis award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, for his outstanding contributions to the industry.[9]

Croft's awards include:

  • (BAFTA awards): Best Light Entertainment
    Nominated: 1970 Dad's Army
    Best Light Entertainment Production
    1971 Dad's Army (With Team)
    Nominated: 1971 Up Pompeii!
    Best Situation Comedy Series
    Nominated: 1973 Dad's Army
    Nominated: 1974 Dad's Army
    Best Situation Comedy
    Nominated: 1975 Dad's Army
    Nominated: 1977 Are You Being Served?
    Desmond Davis Award
    1982 Lifetime Achievement Award
    Best Comedy Series
    Nominated: 1982 Hi-de-Hi!
    Nominated: 1983 Hi-de-Hi!
    Nominated: 1985 Hi-de-Hi!
    Nominated: 1986 'Allo 'Allo!
    Nominated: 1987 'Allo 'Allo!
    Nominated: 1988 'Allo 'Allo!
    Nominated: 1989 'Allo 'Allo!
  • (British Comedy Awards): 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award
    Writers' Guild of Great Britain
    1969 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army
    1970 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army
    1971 Best Comedy Script Dad's Army

Production and writing career[]

In addition to writing most of the episodes of these television series, Croft also worked as producer, director and, later, executive producer.

Written with Jimmy Perry[]

  • 1968–1977 Dad's Army
  • 1974–1981 It Ain't Half Hot Mum
  • 1980–1988 Hi-de-Hi!
  • 1988–1993 You Rang, M'Lord?

Written with Jeremy Lloyd[]

  • 1972–1985 Are You Being Served? (Series 1–8)
  • 1977–1978 Come Back Mrs Noah
  • 1980 Oh Happy Band!
  • 1982–1992 'Allo 'Allo! (Series 1–6)
  • 1992–1993 Grace and Favour
  • 1994 Which Way to the War
  • 2008 Here Comes the Queen

Written with Richard Spendlove[]

  • 1995–1997 Oh, Doctor Beeching!


  1. Shown in Comedy Connections 'Allo 'Allo! and It Ain't Half Hot Mum
  2. according to his website
  3. David Croft Obituary in The Guardian. Retrieved 27/09/2011
  4. Nicholas Croft, Penelope Croft, Jane Croft, Rebecca Croft, John Croft, Richard Croft and Timothy Croft. They have fifteen grandchildren.
  5. Morgan-Russell 2004, p. 11
  6. official website/Biography
  7. Daily Mirror: Miss Brahms Is Back
  8. BBC News (27 September 2011). "Comedy creator David Croft dies aged 89". BBC Online. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  9. Television - Desmond Davis Award


  • Morgan-Russell, Simon (2004). Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719065569. 

External links[]