Perry and Croft was the British television writing partnership of writer Jimmy Perry and director David Croft. They made 4 series of influential shows in 1968 to 1993 and in 2008 were recognized for their contributions to British Television with the BAFTA Special Award, the most prestigious award given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Their collaborations were all written by Perry and Croft, with Croft directing. Unusually, the pair shared a writer credits for most of their shows but Croft had the director-producer credits.
Originally intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad’s Army was based partly on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry’s real-life experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers (later known as the Home Guard). Perry had been 15 years old when he joined the 19th Hertfordshire Battalion and with a mother who did not like him being out at night and fearing he might catch cold, he bore more than a passing resemblance to the character of Frank Pike. An elderly lance corporal in the outfit often referred to fighting for Kitchener against the "Fuzzy Wuzzies" and proved to be a perfect model for Jones. Other influences were the film Whisky Galore!, and the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter! featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike. Another influence was Robb Wilton.
Perry wrote the first script and gave it to David Croft while working as a minor actor in the Croft-produced sitcom Hugh and I, originally intending the role of the spiv, Walker, to be his own. Croft was impressed and sent the script to Michael Mills, Head of Comedy at the BBC. After addressing initial concerns that the programme was making fun of the efforts of the Home Guard, the series was commissioned.
In his book, Dad's Army, Graham McCann explained that the show owes a lot to Michael Mills. It was he who renamed the show Dad's Army. He did not like Brightsea-on-Sea so the location was changed to Walmington-on-Sea. He was happy with the names for the characters Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike but not with other names and he made suggestions: Private Jim Duck became Frazer, Joe Fish became Joe Walker and Jim Jones became Jack Jones. He also suggested adding a Scot to the mix. Jimmy Perry had produced the original idea but was in need of an experienced man to see it through. Mills suggested David Croft and so the successful partnership began.