Put that light out!
This was the catchphrase of ARP Warden William Hodges, the always grumpy adversary of Captain Mainwaring’s Home Guard unit in the much-loved sitcom, Dad’s Army. Bill Pertwee played the character throughout the show’s 1968 to 1977 run.
Hodge’s bad temper puts him at perpetually at odds with the admittedly pompous Mainwaring, played by Arthur Lowe, even though both were, theoretically, on the same side.
At one point, Hodges berated the man he nicknamed Napoleon, shouting: “Let me enjoy this war in peace!”
Bill himself was nothing like his most famous character and was so modest that he occasionally denied even being a “proper actor.” The cousin of Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee, Bill came from an acting family and enjoyed many other roles including one in radio series Round The Horne, three of the Carry On films and as a policeman in TV sitcom You Rang, M’Lord?
As a teenager during the Second World War, Bill was among thousands of children who were evacuated from towns and cities to the countryside. Before then, he had memories of ARP wardens shouting, “Put that light out!” before the blackout himself.