David Hayman Interview

We caught up with David Hayman to find out what it was like taking on the role of Private Frazer in Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes.

David Hayman as Private Frazer

What interested you in The Lost Episodes project?

It's one of the greatest and best loved sitcoms ever in the history of British television, so to say no you would have to be an idiot or come from Mars or something. No, it's a wonderful offer and they got in touch at the end of last summer and said we're planning on doing this in the spring and would I be interested and instantly I said yes. It was a joy.

Why do Croft and Perry's scripts still work over 50 years later?

I think there's a wonderful innocence to them and there's great warmth and great humanity in there, there's great human observation in there. I think they're irresistible as it's like portraying human beings at their most vulnerable, at their weakest, at their silliest, at their...I was going to say most absurd. I mean, I've done theatre of the absurd before, but this is television of the absurd, which is great.

How did you approach the character of Frazer?

Well I wouldn't say he's a four or five dimensional character as he's fairly straightforward, so I just watched lots of episodes and just listened to him and watched his over the top facial mannerisms. I think everyone in the series is over the top, but I think Frazer is somewhat out in advance of the rest of them. It's positively pantomimic at times. He's a great full-blooded character.

How has it been working with the cast?

Look at that line up of characters! Wonderful comic character actors who've got a great track record of creating wonderful memorable characters in the past. It's been a joy from beginning to end and we all get on really well as a bunch. And that's good because it only takes one to disturb the equilibrium, but not in this. It's been a pleasure, a great pleasure.

What is the plot of 'A Stripe for Frazer'?

The plot of A Stripe for Frazer hangs around the fact that Mainwaring's commanding officer comes up from headquarters and allows him to promote two more Lance Corporals from within his team. So, he chooses Frazer, although I think Wilson is very reluctant to promote him, as it goes straight to his head and he becomes a fascist.

He starts to put all of his colleagues on charges, charges that bring the death penalty, life imprisonment, desertion from your post, cowardice in the face of the enemy, he dreams up all these ridiculous charges, so his promotion doesn't last very long.

I think it lasts about the space of one episode and then his stripe disappears.

What were your first memories of seeing Dad's Army?

Well during the 1970s I was on stage every night so I didn't get to see them. It was only laterally that I caught up and more recently, doing the research for this, I just looked at dozens of them. I just became totally absorbed in them and the characters, they were great fun.

How did the first episode recording go?

It was exhilarating because the audience, right from the word go, were with us. The minute we walked on stage and got introduced to the audience, we got wonderful ovations and they didn't miss a trick. All the way through the recording they were with us, every single laugh, every single line, all the way. They were very warm and appreciative and very loving.

What would you say to the viewers before they watch The Lost Episodes?

Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes airs Sunday 25th, Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th August at 8pm on Gold