Fairly Secret Army (TV Series 1984–1986) Poster


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Delightful spin off from Reggie Perrin
Scrivener300017 August 2006
Although "Fairly Secret Army" never got much attention, it was a delightful little series starring Geoffrey Palmer, with a challenging premise for a teleplay-writer in these modern times: Make an obscure, far-right, wonderfully stuffy retired British army major into a lovable, and even sympathetic and huggable, fellow. He tries to form a tiny army dedicated to – something or other. It's never clear what. Certainly not the overthrow of the British government -- that's the very thing they oppose.

The series, which only ran to about a dozen episodes, was a spin off from the much better-known "Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin," in which Palmer played Reggie's wonderfully stuffy and perpetually unprepared Army officer brother-in-law, Jimmy (Major James Gordonstoun Anderson). ("Would you have any food, Reggie? Been rather a cockup on the catering front.") Palmer's Major Harry Kitchener Wellington Truscott – different name but obviously an extension of the same character -- tries to raise a small and fairly secret army, but has to settle for one adoring upper-class lady, a popinjay sergeant and his wife, and a half-witted corporal (Richard Ridings).

The secret army is soon recruited by a shadowy man from government to infiltrate a revolutionary cell that seems to be as lethal as it is secretive. Good stuff.
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Fairly Secret Army
mail-354117 November 2006
Inspired by the 1977 BBC drama 'Secret Army' David Nobb's brilliant Channel 4 comedy series - itself a character spin off from the much lauded Reggie Perrin - set Geoffrey Palmer as Harry Kitchener Wellington Truscott an ex officer of the Queen's Own West Mercian Lowlanders who for some reason refuses to believe that the war is over and is intent on rallying a motley band of clandestine troops to keep the country from falling into the hands of 'lefties, Communists, rapists, Papists and Papist rapists' etc.

Nobb's sparse scripting for Palmer's character (changed from Jimmy to Harry due to copyright reason as the BBC held the 'Perrin' series rights)is a joy to listen to. Some of Harry's mini Soliloquys verge on poetry and, delivered with that hang dog expression that is so Palmer, it's a joy to watch as well.

This series is in dire need of resurrection or at least a DVD outing.
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