Question: In the first episode of the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army what did Frazer say he did for a living?
The answer may surprise you.
We tend to remember that Private James Frazer was Walmington-on-Sea’s undertaker, but in that very first Dad’s Army episode, The Man and the Hour, when Captain Mainwaring asks Frazer his occupation he states that he runs a philatelist’s shop, ie he deals in collectable postage stamps.
In a later episode we learn that Private Frazer has a sideline making coffins for the local undertaker. Then in series three of Dad’s Army Frazer is portrayed as the town’s undertaker, there is no explanation about the change, and the impression is given that he always has been a funeral director.
This is a fairly glaring continuity error, but I would guess at the time the programme was first aired between 1968 and 1977 it probably was not noticed by the vast majority of viewers. Back in those days people generally did not have video recorders and reissues of TV programmes on video tape or DVD had not been thought of.
No doubt the writers and the BBC considered the programmes would be broadcast and then forgotten. Little did they suspect that forty years on Dad’s Army would be being regularly repeated on television, and that people would have seen the episodes out of sequence so many times that those of us of a more nerdy disposition would pick up on the continuity errors in a characters back stories.