What did Private Frazer do for a living in Dad’s Army? Are you sure?

Question:

In the very first episode of Dad’s Army what did Frazer tell Captain Mainwaring he did for a living?

Did you say “Undertaker”?

If you did I am afraid you are wrong.

But we all know that Frazer was the Walmington On Sea undertaker?

Well yes he was the local funeral director in later series of the BBC sitcom, but in early episodes he had a different job.

So what did he do?

The very first Dad’s Army episode was titled “The Man and the Hour”. In it there is a scene where Frazer is registering as a member of the Home Guard. When Captain Mainwaring asked Frazer his occupation he replied that he ran a philatelist’s shop. So at the start the series Private Frazer dealt in collectable postage stamps.

In a later episode we learn that Frazer has a sideline making coffins for the local undertaker.

Then in series three of Dad’s Army the change of profession comes. Frazer is portrayed as the town’s undertaker, there is attempt to explain the change. The impression given is that he always has been a funeral director.

This is a fairly glaring continuity error. I would guess at the time the programme was first aired it probably was not noticed by the majority of viewers. Back in those days, the 1960s and 1970s, people generally did not have video recorders. Back then reissues of TV programmes on video tape or DVD had not been thought of.

So why the glaring continuity error?

I guess at the time the writers and the BBC considered the programmes would be broadcast once. After that they would be forgotten. Little did they suspect that forty years on Dad’s Army would be being regularly repeated. They did not foresee that people would have seen the episodes out of sequence many times. They could predict that the more nerdy would pick up on the sudden job change.


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