BBC Picture Archive
2002 - Orion - UK hardback
2003 - Orion - UK paperback
“Required reading for those of us who want to learn how the art grew out of the man, and you can’t ask more from a showbusiness biography” – Roger Lewis, Daily Express
“Meticulously researched and well written” – David Self, Church Times
Few actors achieve immortality for playing just one part but Arthur Lowe did as the unforgettably pompous and bumbling Captain Mainwaring in the amazingly popular TV series Dad’s Army. More than twenty years after Lowe’s death Dad’s Army has become a classic comedy series and is regularly repeated all over the world.
Lowe played Mainwaring to such perfection that many of his admirers forget that he ever played any other character. But on top of his long TV career, which took off when he played the pompous draper Leonard Swindley in Coronation Street in 1960, Lowe also appeared as a singer and dancer in three big West End musicals, on stage in numerous serious plays with the likes of Sir John Gielgud and Paul Scofield at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and the Royal Court, and in more than 50 films.
This first in-depth biography of Lowe – for which Lord interviewed all the surviving stars of Dad’s Army including Clive Dunn, Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee – is a vivid and moving account of Lowe’s poor childhood and early days in Manchester, his bizarre army career during the Second World War in Egypt and Palestine that was sometimes as hilarious as anything in Dad’s Army, his hard years learning his craft in provincial repertory theatre, his increasingly acclaimed appearances in the West End, and his string of TV triumphs.
Above all, it shows why Lowe was so loved by millions who never met him, and it tells the poignant story of his three major love affairs: with his beloved but tragically alcoholic wife, Joan; with acting; and with his adored Victorian steam yacht, the Amazon. And it shows that Arthur Lowe was undoubtedly a comic genius.