It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–1981)

TV Series   |    |  Comedy, War


Episode Guide
It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974) Poster

The comic adventures of a group of misfits who form an extremely bad concert party touring the hot and steamy jungles of Burma entertaining the troops during World War II.


7.1/10
1,203

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User Reviews


13 December 2017 | rophihisuc
7
| Takes some getting used to, but gets better with every series
I didn't know what to make of this comedy after watching the first few episodes. It certainly had jokes, but it is such a unique setup that it was difficult to be comfortable with it at. Nevertheless, after becoming familiar with the characters and roles, it became a lot easier to get into the swing of the show.

The show is about troupe of entertainers who are soldiers (in rank only) in the Royal Artillery Core and are based in India (hence the programme's title). They perform shows for the regular soldiers which involve a range of acts, such as dancing, singing, joke-telling, acting etc. This is all to the extreme frustration of the Sergeant Major Williams, a seasoned soldier with decades of combat experience. He is desperate to see real fighting action and resents being in charge of this concert party that frequently embarrass him with their "less-than-macho" attitude. There are also two pompous senior officers who are generally oblivious to anything that is going on, only concerned with attending dinner parties with other officers.

The first few series did become a bit repetitive in my opinion: the plots mostly being Williams scheming to get the concert party disbanded and sent into the jungle, partly out of spite as he despises them so much, but also to satisfy his taste for combat. Whilst never becoming boring, it did become a bit stale.

However, perhaps I am imagining it, but from around series 4 or 5, when they are all relocated to a jungle in Burma (still as the concert party), the plots seemed to improve in my opinion, becoming more varied and creative and generally funnier.

One thing that is enormous credit to Croft and Perry is their ability to make some rather quite powerful and emotional episodes for a programme that is otherwise slapstick and daft. The final episode was really quite moving. The finale was done excellently, considering how so many other programmes fall flat with their finales.

As a final comment, Windsor Davies gives an incredible performance as the Sergeant Major, being naturally hilarious and also a convincing military figure (I believe he did spend a year or two in the army, so was probably very familiar with how to act the role).

Great fun.

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some critics viewed the casting of the white actor Michael Bates as the Indian bearer Rangi Ram as an example of blackface, "All Michael Bates wore was a light tan", protested Jimmy Perry in a 2013 interview with the journalist Neil Clark, an admirer of the series. In Clark's opinion, the series "delightfully lampooned the attitudes of the British in India", but is "wrongly attacked by the PC brigade for being racist and homophobic". Such a perception, however, is believed to be at least partly responsible for the programme not being repeated on British television in later years, along with, according to Darren Lee of the British Film Institute's ScreenOnline website, a belief it contains "national stereotyping and occasionally patronizing humor". According to Mark Duguid, writing for the same website, it suffers "from its narrow stereotypes of its handful of Indian supporting characters as alternately servile, foolish, lazy or devious". Its flaws have not stopped it appearing in several "best of" lists. The show's producers had been aware the issues around the casting a white actor to play one of the Indian characters, but relented owing to the lack of suitable Indian actors at the time. Jimmy Perry defended the casting as Bates "spoke fluent Urdu, and was a captain in the Gurkhas".


Quotes

Captain Ashwood: Who's Major Waddilove-Evans?
Colonel Reynolds: Eh? Oh, just the husband of the lady who happened to be on leave in the hills as the same time as me.
Captain Ashwood: Jolly good show.
Colonel Reynolds: Yes, it was.


Goofs

In early episodes Gunner Graham claims to be educated at Oxford but later on he claims to be educated at Cambridge.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Comedy | War

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