Dad’s Army: John Mesuriers wife recalls actors final moments ‘I’m fed up of it now’

John Laurie thought Dad's Army wasn't going to be a success

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Sergeant Arthur Wilson star John Mesurier was well-known for his comedic role on the hit BBC series. Despite the show ending in 1977, Dad’s Army fans continue to hold the show in high regard. During the one-off Channel 5 special, Dad’s Army: Secret Lives and Scandal, the lives of the stars of the sitcom were explored. But the cast members and their relatives unveiled some sad truths from behind the scenes, and Joan detailed how John had stated he was “fed up” before he passed away in 1983.

John’s heavy drinking had led to him developing cirrhosis of the liver.

At the age of 71, he died of a stomach haemorrhage brought on by his condition.

“He was a sick man,” Joan recalled in the documentary.

“But he realised he had brought it on himself, if you don’t mind me saying so,” she laughed.

“In fact, his last words were ‘I’m fed up of it now’, and he died that night.”

She explained: “They [John and co-star James Beck] used to come home from work every night and sit at the table and get absolutely p*****, and have a lovely evening.”

Sadly, the men’s excessive lifestyles caught up with them both.

Beck’s character, Private Walker, had to be written off the series when he was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

The storyline saw a touching moment addressing the character’s departure, which Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike, described as “poignant”.

“It’s sad and poignant,” he said. “It was a sort of ‘oh’ moment.”

Just three weeks after he was taken ill, James passed away at the age of just 44.

He had been the second-youngest member of the cast.

Actor Michael Knowles commented: “I knew him quite well actually.

“It was very, very sad when he went.

“He was far too young,” Knowles added. His death also put “the future of the series in doubt”.

“There were sad times along the way, the saddest obviously was the death of Jimmy,” Ian explained.

He continued: “And we didn’t think we’d get over it.

“We were very unsure about doing the next series without him.”

Fortunately, the show continued until 1977 and managed to keep its popularity going.

Dad’s Army: Secret Lives and Scandal is available to watch on My5.

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