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Yet another vintage BBC sitcom from before the days of political correctness. It Ain't Half Hot, Mum was written by the creators of Dads Army and featured many of the same tropes and stock characters. The show, which broadcast between 1974 and 1981, was about the adventures of a Royal Artillery Concert Party stationed in India (later Burma) during World War II.

Main characters were:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Charles Reynolds - stereotypical, stiff-upper-lip British army officer
  • Captain Jonathan Ashwood - Reynolds' none too bright second in command
  • Sergeant Major "Shut Up" Williams - hard as nails, the only true soldier among the main cast
  • Bombardier "Solly" Solomons - Jewish bombardier (equivalent to a corporal)
  • Gunner/Bombardier "Gloria" Beaumont - very effeminate, played the female lead in every show
  • Gunner "Lofty" Sugden - short and fat, used to comic effect
  • Gunner "Parky" Parkins - believed by Sergeant Major to be his son
  • Gunner "Paderewski" Graham - upper class, university educated
  • Gunner "Atlas" Mackintosh - tough Scotsman
  • Gunner "Nobby" Clark - performed a whistling act, later a George Formby act
  • Gunner "Nosher" Evans - always eating
  • Rangi Ram - Indian "bearer", confidante to all
  • Mohammed - Indian "char wallah", sells tea from a kettle. Later appointed to bearer in Rangi's stead
  • Rumzan - Indian "punkah wallah"
  • Ah Syn - Chinese cook, replaced Rumzan for the final series

Common plot devices included conflict with the Indian locals, Sergeant Major's belief that Gunner Parkin might be his son, and his attempts to have the Concert Party "posted up the jungle". Eventually he was successful, and from the fifth series onwards the action relocated to Burma. The Concert Party would usually perform a musical number Once an Episode.

Tropes included:

  • Armed Farces
  • Beware the Nice Ones - in the episode "Monsoon Madness", Sugden is driven insane by the heat and attempts to kill Sergeant Major
  • Big "Shut Up!": Williams is pretty much the king of this trope.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Urdu spoken by the Indian characters is real.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Rangi dismisses the other Indians as 'ignorant natives' and uses phrases like 'we British' when talking to the crew. Michael Bates based this aspect of the character on similar encounters he'd had with social-climbing Indians in British India.
  • British Accents
  • British Stuffiness - the British army officers
  • Catch Phrase - "SHUT UP!", "Lovely Boy", "Oh dear. How sad. Never mind", "Mr La-di-da Gunner Graham", "That's rather a tricky one, sir", "Carry on, chaps!", "You know, there is an old Hindu proverb which say ...", "Don't be such clever dickie!", "I can't stand it!"
  • Deadpan Snarker - Sergeant Major
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty
  • During the War
  • Even the Guys Want Him - slight twist on this one with Beaumont, who in several episodes is mistaken for a real woman by sex-starved soldiers
  • Frozen in Time - for much of the show, until the last season when the war ended and the men were demobbed
  • Fun with Foreign Languages
  • Funny Foreigner
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rangi deriding the Indian locals as "coolies" and "natives"
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine - Windsor Davies (Sergeant Major) and Melvyn Hayes (Beaumont) reunited for the film Carry On England in 1976, playing characters almost identical to their roles on It Ain't Half Hot Mum
    • Hayes also played a very similar character in The Dreamstone, with an expy sergeant character similar to Williams but not voiced by Davies.
  • It Will Never Catch On - Reynolds and Ashwood's plans for after the war involve television and laundromats. Neither thinks the other has much chance of success.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Sergeant Major
  • Me Love You Long Time - On a couple of occasions. Sergeant Major once wanted to marry his Chinese girlfriend (and ended the relationship when the local Chinese mafia came after him) and there's an episode where two of the men fall for Mrs Waddilove-Evans's Burmese maid.
  • Modern Minstrelsy - Rangi was played by a white (though Indian-born) actor in "blackface"
  • Officer and a Gentleman - Reynolds
  • Running Gag
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors - in one episode where four of the men go to visit the same girlfriend
  • Screams Like a Little Girl - Beaumont, at ear-shattering pitch
  • The Short Guy with Glasses - Sugden ("Is it a mushroom? No. Is it a soldier? No. It's Gunner Sugden!")
  • Shout-Out
  • Sitcom
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted when the actor playing Solomons left and Michael Bates (Rangi) died. No one was brought in to replace them but Gloria and Mohammed were promoted to Bombardier and Bearer respectively. When the actor playing Rumzan left in the final series, he got a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the form of the cook Ah Syn.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: In one episode of the show Gloria is desperate to get right a number that involves him playing a beautiful girl on a garden swing. He gets hurt when Sergeant Major pushes him off the swing, and Sergeant Major is forced to take his place!
  • Theme Tune
  • The Unintelligible - Rumzan
  • Upperclass Twit - Captain Ashwood
  • Violent Glaswegian - Mackintosh, who had an extreme temper and performed a "strong man" act in the Concert Party's shows
  • Vitriolic Best Buds - Mohammed and Rangi appear to be a Type 1 example, with Mohammed blissfully oblivious when Rangi calls him a "coolie", "ruddy fool" and "damn native"
  • We Need a Distraction - The Concert Party would sometimes be called upon to perform a show in order to distract bandits, facilitate an escape, or some other mission (such as trying to foil an assassination.) Became Show Some Leg if Beaumont's drag act was used instead
  • Write Who You Know: The character of Rangi was based on similar Boomerang Bigot Indians Michael Bates had encountered while growing up in British India.
  • Zany Scheme