Harold Snoad

Harold Edward Snoad (born 28 August 1935) is a British television producer, writer and director.[1] He is best known for the television sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, starring Patricia Routledge and Clive Swift. He is also well known for having directed and produced Ever Decreasing Circles starring Richard Briers and Don't Wait Up starring Tony Britton.

Harold Snoad
Harold Snoad.jpg
Snoad at an event in Norfolk, May 2011
Born
Harold Edward Snoad

(1935-08-28) 28 August 1935 (age 86)
United Kingdom
Other namesAlan Sherwood
OccupationTelevision director, producer and writer
Years active1957-1995
EmployerBBC
Notable work
Dad's Army (1968–1977), Keeping Up Appearances (1990–1995), Don't Wait Up (1983–1990), Ever Decreasing Circles (1984–1988)
Spouse(s)Jean Green
Children2

He has also had a successful writing career with his writing partner Michael Knowles, writing the radio spinoff of Dad's Army, It Sticks Out Half a Mile which evolved into the short-lived television series for ITV called High and Dry.

Directing and Producing CareerEdit

Harold Snoad joined the BBC in 1957 after working in the theatre, when Snoad first arrived at the BBC he participated in numerous roles, including as a ‘call boy’ for an episode of Hancock's Half Hour in 1960. Snoad soon climbed the rungs of the production ladder, becoming a producer and director in 1969. At the time he was one of the youngest directors work in television. His first directing role came with Dad's Army starring Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn. Snoad had already served as Production Assistant in series one and two and was responsible for choosing the town of Thetford in Norfolk as the site for the location filming. The first episode which was directed by Snoad was The Lion Has Phones which was first broadcast on the 25th of September 1969 and attracted 11.3 million viewers.[2] in 1973 Snoad directed the sitcom Casanova '73 starring Leslie Phillips, but the series was not a success due to criticism from the likes of Mary Whitehouse.[3] Snoad later went on to say of the series that he felt that if it had been aired five years later then it would probably have been better received. In 1974 he went on to work on series two of Are You Being Served?. Later that year Snoad began to work on The Dick Emery Show, the show was already in its twelfth series by then and he would continue to direct and produce the show until its end in 1981. In 1976, Snoad directed with Ray Cooney his first future film Not Now, Comrade which starred Leslie Phillips, Windsor Davies, Don Estelle and Ian Lavender.

In the 1980s he worked on all six series of Don't Wait Up, starring Tony Britton, Nigel Havers and Dinah Sheridan which ran from 1983 to 1990. In 2009 Snoad recalled a joke that the cast played on him while he was having dinner with Patricia Routledge, he said ‘Tony Britton - who, by his own admission, did not always arrive at rehearsals dead on time - stopped and knelt down in front of me and asked whether I would be kind enough to allow him another forty-eight hours to complete the five hundred lines I had given him for being late the previous morning! Tony moved on and was replaced by Nigel Havers and Dinah Sheridan who begged forgiveness for chatting during rehearsals. Simon Williams apologised for mucking up one of his lines that morning. One by one the whole cast generally ‘bowed and scraped’. As the last member moved on Patricia turned to me and said, ‘They obviously adore you![4]’ Snoad then went on to direct and produce the final two series of Ever Decreasing Circles after the show previous director, Sydney Lotterby was dismissed due to not giving enough direction to the leading actors. The series starred Richard Briers, Penelope Wilton and Peter Egan. The series was very popular attracting 12 million views, It is series four of Ever Decreasing Circles which Snoad uses as a case study for his 1988 book ‘Directing Situation Comedy’. While working on the show Peter Egan noted that Snoad had a very different technique to Lotterby saying that while Lotterby was an introvert Snoad was an extrovert. In 1988 Snoad directed and produced the television film Wife begins at 40, for this Snoad again worked with Ray Cooney, who he had worked with in Not Now, Comrade. In 1990 he began work on the series that he is perhaps most famous for, Keeping Up Appearances. The program ran for five series with 44 episodes, it was ranked 12th in the 2004 poll in Britain's Best Sitcom. By February 2016 the show had been sold almost 1,000 times to overseas broadcaster making it the BBC's most exported television program.

After 38 years of working with the BBC Snoad returned to the Theatre and in 2009 directed the stage play Say Who You Are. Later that year he published his second book It’s Bouquet - Not Bucket! In which he tells the behind the scenes story of the series. In the book he stats that "My intention in writing this book is ... to provide the millions of fans of Keeping Up Appearance with a 'companion' to the series".[4] On the fiftieth anniversary of the first airing of Dad's Army Snoad gave an interview for the BBC, in which they said "The director of many of the earliest episodes of Dad's Army, which is 50 years old, has said he doubts many of today's shows will last as long." He went on to say that "Nowadays comedies are not so much family-viewing."[5] He has given a number of talks on cruise liners, mainly on the Queen Elizabeth 2 on the subject of television comedy.[4]

In 2016 Snoad returned to directing television for the Animated short, Dads Army: A Strip for Frazer which was a recreation of the original episode A Stripe for Frazer from 1969, of which all recording have since been wiped. Only the audio tape and the radio episode have serviced from the original episode.

Writing careerEdit

Snoad started writing with Michael Knowles in 1972 after they were introduced by their mutual friend, Jimmy Perry. When it was decided that there would be a Dad’s Army Radio series Perry and Croft were too busy writing series six so it was suggested that Harold Snoad should adapt it with Michael Knowles. In total 67 episodes of Dad's Army we adapted for radio. In 2017 nine of there radio scripts were adapted for the stage into a performance called 'The Dads Army Radio hour' (later 'The Dads Army Radio Show') by David Benson and Jack Lane for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They toured the country with the show until March 2020 when it was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1981 Snoad and Knowles created the Dad's Army spinoff radio series It Sticks Out Half a Mile. In 1985 they again worked together to create the television adaptation of It Sticks Out Half a Mile with the pilot Walking The Plank, starring Bernard Cribbins, Richard Wilson and Angus Barnett. The BBC did not order anymore episodes despite its high audiences ratings but in 1987 Yorkshire Television ordered seven episodes under the name of High & Dry. Despite the series’ success it was short-lived, many criticised it for its lack of location filming which was due to a technicality with union rules. For the series, Snoad uses the pseudonym Alan Sherwood due to his contract to the BBC at the time.

AwardsEdit

Throughout Snoad's career, he has reserved a number of awards. In 1987 and in 1988 he was nominated for a BAFTA for his work on Ever Decreasing Circles. Then in 1989, for Don't Wait Up he reserved the Television and Radio Industries Club award for 'Sitcom of the Year'. For his work on Keeping Up Appearances, he reserved two further BAFTA nominations and the prestigious Dutch award, the Silver Tulip.

Credits: Directing/ProducingEdit

Credits: Writing (All with Michael Knowles)Edit

  • 1974–1976: Dads Army - Radio adaptation (all 66 episodes)
  • 1983-1984: It Sticks Out Half a Mile - Radio spin-off of Dads Army
  • 1985: Walking the Plank - Pilot episode, developed into High & Dry
  • 1987: High & Dry - written under the pseudonym Alan Sherwood

Guest appearancesEdit

  • 1987: Did You See...?
  • 2004–2008: Comedy Connections
  • 2007: The World’s Greatest Comedy Characters
  • 2008: The Comedy Map of Britain
  • 2008–2011: The Dad’s Army Podcast
  • 2010: The Story of ‘Are You Being Served?’
  • 2011: Behind the Britcoms: From Script to Screen
  • 2012: The Unforgettable Dick Emery
  • 2014: The Many Faces of...
  • 2018: Saluting Dad’s Army

Additional appearancesEdit

Snoad has been interviewed for several television documentary, in 1987 he appeared in Did You See...? in which he spoke about Ever Decreasing Circles. Then in 2007 he was interviewed for The World's Greatest Comedy Character and then again in 2008 for Comedy Map of Britain. Snoad appeared in four episodes of Comedy Connections in which he spoke about Dad's Army, Don't Wait Up, Ever Decreasing Circles and Keeping Up Appearances. In 2010 Snoad appeared in The Story of 'Are You Being Served'. When the BBC moved from Television Centre, London Snoad was interviewed for the documentary Tales of Television Centre. On the fiftieth anniversary of Dad's Army, Snoad appeared in four episodes of the UK TV Gold series Salting Dads Army.[6] In 2021 it was announced that Snoad had contributed to a new upcoming book about British sitcoms in the 1970s entitled Raising Laughter: How the Sitcom Kept Britain Smiling in the '70s.[7]

Views on studio audienceEdit

Snoad has always been a great supporter of the studio audience, saying that "when you watch comedy in a theatre or a cinema you are with other people and laughter is infectious. However, at home there could well just be a couple of you watching or you may even be alone and the genuine reaction of a studio audience (not a laughter track!) can really enhance the viewers' enjoyment."[4]

Personal lifeEdit

On 6 July 1963, Snoad married Jean Green; they have two children. He is a member of the Dad's Army Appreciation Society and in 2013, after the death of Bill Pertwee, he became the society's vice president, with Frank Williams as the President. Snoad frequently attends events with the society as a special guest and speaker.

BibliographyEdit

  • Snoad, Harold (1988). Directing Situation Comedy. England: BBC Television Training. ISBN 978-0948694257.
  • Snoad, Harold (2009). It's Bouquet – not Bucket. Brighton, England: Book Guild. ISBN 9781846243516.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sanderson, Heather (15 June 2015). "Director/Producer Harold Snoad". Maryland Public Television. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  2. ^ Carpenter, Paul (2018). Dad's Army a companion. DAAS. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-9547702-3-5.
  3. ^ Philips, Leslie. Hello: The Autobiography. Orion Publishing Group.
  4. ^ a b c d Snoad, Harold (2009). It's Bouquet - Not Buket. Bookguild.
  5. ^ "Dads Army's 50 years of popularity". BBC Norfolk. 31 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Harold Snoad". IMBD.
  7. ^ Guide, British Comedy (2021-06-17). "New book to shine a light on creation of 1970s sitcoms". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2021-06-25.

External linksEdit