The man behind some of Britain's best loved television comedies, David Croft, has died at the age of 89.
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His agent said he passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Portugal.
Known as the 'grandfather of British comedy', David Croft spent decades in the entertainment business. His career began in theatre, but really took off when he began working in the newly created independent television sector in the 1950s, before joining the BBC.
There, he helped to produce and direct some of the corporation's most successful sitcoms, including the Benny Hill Show, Steptoe and Son, and Beggar My Neighbour.
Dad's Army is always on, somewhere in the world. Melvyn Hayes, actor
But it was his writing partnership with Jimmy Perry that created some true classics: the pair came up with the military sitcoms Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and the holiday camp caper, Hi-De-Hi. He also worked with Jeremy Lloyd on a host of other shows, like Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo, which was set in Nazi occupied France.
Croft was born into a showbiz family: both his parents were actors, and he even enjoyed a brief film career, with a small role in Goodbye Mr Chips, before the Second World War intervened.
It was the war years that provided him with much of his material: especially his years in North Africa, Singapore and India, where he rose to the rank of major.
This, along with Perry's time in the Home Guard as a teenager, turned into the idea for Dad's Army - one of the most successful television comedy series of all time, running for 80 episodes over nine years. Characters such as Captain Mainwaring and Private Pike have entered the lexicon of British comedy - along with its catchphrase "Don't Panic!". Episodes are still being shown today.
He would have been proud that you have all been watching. Family statement
Tributes to a 'genius'
Croft was presented with the OBE in 1978, and a lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards in 2003.
His family called him a "truly great man, who will be missed by all who had the great fortune of knowing and loving him. We know that he would have been proud that you had all been watching".
And the actor Melvyn Hayes, who starred in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, described Croft as a "genius" and a joy to work with.
"He based his writing on truth. He had a great innings and was very successful at everything he touched. Dad's Army is always on, somewhere in the world," he said.