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Maurice Yeatman

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Maurice Yeatman
The Verger

First Apperance

The Showing Up of Corporal Jones

Last appearance

Never Too Old

Portrayed By

Edward Sinclair

Occupation

Verger

Affiliated With

The Vicar

Maurice Yeatman, (pronounced Yate-man) was the verger of St. Aldhelm's Church of Walmington-on-Sea.


PersonalityEdit

One of twins (The Day the Balloon Went Up), Maurice Yeatman wore spectacles and a flat cap; his face bore an earnest, sometimes outraged, expression and he was usually of a dour, officious personality. He was also leader of Walmington's sea scouts and, as such, was seen boating, camping, marching and parading in his semi-nautical uniform.

Mrs YeatmanEdit

Maurice's forbidding wife Beryl Yeatman appeared from time to time, mostly in situations when she was able to express impatience: for example, as a member of an over-large committee planning a social function or in a queue in the butcher's shop of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones. She led the Walmington-on-Sea ladies Netball team. It emerged, after Mrs. Yeatman had caught her husband taking an afternoon's ride on a motor-cycle with the flirtatious Mrs. Fox, that, somewhat improbably, she herself was involved in an extramarital relationship with the elderly Sidney Blewett.

The Vicar and the VergerEdit

Mr Yeatman and the rather camp vicar of St Aldhelm's, the Rev Timothy Farthing (Frank Williams), performed something of a double act. Mr Yeatman was forever fawning and fussing over the vicar, whom he addressed invariably as "Your Reverence", while Rev. Farthing frequently expressed annoyance when distracted from writing his sermons. In an exchange about courage, a quality which the vicar professed to lack, Mr Yeatman attempted to reassure him with the well-intended, but tactlessly ambiguous, comment, "There‘s all sorts of courage, sir – I don’t know how you have the nerve to get up and give those sermons every Sunday".

On occasions, Mr Yeatman's conduct gave the vicar cause for concern. For example, Farthing suggested that if there were any impropriety in his apparent liaison with Mrs Fox, his position as verger might be called into question. On another occasion, following an allegation by Lance Corporal Jones, he asked why Mr Yeatman found it necessary to count the collection from the Sunday morning service in the bar of the Red Lion public house.

Off-screen Edward Sinclair and Frank Williams became good friends.

Verger and Home GuardEdit

Mr Yeatman's relations with Walmington's Home Guard platoon, led by Captain Mainwaring were strained, almost hostile. He resented their use of the church hall for parades and in particular the inevitable damage caused by various militaristic activities ("the vicar must be informed"; "His Reverence is not going to like this"). Mr Yeatman referred to the platoon as "vandals". Responding in kind, Lance-Corporal Jones often described him as a "troublemaker".

From The Bullet is Not for Firing:
Mainwaring: No, no not 'shoot'; FIRE!
(BANG!)
(Pieces of debris rain down from the roof as the Vicar and Mr Yeatman come rushing in)
Mr Yeatman: VANDALS!

Mr Yeatman frequently clashes with Lance-Corporal Jones and they are both always trying to cause problems for each other or targetting each other in some way. Jones appears to have been either a basic rival of the Verger or some other rivalry between them.

On one occasion, when the platoon, under cover of darkness, were seeking to retrieve a spring for a Lewis gun from a freshly interred coffin, Mr Yeatman suffered the spooky indignity of having earth that he had just shovelled onto the grave thrown back in his face. This incident led to his making dark accusations about grave-robbing.

Anti-Mainwaring activitiesEdit

As a consequence of such bad feeling, Mr Yeatman formed alliances with those, such as Chief ARP Warden William Hodges and Captain Square of the neighbouring Eastgate platoon, with whom Mainwaring was often at loggerheads. These led, for example, to his spying for the Eastgate platoon during competitive manoeuvres of which he and the vicar were supposed to be judges and acting as a biased umpire during a cricket match between Mainwaring's platoon and the wardens (in an episode in which Yorkshire and England fast bowler Fred Trueman made a guest appearance in the wardens' team under the name of E. C. Egan).

Private VergerEdit

When Sergeant Arthur Wilson acquired the courtesy title of "Honourable", Mr Yeatman showed his servility by bowing and addressing him as "My Lord". Then, when Wilson was in charge of the Walmington platoon while Mainwaring was in hospital, the verger and the vicar (whose medals from the First World War Mr Yeatman was in the habit of polishing) were permitted to join the ranks. Jones addressed them as "Private Vicar and Private Verger". However, their presence was not welcome to the rest of the platoon and so their Home Guard career was brief (The Recruit).

End of an eraEdit

Edward Sinclair died on 29th August 1977, five weeks before the final series of Dad's Army was broadcast. It was a reflection of the extent to which his initially minor character had become part of the programme's fabric that his death finally laid to rest any thought that its run might yet be extended. As Ian Lavender, who played Pike, recalled, "that really did mark the end of it".

NotesEdit

  • In War Dance, the verger's name is Henry
  • Also in War Dance, his wife Beryl Yeatman is referred to as Anthea, and, in Knights of Madness, her name is Tracy
  • In the first two series (1968-9) of Dad's Army, Edward Sinclair appeared as the caretaker of the church hall, but, by the third series (1969), his role as the verger was established.

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