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Godfrey's Ghost

A biographical memoir of my father, playwright & actor, Arnold Ridley.



Godfrey's Ghost is the story of a father written by his son for his own son.

As a young man, Arnold Ridley was chiefly known as the author of the long-running comedy thriller, The Ghost Train. Today he is more likely to be remembered for his television performances as Private Charles Godfrey, the oldest and frailest member of the Dad's Army platoon. But Dad's Army came towards the close of a long career and a long life, and although Arnold Ridley was Private Godfrey, Private Godfrey was not Arnold Ridley.

Anecdotal, engaging and truthful, Godfrey's Ghost is an affectionate - and often moving - portrait of a remarkable man who, faced with more than his fair share of life's vicissitudes, through love, courage and the kind of well-grounded wisdom and philosophy that doesn't recognise itself as such, lived his life valiantly and well.


Order from your local bookshop (£9.99) ISBN: 9781906132989

 Also available from Amazon


“This is one of the most tender portraits of a parent I have ever read. An extraordinarily poignant and emotionally honest account. There were some bits that made me cry, others that made me laugh out loud."
- PAUL DONOVAN, Author and radio columnist, The Sunday Times

"This is the ultimate act of filial piety - a book about a father by a son, created for a third generation so that the future can treasure the past. It is affecting, corrective, unflinching, full of love and tenderness but honest and even, at times, beady-eyed. There is nothing skin-deep about this study: it is all the better for its sometimes uncomfortable honesty."
- TIM HEALD, The Tablet, 19 September 2009

“A fitting tribute to Arnold Ridley OBE, soldier, playwright, actor, inspiration for dear old Private Godfrey.”
- JIMMY PERRY, Creator and writer of Dad’s Army

“A labour of love in every sense. A very moving testament to a fascinating man.”
- NICK POLLARD, Former Head of Sky News