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This collection offers an overview of British TV comedies, ranging from the beginnings of sitcoms in the 1950s to the current boom of 'Britcoms'. It provides in-depth analyses of major comedies, systematically addressing their generic properties, filmic history, humour politics and cultural impact.
A facsimile of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard Training Manual recently discovered in the attic of a house in the town. Found in a trunk amongst a pile of HOTSPUR comics, it belonged to Private Pike and features his handwritten marginal notes on the text plus his personal jottings on matters of rather less importance than the defence of the realm, such as films he has seen, girls he has dated and the progress of Aston Villa FC. The book bears the official crest and stamp of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, to which the platoon belongs. Although aged and covered with stains, boot prints, tears and scorch marks, it is in a reasonable condition for facsimile printing. The manual is Capt Mainwaring's attempt to ready the platoon to face (and recognize) the enemy in the coming invasion of Britain.
During World War I, the British adopted the US-designed Lewis gun as an infantry weapon, realizing that its light weight and the fact that it could be fired both prone and on the move made it ideal for supporting advances and defending captured trenches. Later adopted by an array of countries from the Netherlands to Japan, the Lewis successfully served as the primary or secondary armament in armoured fighting vehicles and in both ground-based anti-aircraft and aircraft-mounted roles. Although it was superseded by the Bren in British service in 1937, the outbreak of World War II meant that thousands returned to active service, and it played a key role as far afield as Libya, with the Long-Range Desert Group, and the Philippines, with the US Marine Corps. Written by an authority on this iconic light machine gun, this is the fascinating story of the innovative and influential Lewis gun, from the trenches of World War I to the Libyan desert and Pacific islands of World War II and beyond.

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