Actor and star of Dad's Army;

Born: July 21, 1926; Died: May 27, 2013.

Bill Pertwee, who has died aged 86, was a comedy actor famous for his role as the cantankerous air raid warden Hodges in the television sit-com Dad's Army. Hodges had two missions in life: to prick the pomposity of Captain Mainwaring and to make sure no-one flouted the blackout. His catchphrase, heard in many of the comedy's 80 episodes between 1968 and 1977, was: "Put that light out!"

He was born the youngest of three brothers in Amersham in Buckinghamshire and came from a large theatrical family that included the playwright Michael Pertwee, the screenwriter Roland Pertwee and the Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee.

His father was a peripatetic salesman which meant the young Bill went to school in a number of towns across England. At one of his schools in Sussex, an eccentric French teacher spotted the boy's talent and encouraged him to perform, although his first appearance on stage was not propitious: he walked on and forgot his lines.

After leaving school, his first job was making parts for Spitfire cannons; he then worked for around five years as a window cleaner. By this time his cousin Jon had become a big radio star in shows such as Waterlogged Spa and it was while he was at one of Jon's showbusiness parties he got a break.

Beryl Reid was at the party and was looking for material for a new revue she was planning. With the Dutch courage from a glass of beer, he volunteered his services and was taken on at the rate of £3 a week.

The revue was a success and, in the improvisational way of showbusiness in those post-war days, he was also offered an acting part. It was the start of a career in entertainment. He gave up window cleaning and went on tour with Jon. And there was a pay rise too: he was now on £5 a week.

After the tour, he was determined to work as a comedy performer and touted for work at the Express Dairy cafe on Charing Cross Road where agents were known to hang abut. Eventually, he was offered variety in Great Yarmouth, this time for £9 a week, which led to more variety and cabaret.

His specialism at the time was impressions of the likes of Noel Coward and skits and sketches he wrote himself. After working in summer seasons, he found work in radio with some of the most well-known comedians of the time including Charlie Chester, Max Miller and Cyril Fletcher. He then joined the cast of the biggest radio comedies of the 1960s, Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne.

He was then abruptly dropped from the cast and was scouting around for work when he got a call from the comedy writer David Croft about a pilot he was planning about the Home Guard called The Fighting Tigers.

There was a small part of an air raid warden called William Hodges and the non-actor who had drifted into entertainment, was exactly what he was looking for.

He wanted someone real, someone who could shout and push people around like he meant it.

The Fighting Tigers was renamed Dad's Army and went on to run for 10 years.

Although not a member of the core cast, led by Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier, he became central to the story and the success of the show. He appeared in the radio spin-off It Sticks Out Half a Mile, became president of the Dad's Army Appreciation Society and in 1989 wrote a book called Dad's Army: The Making of a Television Legend, which some credit with reviving interest in the series and contributing to its cult status.

It was not his only book. He also wrote an autobiography, A Funny Way to Make a Living; a book about seaside entertainment, Promenades and Pierrots; and The Station Now Standing, inspired by his love of trains.

His acting career away from Dad's Army was mixed. He appeared in several Ray Cooney farces and toured with Arthur Lowe and Mollie Sugden. He also appeared in a couple of the Carry On films: Carry On Loving and Carry On Girls.

However, his most significant role after Dad's Army was also thanks to David Croft who cast him in his last sit-com You Rang M'Lord as PC Wilson.

He was pre-deceased by his wife Marion and is survived by his son, Jonathan.