Indeed, nothing irritated co-star Arthur Lowe more than turning up to have his make-up done only to discover Le Mez, as he was affectionately known by friends and colleagues, already ensconced in the hot seat with three women running round after him, pandering to his every whim.One would be giving him a manicure while another attended to his famous mane (Le Mesurier was a connoisseur of shampoos and conditioners and always cared about the quality of his coiffure).At 25, Hattie Jacques was a sensual, flirtatious young woman with a considerable sexual appetite who delighted in wearing revealing outfits and behaving outrageously.
After a long day’s filming, he would call up his friends and, in that wonderfully soft, snug and languorous tone of his, enquire conspiratorially: “Play time . He relished fine wine, good food and great company.
A third, meanwhile, would be dispatched to fetch him a sandwich, while Lowe (who played the irascible Captain Mainwaring) waited impatiently for his turn.
‘I once actually saw him charm a make-up girl into taking the watch off his wrist, winding it up and then putting it back on again,’ recalls Ian Lavender, who played the naïve Private Pike.
The cast always stayed at the The Bell Hotel in the heart of the market town and it was there, in the bar, that Le Mesurier would hold court every night, sipping spirits and telling stories.
Yet never once did he appear to be the worse for wear the following day — unlike some of the actors who kept him company.