Dad’s Army film will bring new cohort of fans to Thetford
- Credit: PA
Dad's Army may have been set in Walmington-on-Sea, but it is Thetford – where much of it was filmed – which has long considered itself the series' spiritual home.
So when the decision was made to shoot the new film in Bridlington, Yorkshire, there was much disappointment in the Brecks town. But despite this, local links with the production have remained. And, ahead of tonight's première of the production at the Odeon Leicester Square, there is a great sense of excitement in Thetford.
It was a small group of Dad's Army enthusiasts from the town who helped get the project off the ground, by making financial contributions to help kickstart the scheme.
Around half a dozen other residents from the town, meanwhile, stepped in to play extras in the film, alongside its all-star cast of, among others, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Gambon, Toby Jones and Tom Courtenay. Among them was Neville Lockwood, who also featured as an extra in the original series.
And when a classic prop was needed, it was to Thetford's Dad's Army Museum that the producers came calling. They borrowed Corporal Jones' butchers' van.
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Stuart Wright, chairman of the Dad's Army Museum, said: 'It is good to have links with the town. It was disappointing initially that it was not going to be filmed around here. We have had the opportunity to have the van in the film. I have seen it featured on a number of occasions.'
'The producers and directors came down to visit us about six months before filming started. When we met them it was obvious that they wanted to keep as much as they could of the ethos, but obviously they have updated it and brought new features in, such as more female characters.
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'There was some trepidation at the start – we have seen remakes that have not been to the level of the previous production – but they could not have done better with the actors they have got for the film.'
Thetford town councillor and Dad's Army enthusiast Corinne Fulford has already seen the film and believes it will win over even die-hard fans and further bolster interest in Thetford.
'I think it will find a whole new audience and I think a lot of die-hard fans will be pleasantly surprised.'
The film will hit cinemas nationwide on Friday, February 5.
Have you been involved in the production? Email firstname.lastname@example.org