Atten-shun! Invasion on the cards as Dad’s Army Museum opens for the season
- Credit: Steve Adams
It may not have had quite the glitz and glamour of the recent West End première of the new Dad's Army film.
But this year's grand opening of the show's spiritual home – Thetford's Dad's Army Museum –certainly had an extra buzz. Museum staff are expecting the excitement surrounding the release of the film, starring Toby Jones, Bill Nighy and Catherine Zeta-Jones, will help bring more people to the attraction.
Stuart Wright, the chairman, said: 'We have noticed more people have been made aware of the museum because of the film. People's interest has been ignited. We've had some people come in who hadn't watched the show but had seen the film.'
Visitors over the weekend were greeted by Captain Mainwaring, Pike and rest of the museum's resident platoon, while Lance Corporal Jones' van had pride of place on its return to Norfolk after spending time being repaired at the Ford factory in Dagenham.
Mr Wright said the film could have a wider impact than just on the museum.
'Thetford has such a rich heritage but it's getting people off the A11 that is the challenge,' he said. 'Once people get into the town and learn its story then they want to come back. Dad's Army has helped people get off the A11 and visit.'
The museum will be opening a temporary exhibition within the next few weeks in the old Cosy Carpets building, which will include props from the film. It has secured signs that were used above shops in Bridlington, Yorkshire – where the majority of the film was filmed – as well as inflatable tanks and costume pieces, including a tree costume worn by Pike – played by Blake Harrison – and a grass skirt worn by Private Godfrey (Michael Gambon).
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Mick Whitman, who has volunteered at the museum for seven years and can be seen parading as Captain Mainwaring, was an extra in the film.
He said: 'I had to lose rank and become a private to be an extra. It was an excellent experience.'
The museum will be open from 10am to 3pm every Saturday until November 29. It will also be open on Tuesdays during school holidays and in July, August and September. Entry is free.