Dad's Army was a much-loved BBC sitcom - written by Jimmy
Perry and David Croft - which ran from 1968 to 1977. It
featured the exploits of the Walmington-on-Sea Home
Guard led by the pompous Captain Mainwaring (pronounced
supported by the debonair and indecisive Sergeant
Set during WW2 the series boasted a great ensemble cast
and produced some of the most memorable comedy
catchphrases of all time including Corporal Jones'
'Don't Panic!' and 'They don't like it up 'em!
Each week the platoon would attempt to protect
England from German invasion - which embroiled them in some
Statue of Captain Mainwaring in Thetford © Cameron
idea for the series came from Perry's own experiences in
the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) or Home Guard as it
was later called. Perry was only 15 when he joined the
Hertfordshire Battalion and Private Pike and Mavis Pike
are clearly based on himself and his mother. While
serving in the platoon he also came across a veteran of
Kitchener's campaigns who used to talk about the 'Fuzzy
Wuzzies' - which provided the inspiration for Corporal
The series derived much humour from the fact that all
the leading characters had 'day jobs' in Walmington-on-Sea.
Mainwaring, Wilson and Pike all worked in Swallow's
Bank, while Jones was the butcher, Hodges the
greengrocer, Fraser the undertaker and Walker the local
spiv and black marketer.
Although the idea was Perry's - both he and David Croft used
to write the scripts. They would meet to discuss
various possibilities for the plot and then go away and
write each episode separately. Perry and Croft both
had a theatrical background and had a shared love of
farce - so their ideas usually gelled together perfectly.
The series was originally going to be called 'The
Fighting Tigers' - but was later changed to Dad's
Army. Many modern sitcom writers
including Ben Elton, John Sullivan, Richard Curtis and David Renwick have paid homage to the
quality of the Dad's Army scripts.
The show ran for twelve series and regularly reached
audiences in excess of 13 million. To view a complete
list of all the Dad's Army episodes click
|Cast and Characters
Captain George Mainwaring Arthur Lowe
Sergeant Arthur Wilson
John Le Mesurier
Lance Corporal Jack Jones Clive
Private Joe Walker
Private Charles Godfrey
Private James Fraser
Private Frank Pike
Chief Warden Hodges
Reverend Timothy Farthing
Verger Maurice Yateman
|Norfolk (and Suffolk) Film Locations
of the external footage for the series was filmed in and
around the town of Thetford
in Norfolk. Each summer
the cast and crew would come up to the town and stay in
either the Bell or the Anchor Hotels in Bridge Street.
The actors usually stayed at the more 'up-market' Bell
while the crew lodged at The Anchor. (The Anchor Hotel
is now boarded up and derelict but may be
The Derelict Anchor
Hotel in Thetford
Thetford Guildhall became Walmington-on-Sea Town Hall
- and it was from the
Guildhall clock tower that the German pilot dangled in 'Time On My
Hands' (1972). The Guildhall was also used in 'The
Captain's Car' (1974).
The flint cottages of Nether Row were used in four
episodes: 'Man Hunt' (1969), 'The Armoured Might of Corporal
Jones' (1969), 'The Big Parade' (1970) and 'Time On My Hands'
Nether Row, Thetford
Thetford's Palace Cinema featured
in both 'The Big Parade' (1970) and 'A Soldier's
Farewell' (1972). The Palace was also the place were the cast
gathered at the end of each week's filming to view the
'rushes'. Newtown, Old Bury Road and Mill Lane, in the
town, also make an appearance.
The Palace Cinema,
The Bell Hotel was
used for the first scene of the first show called 'Man
of the Hour' (1968). It made use of the 'Norvic Room'
which is now the hotel's restaurant.
The Bell Hotel,
Stanford Battle Area
The Stanford Battle Area (STANTA) lies a few miles
north of Thetford and was created during WW2 as a
training area for British and NATO forces. Five villages
were evacuated to create the area - namely: Stanford,
Lynford, Tottington, West Tofts and Buckenham Tofts. The
area provides many of the iconic locations for Dad's
Army including the marvellous end-credit sequence
where the platoon move across open ground wearing
camouflage. It was BBC director Harold Snoad who was ultimately
responsible for choosing Thetford saying: 'I wanted a
battle area we could have control over and had narrowed
it down to Stanford, which I knew was going to work very
Below is a list of the episodes featuring the Battle
||'No Spring for Frazer'
||'Battle of the Giants'
||'Battle of the Giants'
(1971) and 'Come in Your Time Is Up (1975)
(1974), 'Wake-Up Walmington' (1977) and
'Number Engaged' (1977)
||'The Day the Balloon Went
Up' (1969) and 'Gorilla Warfare' (1974)
||Opening and closing
sequences from series 3 onwards.
||'Command Decision' (1968),
Boots Boots Boots' (1970) and 'the Test'
||'The Lion Has 'Phones'
(1969) and 'Don't Forget the Diver' (1970
||'Battle of the Giants'
external scenes were shot in Norfolk or Suffolk. 'Sons
of the Sea' (1969) was shot on the Norfolk Broads and
'Don't Forget the Diver' (1970) at Drinkstone windmill
in Suffolk. Other locations used include: Honington, Bardwell, Bressingham, Wacton,
Brandon, Santon Downham, Oxburgh Hall ('Museum Piece'
1968), Weeting, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Lynford Hall (Mundford).
Weybourne Railway Station in
North Norfolk was the location for 'The Royal Train'
Many of the extras for the series were drawn from the
Thetford Music and Drama Society or the Thetford Senior
The Steam Museum at
nearby Bressingham provided authentic fire engines,
steam rollers and traction engines for a number of the
episodes. Today, Bressingham hosts an impressive recreation of Walmington-on-Sea
- as well as a collection of Dad's Army
A Dad's Army museum has recently
been set up inside Thetford Guildhall by the Friends of
Thetford Dad's Army. It is quite hard to find as it lies
on Cage Lane behind the Guildhall.
The Dad's Army Museum, Thetford
On Sunday 20th June, 2010 a
statue of Captain Mainwaring was unveiled by David
Croft - on ground close to the
River Little Ouse.
It was made by the sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn and
features Mainwaring wearing his Home Guard uniform,
seated on bench with his baton across his knees.
Local councillors have also approved plans for the
redevelopment of the Anchor Hotel and it is hoped that,
in future, this will provide accommodation for
Dad's Army fans wanting to visit Thetford.
Dad's Army - the movie
However, when Columbia
Pictures came to make the Dad's Army
movie(released in 1971) - they abandoned the normal
Norfolk locations and headed further south. Chalfont St
Peter in Buckinghamshire was transformed into Walmington-on-Sea
- while other scenes were shot at Seaford in Sussex and
at Shepperton Studios. The famous scene with the white
horse on the raft heading down river was filmed at
Chobham in Surrey.
Famous Catchphrases from the Series:
stupid boy, Pike.' and 'Right then, pay attention.'
Godfrey: 'May I be excused?'
Frazer: 'We're doomed!'
Jones: 'Don't Panic, Mr Mainwaring!', 'They don't like
it up 'em!' and 'Permission to speak, sir'.
Hodges: 'Put that light out!' and 'I'm going to get
Wilson: 'Is that
Pike: 'What would mum say, Uncle Arthur?'
The Dad's Army theme tune was
written by Jimmy Perry and Derek Taverner and was
performed by Bud Flannagan. Here are the lyrics:
Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler
If you think we're on the run?
We are the boys who will stop your little game.
We are the boys who will make you think again.
'Cos who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?
If you think old England's done?
Mr. Brown goes off to town
On the 8:21,
But he comes home each evening
And he's ready with his gun.
So watch out Mr. Hitler
You have met your match in us.
If you think you can push us
We're afraid you've missed the bus.
So who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler?
If you think old England's done.
The Missing Episodes
In an attempt to save space
in its library, the BBC (criminally) wiped three
original video tape recordings from
series two - namely: 'The
Loneliness of the Long-Distance Walker', 'A Stripe for
Frazer' and 'Under Fire'. If you possess any recordings
of these episodes - then the world would love to hear
More Dad's Army Location Photographs
Army Appreciation Society
Thetford Trail Leaflet - click here to
download the .pdf
leaflet (requires Adobe Reader)