Sunday, 16 December 2018

Dad’s Army reboot... you must be kidding

THE adventures of Captain Mainwaring and his hapless band of Home Guard soldiers proved to be one of

THE adventures of Captain Mainwaring and his hapless band of Home Guard soldiers proved to be one of the best loved British sitcoms of all time.

Dad’s Army, which ran on the BBC from 1968 to 1977, featured a host of characters that became household names — Arthur Lowe as Mainwaring, John Le Mesurier as Sgt Wilson and Clive Dunn as Lance-Cpl Jones.

It would appear then that director Oliver Parker has his work cut out to reproduce such a long-running and iconic show for a big screen remake in a mere 100 minutes.

A stellar British cast including Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon, will certainly help.

But ask yourself this. How would you feel about a big screen outing in 2016 for Fawlty Towers or Only Fools and Horses? These are two of Britain’s best that fitted perfectly into the era in which they were made. For purists any remake will simply be unforgivable.

The story takes place in 1944 and the Second World War is reaching its climax. The Allies are poised to invade France and finally defeat the German army.

But in Walmington-on-Sea morale among the Home Guard is low. Their new mission then — to patrol the Dover army base — is a great chance to revive spirits and reputation, that is until glamorous journalist Rose Winters arrives to write about their exploits, setting the pulses racing and putting the local women on red alert.

MI5 discover a radio signal sent direct to Berlin from Walmington-on-Sea. With a spy on the loose the outcome of the war is suddenly at stake, and it falls to our unlikely heroes to stand up and be counted.

Fans will find reassurance in the fact that Parker has plenty of experience at the helm of popular British comedies with his work on St Trinian’s, St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, and Johnny English Reborn.

Let’s also not forget a feature film has been made before, in 1971, but this had the original cast and the luxury of the hugely talented writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft in charge of the screenplay.

For some fans the idea of a new Dad’s Army outing, with an entirely new cast, will simply not wash. However, the film may have the ability to attract a new, younger audience who will then discover for themselves the joy of the original series.

Dad’s Army will be showing at Henley’s Regal cinema from today (Friday).

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