Dad's Army to celebrate 40th birthday

ONE of the country's best-loved sitcoms is to be commemorated in a glitzy televised 40th birthday celebration bash.Suffolk-based stars from Dad's Army last night spoke of their delight at the special programme which will see surviving cast and crew from the timeless classic reunited.

Dave Gooderham

ONE of the country's best-loved sitcoms is to be commemorated in a glitzy televised 40th birthday celebration bash.

Suffolk-based stars from Dad's Army last night spoke of their delight at the special programme which will see surviving cast and crew from the timeless classic reunited.

Co-writer David Croft and Ian Lavender, who played Private Pike, said the recognition was testimony to the show's endearing quality which is now attracting a new generation of younger viewers.

Mr Croft said: “I am delighted that the BBC has chosen to do this birthday celebration. I hoped there would be some form of event after 40 years and it will help keep the show popular.

“That said, we have a new generation of devoted viewers and youngsters appear to love it. The show is repeated all the time and it is still a success.

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“I think it has remained so popular because first of all it is funny. But it is also something the whole family can watch as it is silly, nostalgic humour about a very important part of our history.”

Surviving cast will be reunited on the programme, which is expected to be shown on BBC1 in the summer, and producers are also hoping to find original writers and other key staff from the programme which aired from 1968 to 1977. It will be presented by Jonathan Ross who is said to be a massive fan.

Mr Lavender added: “I have been asked to take part in the show but I don't anything about the programme or the format yet. It is very nice that the show is being celebrated after 40 years.

“It was a family show that no one makes anymore. For some reason, this kind of show isn't perceived to sell very well despite the Dad's Army repeats still getting a higher viewing figure than most current comedy shows. I just don't understand it.”

The series was filmed in Thetford where buildings, streetscape and military training areas were a mainstay of the 78 episodes. In December, a museum in its honour was opened in the town and plans are afoot to erect a bronze statue of Captain Mainwaring.

Writing on www.dadsarmy.co.uk, a show insider promised “classic clips, interviews with the original cast, plus a few surprises”. He said: “The BBC has commissioned this hour-long special programme under the working title Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army.

“This will be an affectionate look back at 40 years since the programme started by show clips and memorable moments as well as involving some of the remaining cast and writers.”

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