How Suffolk ‘soldiers’ helped bring lost Dad’s Army shows back to life
PUBLISHED: 19:30 27 August 2019
Dad’s Army was a series with very strong East Anglian links – and those links have been strengthen by Gold in the remakes of the ‘lost episodes’.
The TV station has re-made three episodes of Series Two which were wiped by the BBC and have not been seen since the late 1960s - and called in Suffolk's own Khaki Devil team to give expert advice on uniforms and provide the extras in the Walmington-on-Sea platoon.
Taff Gillingham, who founded Khaki Devil and the Khaki Chums to commemorate the soldiers of the two world wars, was contacted by the makers of the show after being recommended by their costume chief.
He said: "They were looking for a military advisor to help with the uniforms and advising on what the Home Guard did. Then we were asked to train extras for the platoon - but the obvious thing was to use our team as the extras so that is what happened."
Mr Gillingham was delighted to be part of the return of the show: "Dad's Army has been part of our way of life and it was great to play a part in its return to complete these lost episodes," he said.
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He felt lucky to be able to take part because an earlier filming commitment had fallen through shortly before filming.
Location shots of the original series were filmed in the Thetford area on the Suffolk/Norfolk border - and in locations near the Suffolk and Norfolk coast.
The Khaki Devil team has been involved in a number of television, film and commercial productions - including Downton Abbey's World War One scenes and the Sainsbury's Christmas Commercial of 2014 which featured the famous trench football match of 100 years earlier.
Mr Gillingham said there were challenges in re-filming the episodes. In one Lance Corporal Jones, played by Kevin Eldon, had to say: "They don't like it up 'em, they do not like it up 'em."
When originally made, it was one of the first times what would end up as his catchphrase was used - but this time around the audience were so familiar with it that they cheered and the scene had to be filmed twice more before they became restrained enough for the programme makers.
And during the filming, the team were visited by Gordon Peters - who played the policeman when one of their episodes, "A Stripe for Frazer," was first filmed in 1968.
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