Full Cast Announced For Dad's Army Remake
Do tell them their names, Pike
Don’t panic! Don’t panic!
The full cast for Oliver Parker’s remake of the classic Jimmy Perry-David Croft sitcom, Dad’s Army, has finally been announced, and it reads like a Who’s Who-do-you-think-you-are-kidding-Mr-Hitler of British acting talent. We know that there’ll be scepticism and cynicism in some quarters about this update of a beloved institution, but here at Empire Towers, we’re genuinely enthused and excited by the prospect. And when we tell you the names of the cast involved, belying Captain Mainwaring’s famous order, hopefully you’ll share that excitement.
On board as the fastidious, uptight Captain Mainwaring, leader of the beleaguered Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, we have Toby Jones, replacing the legendary Arthur Lowe. As his right-hand man, the eternally suave Sgt. Wilson, Bill Nighy steps into John Le Mesurier’s shoes; perfect casting if ever we saw it.
Speaking of perfect casting, The Inbetweeners’ gawky Blake Harrison will take on Private Pike, the gauche newcomer created so memorably by Ian Lavender. Along with Daniel Mays, seemingly spot-on as the sleazy spiv Walker (first played by James Beck), those two represent the young blood in a cast that admirably focuses on elder statesmen.
So we also have Michael Gambon as Godfrey (played by Arnold Ridley in the original show), Bill Paterson giving it his best ‘we’re doomed! We’re doomed!’ as Private Fraser (the spelling seems to have changed for the movie version), while Tom Courtenay will be screaming ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’ as Private Jones, the role originated by the great Clive Dunn.
Bill Nighy (Wilson)
Toby Jones (Captain Mainwaring)
Tom Courtenay (Corporal Jones)
Michael Gambon (Godfrey)
Blake Harrison (Pike)
Danny Mays (Walker)
Bill Paterson (Fraser)
The cast is rounded out by the likes of Sarah Lancashire, Alison Steadman and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who will play a journalist sent to Walmington-on-Sea to interview the Home Guard as the Second World War winds down. Her arrival, which stirs the blood of the men, also coincides with news from MI5 that a spy is on the loose. Plot ahoy!
Filming will start this month entirely on location in Yorkshire. It’s going to be mighty interesting watching this one. Will the new cast bring their own tics and quirks to their roles, or will they be indebted to what’s gone before? How will a modern audience react? How will long-serving Dad’s Army fans (some of you have already been dismissing the movie on our Twitter feed) welcome the new version? And, most importantly, will it be as funny as the original?
For Empire’s part, this opens the prospect of further remakes of classic British sitcoms from the 70s and 80s. Perhaps even a shared Croft & Perry-verse, Avengers-style, could launch ‘Allo ‘Allo, It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum, and Hi-De-Hi franchises, building to one single crossover movie, The Age Of Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy.
Thoughts on this? Potential tragedy or potential triumph? Do tell.