Don’t panic! The new adaptation of the 1970s sitcom that stars Bill Nighy, Toby Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones might not be completely terrible
Big-screen transfers for much-loved television sitcoms tend to follow something of a hit and miss pattern: for every Inbetweeners Movie there’s a League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, and for every Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa there’s a Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie. And so it is with trepidation that we peer tentatively at the debut trailer for Dad’s Army, the second attempt to translate Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s adored 1970s show for the cinema (following the 1971 UK box office smash), in the potentially vain hope that it will enhance, rather than ruin fond memories of the original.
On the positive side, Oliver Parker’s film features a cavalcade of stellar British acting talent, including Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Michael Gambon as Private Godfrey, Tom Courtenay as Lance Corporal Jack “Don’t Panic” Jones and The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison as Private Pike. Catherine Zeta-Jones should provide plenty of glamour as visiting journalist Rose Winters, sent to report on the men of Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard platoon. On the other hand, Parker’s track record includes such desperate forays into comedy Mordor as 2007’s St Trinians and 2011’s Johnny English Reborn – and the latter’s screenwriter Hamish McColl wrote the script for the new Dad’s Army.
The film is set at the tail end of the second world war, with Mainwaring’s ageing recruits in something of a funk until they are given the chance to patrol the Dover base of the British army proper. The trailer focuses on an abortive mission to track down a missing bull, with inevitably disastrous results, and introduces Zeta-Jones as the alluring Winters. We’re told the plot will hinge on the discovery by MI5 of a radio signal transmitted from Walmington-on-Sea towards Berlin, with top brass beginning to fear that a German spy may be operating on British soil.
Filming on Dad’s Army began last October in Bridlington, east Yorkshire, and the film is due in cinemas on 5 February 2016. Will you be signing up?
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Thursday 13th August 2015 16.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010